Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Art for me

Although I didn't manage to pursue my art interest in Junior College, I decided to continue taking night classes during my National Service.

I decided on Visual Communications at NAFA. One of the most memorable lessons was in fact not on visual communications, but on fine arts. (Don't ask me why a Visual Communication course has a lesson on fine arts!)

The teacher from China, imparted his principle of "drawing from the heart". This led me in the latter years to develop my own style and drawing that base on my own personal thinkings.

Here's a sample of my drawing, inspired after reading about Picasso and cubism:

Magic is definitely a form of performing art. Every magician should have his own individual style and that style should come from the heart. I feel that magic has a means to an end.

I think I am very lucky to be given the right philosophy and thinking in the early years of life which probably shape my philosophies on performing as well.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Art for your Kids II

I remembered taking art lessons when I was a kid. I remember this art teacher's way of conducting her lesson: She will ask us to copy her drawing from the whiteboard wholesale, right down to the way she drew her people; with large noses.

It was when I was in Junior College, my entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and I decided to teach kids how to draw. I was thinking I could probably draw better than that teacher since I got an A in my GCE 'O' levels for my art. I remember occasions that my classmate in secondary school would "copy" my artwork sometimes! In fact, I contemplated studying art in Junior College but was discouraged as I was in a triple science combination.

Wanting to be independent from my parents, (i.e. stop taking my pocket money), I asked my father if I can run my own art lessons at his RC. He agreed! So I designed a poster, photocopied and up in went around the neighbourhood. I had some (not many) kids for a start.

It was a creative outlet for me, thinking of different pictures to teach the kids to draw (or copy) every week. I remember teaching them how to make this fireworks picture by scraping of black parts of their crayons.

Now at Mr Bottle's Kids Party, we also run art and craft workshops. It's like full circle to my "art career"!

Do catch our staff at different OCBC branches teaching kids how to draw!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Art for your Kids

Another passion of mine is art!

I would draw my own comics series, like Tin Tin. It's a pity I throw quite a bit away during spring cleaning some years ago. Here's what left:

I also love drawing the latest cartoon series on TV like ghostbusters and ninja turtle!
(My very own "How to Draw Cartoon" book)

Here are activities you can do with your kids:
  • Give them a blank book or my Nothing Book, tell a story and ask them to draw it. You will be surprised how different the perspective of your kid can be from adults!
  • Give them a blank book or my Nothing Book, give them some ideas to kick start their own storybook or comic.
  • Draw some shapes and ask them to imagine and expand their own drawing from there.
Hope you enjoy them!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Toys for your kids

My childhood is not just about magic. I am just like any other kid in my days. I love toys. In fact, I still do. Once in a while, I love to attend the big toy fairs in Hong Kong to see the latest toys available in the international market. (A lot of toys don't get their appearance here because of Singapore's small market!)

The toys nowadays are so creative! One of the most fun shops that I love to go to is the one at Science Centre. It stocks a lot of toys that can't be found in departmental stores. I recently met up with the bosses of 75 Volts, which distributes a lot of the toys at Science Centre shop. Great creative stuff!

Recently, I saw some toys in the market, which have been magic items for years already! It just takes some innovative guy to re-package and make it kid friendly for the mass market!

In my days, the one of the most incredible toys I remember was a Mask toy that will break off by itself. (By some remote or infra-red, probably.)

When I was a child, my favourite was this Lego set that my aunt from Canada bought for me. It was this huge set of Lego that was so cool.

When Mask came out with its cool machines, and I couldn't persuade my parents to buy me that, I made a copy using my Lego set. I remembered making lots of different things using Lego like a space station, with a lift in it. I still have the lego set; waiting for my kid to grow up before I hand it down.

When I read about PCF signing a deal with Lego to use Lego as a teaching tool, I thought this is exciting! In fact, I think the rest of the kindergartens should follow suit!

I am not saying other toys are not good! I think when you select a toy, choose one that gives them a lot of space for imagination and creativity. I think it will Lego is my top choice.

Can't wait for the nearby Legoland to be opened.

Friday, November 4, 2011

My First Magic 7: My first REAL magic show?

Although during my childhood, I had never been to a birthday party which had a magician, I never was deprived of watching magic shows.

My father was a very very very (did I say very?) active volunteer in his grassroot neighbourhood, involving himself in the Resident's Committee (RC), Community Centre, Civil Defence, Town Council... you name it, he is (still is) probably some part of it.

As a kid, my parents would bring me along to the events he was involved in. I was very lucky to have seen all kinds of magic shows.

One of them, that I remembered, was a magician from China. He was charging real cheap so RCs were booking him... a lot. He linked rings, he made egg appear, without much presentation.(Given that he don't speak English.) I thought, I could do that...

In fact, I thought I could do what most of the magicians are doing since I could guess the secret behind them. I just need their props and practice right? I was wrong!

Some years later (around 16-17 years old probably), I was given a chance to perform at my father's RC. (for free I think) I put together a few magic tricks that I just learnt and tried to perform them that evening. What a failure it was.

The selection was definitely wrong. It was a very forgettable show. (In fact, I forgot mostly what I did.) I think nobody understood what I was doing. I wondered even if people could see what I was doing! (One of the magic was done on a table.)

It was then I realised that there are some things much more than the secrets. I was on a long journey to learn what really magic is....