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Interview with Shi Chun
What are your plans after finishing your degree?
My plans are kind of fuzzy but generally in the direction of completing some personal projects while working on some freelance work and hunting for a job. Singapore's culture does not exactly encourage taking time off for self exploration and finding one's way in life. It is expected that one finds a job as soon as possible right after graduating so there is that constant pressure from my parents.
Bestiarum Vocabulum is such an amazingly detailed work! Can you tell us the story behind this project?
Haha thank you so much! I'll try to keep the long story as short as possible. We were given the freedom to work on "anything we wanted" for our Year 4 Final Year Project (FYP). I simply went into it not having the slightest idea what I'll end up with but thinking I really just wanted to draw creatures. I love fantastical creatures! Dragons, especially. It's probably one of the few things I've been obsessed with since I was a kid. That said, I actually doubted my own skills for most of the FYP which had caused my mentor and I much frustration. I would describe the process of the whole project something akin to fumbling in the dark damp fog, occasionally tripping over rocks, bumping into trees and sometimes I'd spot certain sources of light only to snuff them out with my own hands. After a few months, my mentor said to me, "don't think, just draw". The thing was, I was afraid of the blank canvas. I was afraid that I could not live up to my expectations all the time. After that, I tried to churn out as many creatures as I dared, although not nearly enough. Months before the graduation show, my mentor told me, I should do something big but retain all the small details as I had in my A4 and A3 drawings. I wanted to reject the idea but he was right, that'd make an awesome product out of this entire project. As cheesy as it sounds, one day as I was drafting ideas for the big piece, inspiration hit me. Up til then I had been thinking of how I'd draw one creature, but what if that one creature is made up of many. Paying homage to the dragon came naturally. Piecing all the small creatures together was really a fun, irritating and rewarding experience all at the same time. After the final draft was done, all that was left was to draw it on the large canvas. At the end I hope I've created something that'll inspire others as much as others have inspired me with their mind blowing works since I was young. I hope that was a good summary haha. I've never been that good at it in my English exam papers.