A Good Citizen
"I would love to see people in the creative industry take on the personal responsibility to educate the public, much like how scuba divers tend to be ambassadors of the underwater world, having seen their wonders first hand."
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do
DW: I am Dan Wong, the founder of the art collective A Good Citizen. I am a commercial illustrator by day, and a fine artist by night. My personal work revolves around the socio-political and cultural spheres of sunny Singapore. I love it when my work entertains or offends people.
How did you develop yourself into a professional artist / illustrator?
DW: I started my career in illustration at a young age, drawing phallic objects and obscene circumstances on school toilet cubicles.
Even though I was 13 years of age, I was careful to use pencil so the cleaning auntie wouldn't have too much trouble removing them. I would also draw small pictures.. rebellion must be tempered carefully with caution in heavily-institutionalised Singapore.
After working in a couple of places that honed my skills to a professional level, I challenged my ex-boss to a combat duel, which I narrowly lost. Beaten but not defeated, I left to start my own illustration business.
Describe the location of your studio by the most frequented eateries around you.
DW: What an excellent question. I frequently consume sustenance at Chinatown Food Complex, People's Park Food Centre, as well as Hong Lim Food Centre. Triangulate these coordinates and you can acquire the positional data of my office.
How has your work evolved over the last few years?
DW: I started A Good Citizen off as a fine art collective but due to the commercial work I'm doing under a company of the same name, I have less time to do the ambitious paintings that I'm very fond of. Recently I've been doing short, quick comics that are realist in nature, reflecting current events in a satirical light.
My work is also inching ever slowly to outright sedition.. but at a glacial pace. Rebellion must always be tempered with caution.
What would you like to see happen more in the creative industry?
DW: I would love for everybody--even the layperson, to be more open-minded, more tasteful, and more able to ascribe worth to creative endeavours.
I would love to see people in the creative industry take on the personal responsibility to educate the public, much like how scuba divers tend to be ambassadors of the underwater world, having seen their wonders first hand.
Tell us about one place / experience you've encountered recently that gave you goosebumps.
DW: Just yesterday I saw an old chinese man eating at the corner of People's Park food complex. He was dressed in very aged, scuffed clothes and his skin was very tanned and leathered. His eyes were rheumy and the weariness of the world was reflected in them.
He had a plain plate of rice before him; nothing else was there. He reached into his pocket and took out a packet of chili sauce, which he applied liberally to his rice before consuming it.
I experienced a complex mix of emotions, from awe to fear, and guilt to curiosity. There is much to be said about poverty in Singapore, the people that fall between the cracks, as well as the terror of creeping age and a constant siege mentality.
And yes, I did get goosebumps.
What do 'ideas on adventures' look like? Do a quick sketch for us!
Images & Artwork Courtesy of A Good Citizen