Neighbourhood - The Letter J Supply
"I enjoy learning from many different people, I glean very different things from different teachers. Not just in the skill but their attitude towards their craft."
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do
JL: I do calligraphy work, for customised orders and conduct workshops. I also run a studio space called A Different Clan with a partner to provide a platform for the art community to come together, and for people to explore healing through art.
How did it all begin for you and The Letter J Supply?
JL: I was a graphic designer for over 10 years. I've always liked typography and tactile techniques that can be incorporated in design. About 5 years ago, A friend gave me a set of calligraphy tools, that got me curious. But there weren't any courses then. I went to New York for a holiday and attended this calligraphy talk. I went around asking if anyone could give me any classes. I took private classes with a calligraphy teacher and after coming back to Singapore I found myself very drawn to using my hands, the computer suddenly seemed cold in comparison.
A friend found a shop space and asked me if I wanted to join. It was a tiny unit in Shaw Towers. I started with a Valentines Day event where we transformed the shop into a forest and I had a calligraphy customisation service. I didn't expect it to take off but people were really excited by the shop experience and the craft of calligraphy. That led to me start doing more calligraphy work, with both the nib and the brush.
Describe the location of your studio by the most frequented eateries around you.
JL: Many Hainanese chicken rice places (Sin Swee Kee), a french crepe restaurant (Entre Nous Creperie), old kopitiam (YY Cafe)
How has your work evolved over the last few years?
JL: Looking back at the work I did when I started, I cringe a little. Im sure 3 years from now I will look back and what I did today and cringe too. Its hard for me to determine what has changed, perhaps I've found my own formula and am refining it as I go along.
Do you ever encounter creative blocks? How do you deal with them?
JL: I like to make a visit to Straits Art, an art supply shop down the street and find new materials or tools to buy. It always helps to try a different discipline and take a break from what I'm familiar with. Talking to the shop owners there is also always refreshing, and leaves me inspired.
What do you feel is next for the local / regional creative, design and craft industry?
With the boom in the design and craft industry, I think providing business solutions for creatives will be the next wave.
People who will fill the gap between creatives and business / marketing.
Maybe artist managers.
Do you have a mentor? What should people look for in one?
JL: Not really a one specific mentor. I'm quite a generalist and I enjoy learning from many different people, I glean very different things from different teachers. Not just in the skill but their attitude towards their craft.
Tell us one unexpected thing about you
JL: I'm more impressed by someone who can do a solid Excel sheet than an artpiece.
What do 'ideas on adventures' look like? Do a quick sketch for us!
Images & Artwork Courtesy of Joanne Lim, The Letter J Supply