Emerging artist Sharon Yang aka PAYNK brings us into her world of illustrations and sculptures, where nothing’s ever too weird or quizzical to be considered art.
Budding artist Sharon Yang is slowly but surely climbing the echelons of Singapore’s art scene. How? Through her experimentation with different mediums and involvement in exhibitions that shake audiences out of their comfort zones.
Three episodes of the wildly popular cartoon Sailormoon was all it took to suck Sharon Yang into the world of art at the tender age of 8. “I would pause the videotape to draw the scenes that I liked. People told me I was talented at drawing, but it was really just a lot of practice,” she explains. Today, the Fine Arts and Visual Communications graduate from Nanyang Technological University illustrates just about anything, from human portraits to flora and fauna and even food cravings turned into paper equivalents. Each piece of art is dutifully pencilled, coloured with splotches of ink and presented with a distinctive quality that’s not in-your-face, but somehow stays in your subconscious memory.
And like every true artist, she even came up with her own nickname, PAYNK, a reference to her favourite colour pink. “I didn’t want to spell it the normal way because I was a typical teenager trying to be special…underwhelming, right?” She may be still finding her footing into in the vast art space, but Sharon steadfastly counts on Hieronymus Bosch, the famous Dutch painter whose work centred on intricate landscapes and macabre imagery, as a constant source of inspiration. “I flew to Amsterdam to visit his 500th-anniversary exhibition and see his tiny people and creatures up close,” she says. She also looks to her fellow creatives and the people around her to help propel her to push the envelope and make her art her own. In her personal project PAYNK the Street, she turned silhouettes of people she met into quick sketches that are incredibly life-like.
As much as illustrations occupy her time, Sharon also counts crafting as part of her skill set. “I used to make tiny sushi and animal sculptures using blu tack,” she tells us. Investing in a decent oven has helped her develop this skill, and she now finds herself making tiny charms like barnacles, sea creatures and plant-human hybrid figure using polymer clay, putting up some of these together with her illustrations at charity auctions.
Staying true to her mantra of doing something a little different each time she creates, Sharon recently dealt with the subject of fetishism in her exhibition, Fasciation: A Ruthless Fetish. A taboo topic for some, she viewed it as a point of interest instead, producing an array of sculptures and artworks that meld the human body with greenery. “I like exploring ideas that tread dangerously between being applauded and utterly deviant. My main intention is for people to be a little puzzled about what they are seeing and think about what it means to them,” she explains. “So even if they feel uncomfortable, it’s an important part of understanding themselves.”
Despite her relative inexperience in the arts scene, Sharon has seen the creative scene around her change during her time as an artist. “It’s growing steadily and more brands and companies are beginning to see how art can speak to people,” she says. “This is encouraging and really helps artists develop and make a name for themselves.” It’s early days for this budding talent, and while she’s still exploring sculptural techniques, you may very well see her venturing into porcelain and glassware in the near future. “I’d like to try my hand at anything that needs a kiln or some massive equipment,” she tells us. Keep an eye out for Sharon Yang aka PAYNK, and when you do, remember that you read about her here first.