Creative Minds: Lyyeow

Head on to her instagram here @ lyyeow, and you will be mesmerized by the rays of blue at one glance as you scroll down her feed of drawings. When Ly approached us to craft her wedding cake, we were both excited and nervous. She sent us a few of her artwork as reference, and we were immediately sold. We were not sure how is her cake going to turn out to be, but for sure we know, we will be embarking in the land of seas to discover the endless possibilities with her & her then-fiance (now hubby). We arranged a meet up to talk about their ideas and to find out more about their likes & journey as a couple. Nothing too detailed that we went into. As we were chatting, our eyes were captivated by the murals drawn by Ly at @merelyicecream! Merely Ice Cream is run by her husband. A simple ice cream store filled with flavours and character. Our conversation later revolved around our own journey as business people and creatives. We understood. The feelings were unspoken but understood.

We do what matters because that is what matters to us, not others.

So today we are over the mountains to have Ly to join us for a short blog interview. Be inspired. 

Drawing keeps me breathing. By day, I teach art to children and recently set up my home studio Lyttle Space for young ones from 4-12 years old. I hope to help nurture Art as a language of expression and imagination in young ones. Commercially, I’ve done illustrations and murals for Airbnb, Starbucks, Botanic Gardens and more. By night, I am immersed into painting the sea, layers of blue hues always feed my soul with much peace and joy.

Hello, I am Ly Yeow. I would like to be remembered as the sea painter.

1.  It has almost been a month & a half since your wedding day! Could you share with us your thought process & experiences when planning your wedding cake?

I have been a fan of Cupplets for a long time, always admiring their cakes posted in the virtual world and waiting for an occasion to have one crafted for myself. It’s a real joy to see the style of their cakes evolving, reflects upon their spirit as experimental and adventurous bakers. The painterly cakes and sculptural sugar pieces are my favourite. I took inspirations from some of their photos and also communicated with Samantha and Ernest on my love for Blue. When we met up, I was glad to learn how they work - each cake is always different. There are striking similarities in the way Cupplets approaches their cakes and how I make art. Both of us go with the flow and when given full creative freedom, make the best works. I left it in their good hands and only saw the cake design on my wedding day. It was magical! .All our guests marveled at the sight of the cake and were even more impressed when they tasted it. My husband and I were really touched to see ourselves painted on the macaroons, in my drawing style. It was a moment to remember.

2. I realize that there is a lot of blue and sea elements appearing in your recent artwork. Could you share with us your interpretation of your current colour palette. (whether it has any relation to how you view YOUR world to be, etc).
My recent artworks are from a series called “我想你的100個海邊“, are imaginary seascapes inspired by a trip to Lanyu back in April 2016. I have been working on this personal project for 18 months and is almost reaching my 100th piece. During that trip, I felt most connected with mother nature in ways I never felt. Discovering the culture of the indigenous people of Lanyu (Dawu Tribe) showed me an alternative lifestyle so pure and simple. Traditionally, men fish and women tend to the taro field. They only take enough and never too much. Between continents and seas, I am no longer at Lanyu but my heart remains. On days when I don’t have it all together, I seek refuge in my paintbrush and paper. Hues of blues bring me back to a safe place where it is enough.

3.  What made you decide to dive into Art as a full-time career?

I wouldn’t consider Art as my career, though everything I do relates to it. I see Art as my voice and my works are often reflections of inner thoughts and feelings. My foray into drawing began with an unsettling urge to confess to a boy who loved cats. For 2 years I drew every day which led to my first exhibition “Catboy.” Putting my works out on Instagram also allowed more people to see my art and opened doors to commissioned works. Teaching art to little kids is most meaningful as I nurture and encourage them to express. I started Lyttle Space, a home-based art studio teaching small groups and hope to inspire. As more children grow to express themselves through art making, more parents will learn to recognize their voices. For the first time, it feels like I am working on a career with a focused goal and worthwhile purpose, hopefully with a lasting impact too.

4.  What was one of your greatest moments?
I have been very blessed to receive many exciting projects - from illustrating for Airbnb to painting a mural for Botanic Gardens, getting featured in Frankie’s Spaces and The Straits Times. I watched my mum scuffled to buy the papers then cut that article out and read with so much pride. I held my first exhibition 3 years ago and had my second exhibition earlier this year, it was heartwarming to see old and new faces who showed up to support. These are big moments I’ve never dreamt of.

At the same time, my greatest moments lies in the little things. I find it hard to adopt a different lifestyle here in Singapore, a consumerism based culture where most people are in rat races. The pursuit of money and power is overwhelming. During my trip to Lanyu, I was introduced to an alternative lifestyle where money becomes secondary, living comes first. Since then my mindset shifted and need even fewer material comforts to have a good life. Drawing becomes the core to keep myself grounded and fulfilled within, it’s very precious to me.
5. Art is an escapade from reality. Do you agree? How has society of today mould or change your perspective about life.
Art is an in between - it brings us forward as we imagine, brings us back into memories, yet every second of drawing brings me to a happier place and I am present. In an Asian society I think it is still very common for people to take the conventional route - work, marry, raise a family. It’s rare to have in depth conversations on the things we love, the choices we are willing to suffer for, the passions we work on, the dreams we chase. Perhaps I am still a daydreamer not fully embracing adulthood,  but I am taking responsibility for my own life making my own choices. While most of my friends are starting a family, my plans for the next 5 years is about self growth, hoping to save enough and go back to school, keep drawing and continue to live a simple life.

6. Could you share with us one of your toughest struggle as an artist?
The first two years were financially difficult, I was scraping by earning less than $600 a month working as an assistant art teacher in a small studio. It got to a point where I had zero dollars in my bank account. I took on mural jobs, spent 15 hours painting under the hot sun on a skating ramp, one mural got washed off by the rain before it could dry, many pieces were done in construction conditions with no ventilation. Now looking back, they were great learning experiences that challenged and pushed me to my limits.

The struggle I have now is with myself - To be confident and not seek for external validations, to be vulnerable and continue showing my works, to overcome self doubts and keep making art. These are constant battles everyday and I am learning to enjoy the process and just keep drawing.

7.       Complete the sentence.
Art has helped me be whole.

"Stay wild at heart." 

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