Two years ago, Goliath fought David. But unlike the biblical happy ending, Goliath won and David had to take down their showcase from the walls of Gallery & Co. Despite the setback, the family art collective – holycrap.sg – continues making art.

Comprising mother Claire, the children Renn and Aira, and father Pann (hence the moniker ‘crap’), the six-year-old art collective will be presenting at the fourth edition of the Singapore Art Book Fair from 28 to 30 April. We chat with Claire about the journey of the award-winning holycrap.sg, her thoughts on the Singapore art scene and whether the foursome will ever disband once the children become grumpy teenagers.

(Clockwise from top left) Claire; Pann; Renn; Aira

Actually, how did you and Pann meet?

Almost as straightforward and ‘boring’ as it can get. Pann (co-founder and creative director of Kinetic Singapore) and I met on the first day of school as classmates at Temasek Poly pursuing Visual Communications in 1996. After all introductions and pleasantries were done, we simply got along easily and just clicked.

Describe your parenting styles.

From the beginning, Pann and I have always been very much in sync on most matters and especially more so with regards to how we would want to raise our children. Whether it is showering them with unconditional love or disciplining them in times of trouble, the most vital aspect for me would be for the two of us to always be on the same page.

Renn and Aira must never feel that one parent loves them more than the other and similarly they must never have the impression that one parent will always ‘play nice’ and the other is the ‘law-enforcer’. Pann and myself discipline and love them in unison. There is no room for favouritism in our house.

Who are everyone’s artistic or creative influences?

Our home has always been filled with everything we love ranging from music, movies, furniture, art to magazines and books on all things creative. So from young we have always exposed Renn and Aira to all these and have encouraged them to express themselves through what they enjoy as well. 

In this manner, all of us are constantly inspired and ‘influenced’ by numerous musicians, film directors, designers and artists and even chefs.

It’s been six years since holycrap.sg started. How have you seen your children, yourself and your family changed?

Change is not a word we would use but for sure as with all families, we have grown together and have fed off each other’s love, drive and creativity. With design and creativity being such a big part of Pann’s life and mine, it is only natural that we would raise the kids in this exact environment.

We are the same people but of course we have committed ourselves even further with Holycrap; to create together, to enjoy activities together, to argue and disagree with one another and to learn and respect each other. And this I know now will never change, with or without Holycrap.

Have there been major creative differences between the different members of the family?

Of course there are creative differences for the whole family but we would not say they are ‘major’ nor severe. It has always been more about going through different learning curves for all four of us. Especially when each of us might have a preferred style, idea or concept. We would then learn to discuss the issues we are facing, to decide together the ‘better’ route to take. Both kids also learn how to handle rejection or constructive criticisms from Pann and myself.

More importantly, we as parents also get to learn from Renn and Aira, when they give us suggestions we would never have thought of before or even when they do not like the ideas we come up with. I think that is the best part of facing all these differences; learning from one another.

Will there ever be a time when the kids will get too old for holycrap.sg and it dies a natural death?

I believe that day will definitely happen and we have actually spoken to Renn and Aira about this a while back. Especially for Renn who is now entering another stage of his life whereby he will be and should be, spending more time with his friends. On top of that, school commitments have started to take up even more of his time.

While we are a little nervous, we are also quite intrigued about this shift because we can continue to document this change in our lives through our Rubbish Famzine. We want to gracefully embrace the inevitable and not pretend it doesn’t exist. When the time does come for the kids to continue another phase of their lives, Pann and I can still continue with Rubbish and perhaps we can possibly see Renn and Aira as contributors to the zine instead.

What are your thoughts on the art and culture landscape in Singapore and how it has changed from 2011 until now?

There’s been a huge change in the creative landscape in Singapore because we have been experiencing a very positive surge of support from fellow Singaporeans. When there’s more appreciation it encourages even more Singaporean makers to create newer ‘projects’. As a result it creates this constant momentum and that makes the local creative scene even more vibrant and dynamic. These are exciting times and I don’t think it will stop ever.

What can we expect from you guys at the Singapore Art Book Fair 2017? 

We are thrilled and honored to be participants at this year’s Singapore Art Book Fair and of course we are very excited to launch Rubbish Famzine No.6 titled An Emojious Odyssey Of The Gluttonous (above). This zine is like an archive of sorts detailing our food journey and misadventures over the last eight years in and around Singapore.

We are also currently working on a set of illustrations and we are still looking into having another art exhibition for Renn and Aira possibly towards the end of 2017.And for sure, once the Art Book Fair is over, we will soon embark on conceptualising for issue No.7 and that will keep us busy for the rest of this year.

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