Sunday, August 25, 2013

STGCC 2013: (Regretfully) Introducing Local Illustrator Jerry Teo

Jerry's self-portrait
With STGCC happening just next weekend, I carry the burden of having to introduce a local artist whom I got to know many years back.

He is Jerry Teo, a Technical/ Military illustrator providing illustration services for companies and organizations that require infographics or artwork for their products, services or training purposes. Jerry is also a part-time workshop instructor with LaSalle SIA College of the Arts. He has been working in that capacity for the last 4 years and counting.

At STGCC, Jerry will be showcasing something new that he started working on not too long ago. I've always regretted being impressed by Jerry's artwork and this latest project of his, has made me regret it even more.

Here is a Q&A with Jerry, who probably also regrets answering our nosy questions:

Red Dot Dude: You have recently started a small project called "Rex Regrets". How did you come up with the idea?
Jerry: One morning, I woke up after 11am as usual.  A friend, either Benjamin Chee or Alfonsus Wong (both good young artists in their own right), sent me the live Ustream of Yuusuke Murata's work desk.  Murata worked on titles like "Eyeshield 21" and more recently "Onepunch Man".  The stream showed panels he did for "Onepunch Man" and I was inspired to try out his inking techniques. The first thing that came to my mind was a T-Rex attempting to rock climb on a wall.  That afternoon alone, I created the first four "Rex Regrets", chuckling to myself as I went along.

Red Dot Dude: Who are your favorite artists and how did they influence your work? 
Jerry: There are so many of them. Directly influencing Rex I guess would be Yuusuke Murata, as I have mentioned, and several other Manga artists like Takehiko Inoue.  I do a lot of ink work and Egon Schiele is one of the guys I keep going back for inspiration.  There are others whose works are, to me, timeless -  Rockwell, Gurney,  Frazetta, Hildebrandt.  I'm also a big fan of technical illustrators since that's my major when I did my degree.  So, tech illustrators like Kevin Hulsey, historical/academic illustrators like Angus McBride all play a part in shaping my style. 

Red Dot Dude: What are your dream projects?
Jerry: I have been lucky to have gone through several in my lifetime. My main line of work however is as a Technical/Military illustrator, so I've been engaged in several projects that allowed me to draw and paint what I've always loved doing.  I like to think on smaller scale these days, so small projects that allow me to learn new things and exercise my creativity suits me best.  Doesn't hurt that some of these clients are very good with money and very respectful towards artists.

Rex is also a dream project because I get to have fun and I am making others laugh.  Hopefully along with that fans will chip in a few dollars here and there to keep me generating more laughs.  If I can't pay my bills, I can't draw Rex, you can't get laughs....and then, everyone will be sad!

Red Dot Dude: In your opinion, is it especially tough for an artist to make it work in a viable way Singapore? If no, why not?
Jerry: I don't think its easy (or easier) anywhere in the world.  There will always be difficult, cheapskate clients and respectful, understanding clients. It is up to the artists to be smart about the jobs they get themselves involved with. 

For original intellectual property, it may be tougher here because Singaporeans tend to be more critical of our own, but I think that's not necessarily a bad thing.  Being able to deal with criticism is a way of life in the art community.  Haters gonna hate, but that's how it always goes.  On the other hand I also think focusing on the home market is not the only answer to success.  The global market is out there and the internet and social media are making it less difficult to find opportunities. I would think the real difficulty is marketing your ideas and work outside of Singapore.  But even that can be overcome because we are an increasingly well-connected city state.  It probably isn't a bad idea to set up a base here (despite it being expensive).  Just as long as you recognize you may not going to be driving Ferrarris or living in 3-storey houses for a while.... or if ever.

Red Dot Dude: If you were Rex with so many regrets, how would you keep yourself motivated?
Jerry: If you don't try you can't win!  I guess that's how Rex keeps himself motivated.  He is not very different for us.  I honestly believe that we don't know what we're doing and everyone is just out there trying out different things till they hit paydirt.  Maybe one day Rex will win!  But the important thing is to keep trying, even if you have obvious physical disadvantages like Rex.

And ....ohhh...  Oh WOE is to us!

Jerry will be a guest at Morning Rain Studio (hosted by his friend Ray Toh), displaying his works at booth C45! Very ruefully, there will also be "Rex Regrets" postcards available. You will feel bad if you don't get some!


Written by Red Dot Dude aka Andre Chee.

Edited by: Red Dot Diva


Find out more about "Rex Regrets" here. But don't blame us if you start regretting doing so!


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