Friday, August 7, 2015

Gardens By The Bay's Merlion Redesigned: So Majestic, So Hunky! Diva Tracks Down His Concept Artist, Lynette Wu

The Jubilee Weekend is here! :D

ICYMI (Red Dot Diva says that's understandable, since there are all these #SG50 stuff happening all over town), there's something .. no, actually.... *SOMEONE* very sexy, who is eager to meet you!

With his long wind-swept mane that would make Thor Odinson jealous, eye-popping muscular abs and overall bicepstuousness, Merlion Redesigned will be standing tall and strong at a special exhibit held at Gardens by the Bay.

Merlion's hunky transformation is a far cry from his familiar, comfy Dad bod, which looks like this:

Now, this is what the reboot Merlion looks like in Gardens by the Bay's promo collaterals!

His new look has caused a flurry of swoonsome tweets on twitter, with many already calling him Bara Merlion.

Visions of him battling, or better still, "batting" it out with legendary Prince of Palembang, Sang Nila Utama. Imagine all that chemistry!

Red Dot Diva wondered if there could be a web-comic or graphic novel with reboot Merlion crossing tridents with Aquaman. And apparently, @sanzochan had the same thoughts too:

Of course, one of Red Dot Island's favourite past-time has to come into play. Give us those Merlion Redesigned merchandise. Souvenir glasses for us to quench our thirst, adult colouring books, the whole works, please!

And for the #SG50 celebrations, flirty tributes like these feel so apt:

For these waves of imagery, Red Dot Diva says folks can thank game designer Lynette Wu, for the artistic concept.

Formerly a Nanyang Polytehnic graduate of Digital Media Design, Lynette has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interactive Design and Game Development from Savannah College of Art and Design in the USA.

Curious about how Lynette came up with Merlion Designed, Red Dot Diva tracked her down for some answers.

Red Dot Diva: How did you get the gig with Gardens by the Bay?
Lynette: Gardens by the Bay found me through the Internet and was inspired by my redesigning of the Merlion. They then invited me to be part of their tribute to Singapore’s stories where 10 local folklore are brought to life through the creative use of flora display.

Red Dot Diva: What images were in the forefront of your mind, when you decided to work on this buffed-up, hunky Merlion Redesigned?
Lynette: The Merlion is an iconic national symbol of Singapore. While studying in the US, I conceptualised and created my own rendition of the Merlion, in digital sculpture. Through the Merlion masterpiece, I wanted to capture the strength of Singapore as a fast-paced and successful nation, one which has evolved from a third-world country into a first-world nation within a short period of time. I also injected the grandeur and majestic aura of Poseidon, the Greek god of the Seas, as Singapore is an island, and added a human element to the design, as its people are its greatest resources – all of which aptly reflects the upright, powerful stance of Singapore.
Red Dot Diva: Personally, I was also thinking of Namor, but nevermind ... *g*

Red Dot Diva: What are some of the interesting comments you've heard from people who have noticed your Merlion Redesigned images?
Lynette: I was working on this art piece while I was in the US. When I told people that the Merlion is Singapore’s iconic symbol, many gave me a look of disbelief. It is most satisfying when I see fellow Singaporeans appreciating my work. In some ways, working on this Merlion bonds me with Singaporeans.

Merlion Turntable by Lynette Wu from Lynette Wu on Vimeo.

Red Dot Diva: You mentioned you are highly interested in game design. Are you a gamer? What are you favourite games and why?
Lynette: I wouldn’t label myself as a gamer but I do enjoy playing video games from time to time. It has always been part of my life and is a popular activity amongst my family members. As an artist, I enjoy games with great visuals, like Bioshock Infinite and Dragon Age Inquisition to name a few. I also enjoy puzzle platformers like Portal and have recently been playing the game called Don’t Starve Together with friends.

Red Dot Diva: There have been a lot of discussion about a woman's place in the gaming industry lately (#Gamergate), with some women (like Anita Sarkeesian) receiving threats. What are your thoughts relating this? Does it make you more or less determined about working in the industry?
Lynette: Personally, I do think the testosterone-fueled game industry needs to be more accepting of female developers but this change also needs time. Many male developers I know do not quite make an issue of this. In fact, they also stand up for the female developers in the industry as many of them do not support #gamergate at all.

Red Dot Diva: What are your SG50 wishes for Singapore?
Lynette: For us to continue evolving and progressing, perhaps at an even faster pace, than we have done in the past 50 years.

So, is Merlion Redesigned as sexy as he looks in the Gardens by the Bay promo materials? Well, @judacris went to the exhibit there recently, and here's his peekture of the sea creature:

Daaayuuuummm.. *Red Dot Diva gasps* ... How low can those fish scales go?

There's one thing though, you won't be able to get too near to Mr Merlion Beefcake. Basically, one can see but cannot touch.

Need to make your own judgements about Merlion Redesigned? He can be found at the "From Tales to Legends: Discover Singapore Stories" floral show, where 10 traditional folklore are translated into creative displays consisting of over 8,000 orchid plants.

Venue: Flower Dome, Gardens by the Bay
Dates: 31 July to 13 September, 2015
Time: 9 AM to 9 PM
More info in this link here!

Someone needs to make Merlion Redesigned to *not* be just an SG50 thing.
Who says aye?


Thanks to Gardens by the Bay for commissioning a Merlion Redesigned, which have ruined many a childhood - and not in a bad way.

Thanks to Lynette Wu and NYP Comms for assisting with the interview.

Thanks to @Sanzochan, @ValiantNeki, @judacris, @tribbutribby for sharing their tweets, and many more Twitter pals who share similar sentiments as Red Dot Diva!

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