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Hemsley's newest high-end bathroom fittings collection “Endless Possibilities” features six designer bathroom settings, one of which was specially designed by Yeo Shih Yun, local artist and Director of INSTINC, an independent artist-run space. Inspired by serenity and nature, Yeo's design consisted of rustic wood panels and minimalistic lines. We sit down with Yeo in the cosy gallery and studio of INSTINC as she tells us more about her collaboration with Hemsley and life as an artist here in Singapore.
Could you share with us a little about the bathroom that you designed for Hemsley's “Endless Possibilities”?
Yeo: My bathroom design is very down-to-earth and very usable. I wanted to keep it simple because I feel that the Hemsley products I used were already like pieces of artwork. I did not want the products to be distracted with a lot of other things and I wanted to let the products shine and speak for themselves.
What is the inspiration behind the design?
Yeo: My bathroom design is a lot about the raw look and textures. I wanted something very natural and back to basics, which is why I decided to use real wood panels instead of fake laminates behind the sink. Using real wood also means that each panel is different and unique.
You're the Director of INSTINC. Could you tell us a little bit more about that? How different is it from other galleries?
Yeo: When I started the space in 2004, this was an exhibition space as well as a studio for myself. But since 2009, I've started an international artists residency program. I host international artists for an extended period of time, allowing them to be immersed in the culture and be inspired by the space to create their art. At the end of their residency program, I will organise an exhibition for them in this space.
The works displayed here could be series that have already been completed or work-in-progress and ideas. This makes the space vastly different from other commercial galleries because it is very experimental and casual here.
How challenging is it being an artist in Singapore? How do you think the art scene here in Singapore is progressing to become?
Yeo: It is never easy if you want to be the best in any profession. All that we can do is to keep trying.
I feel that the art scene here in Singapore is definitely moving somewhere. The government is building many new spaces, like the Goodman Arts Centre (GAC) and the opening of Aliwal Street. These things were never here a few years ago, when there was only Telok Kurau studio.
What advice can you give to budding artists or artists who are afraid to showcase their works out there?
Yeo: If you are a young artist, do not be afraid to show you works. I think you should go out, meet other artists and share. Art is about sharing and learning from each other, both locally as well as overseas.
What do you think are three qualities that make a successful artist?
Yeo: Passion, focus and motivation.