Love & Valor, the latest catmasutra painting, is a little parody on the luxury brand that people seem to aspire to. HAHA It came as a surprise for me when several friends mentioned that they would rather own a LV bag than travel! You will always have the LV bag whereas once your vacation is over, it's over! And I said, what about memories?!! When you think back, you will not remember the money spent, but you will always treasure the memories and the experience of going to a new place. I guess, they will always have their LV bags. Well, no chance of them buying this painting;)!
Love is - for the things that drives you. Valor is - for the courage to take on your dreams and make them real. I'm not talking about luxury brands here (although the aim of good brands is to layer real-life aspirations on their products and hence the deception- remember the devil wears Prada!). I'm talking about owning and taking a catmasutra painting home wahahahaha kidding! I'm talking about finding that spark inside that really drives you, and then actualizing that spark come what may. Yep, it's more easily said than done.
Catmasutra didn't make it for the second day of the Arts Fair. The weather was bad, and it wasn't really the place to showcase original art work. Also, I suspect the appreciation of art in Singapore, in general, is nowhere at the street level. There is a lack of buzz, excitement about art. It's more like a fair for T-shirts, beads, hand-made crafts, etc; it's more like street shopping! Singapore has, at one time or another, aimed to be a hub for all things, but the most challenging one, I supposed is to brand itself as an arts hub. It is not.
Even without the Esplanade, or the Singapore Biennale; or if the same amount of money or just plain old belief is invested in Singaporean artists themselves by the powers that be, we would be an arts hub. The belief today, as it was before, is that you have to go abroad to make it as an artist. Once you've succeeded overseas, you can then come home and thrive as an artist. We tend to celebrate the local foreign artist first, without accepting the likelihood that these people left our shores because Singapore limits their potential in the first place. Until the time when we really understand the intrinsic value of art, feel it in our bones, and feel the need to be touched by it; until the time when creativity and freedom of expression can co-exist and not deemed as antagonistic to "peace and harmony", then there will be a buzz. Art in its most basic form, pushes boundaries, makes us see things in a different light, creates a little chaos so that we can re-order our mindscape and grow. These things rank low in the Singaporean mentality.
That has always been the Singapore way - prescribe creativity rather than nurturing it. Maybe it is something beyond us because the bureaucratic structure can only support people who are practical, hard-coded with productivity, efficiency and profit ethics. To a degree, even artists struggle to believe in themselves, having to find courage just to practice art full-time. We are practical people and we become more practical when we have families and a mortgage to pay. Sometimes our passion wins out, taking over, swinging a gut-reaction, we throw caution to the wind, and we do it full-time; and then it takes a toll, we do it part-time, or else we moonlight! Haha Bottom line - it is hard to live not doing what you love when you have tasted it. Most artists are born with this hunger, and it is something that we have to struggle with...