Artist Interview: Eng Joo Heng (Singapore)

How do you think Singapore’s art scene has changed over the years?

I think that compared with ten years ago, it is undeniable that people’s understanding and acceptance of art has increased. In particular, schools pay attention to art education, and parents are willing to send their children to art schools, colleges, or universities to pursue their dreams. There are also many people collecting art. Coupled with the government, private companies, and the National Arts Council (NAC). Arts associations have sponsored and supported artists for many years to achieve today’s results. However, it seems that there is still a moment away from the appreciation and hobbies of people in Europe and the USA.

How do you decide which works will be monochrome and which will be in colour?

I didn’t deliberately separate single colours or multiple colours. Most of the work in Relief Print is monochromatic and occasionally colours are added to increase the beauty and atmosphere of the work.

Could you tell us more about how you got into the world of printmaking?

When I was pursuing art in Paris, by chance, I visited Atelier 17 and met a group of friends who made prints for various countries and its Founder Stanley William Hayter. Their new ways, printmaking techniques and works deeply attracted me to the road of printmaking.

Having practiced for decades, what keeps you excited about the medium of print?

In Paris, I just wanted to learn the Fine Arts and Atelier 17’s new printmaking technology, which I could pass on the technology to students at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) after returning home to Singapore. At that time, NAFA and art circles had only woodcuts and no other printmaking techniques. The lack of materials and printmaking machines was not suitable for the development of printmaking. Later 2002 with the establishment of the Singapore Tyler Print Institute (now STPI), I saw a little hope for printmaking. I was fortunate enough to join STPI and I still have a passion for printmaking.

Your works have been exhibited internationally and commissioned extensively. Do you have a standout project you’d like to highlight?

Yes, I’d like to highlight the project, Art in Transit, where one of my woodcut prints is displayed at Serangoon Station on the North East Line MRT in Singapore.