Michelle Maxine Illustrator contramemory FUSSY Singapore 2


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We literally had goosebumps when we first saw Michelle’s illustrations. In a way that it resonated with us and it was definitely FUSSY’s aesthetic. The amount of effort and detailing that goes behind the bigger pieces, could really be framed up and looked at all day, considering there were many elements involved. It’s no wonder she has already had her own solo exhibition back in 2014. We’ve obviously been living under a rock not knowing all these creative people ever since we started, but we’re getting there. Read on as we spoke to Michelle more about her journey.

  • Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do currently?

    Michelle (M): I’m currently teaching art and working as a freelance illustrator and artist. I’m taking 2017 as a gap year to figure out what I want to do next, as well as to finally pursue more creative projects that I’ve had up my sleeve for a long time.

  • You seem to have found your identity in your illustrations. Is there a story to it?
  • M: My works have seen a progression, and studying at Glasgow School of Art especially saw that change. During my amateur days of illustration, although I was more consistent in churning out works, I was mostly doodling. I was taking an understanding to my style during that period, which was and is still predominantly line work and dot work in black ink. The time I ventured into brief-related and self-led projects allowed me to explore several themes of interest such as memory, loss and dreams. While increasingly finding ways to better and expand my techniques and mediums, I was able to further discover my curiosity of the relevant themes, which I am still working on. I brainstorm a lot for my projects which come from personal reflection, so aspects of my life make up the story in my works and often as a subtle influence.

  • Any tips on how other illustrators can find their own identity?
  • M: Document anything that inspires, note down any random creative thought. i have so much lingering material that I forget about after a while but give me so much inspiration a year later. Constant practice – the doodles, exploration, brainstorming and experimenting shape a lot of one’s identity. Never undermine developmental works as well.

  • Tell us about “Chaos in Camou”.
  • M: Chaos in Camou took about 6 months to complete and each piece was created consecutively. I did not approach these illustrations with a focus; instead, the idea was developed alongside the production, allowing a constant change in my thought process as I added details. It was an extremely transfixing process with elements such as details of insects, botany, microscopic-influenced visuals, and a myriad of faces and forms, all formed in the blur of chaotic and camouflaging disposition. I was mainly inspired by the complexity of the human mind and trying to represent that intangibility visually, which led to the imagery of chaos and camouflage.
  • It was also your solo exhibition. Tell us about that experience?

    M: It was pretty crazy, I was probably a tad too ambitious with my details and on top of that I was handling a full time job, but nonetheless exciting. They were the biggest illustrations I’d created, and I was handling framing and large scale printing for the first time. There were lots of learning points for me from those experiences such as time management and creative development.

“Intricate, explorative and lately, documentative.”Define your style in 3 words.
  • Tell us about wyd:syd – Yesterlove?
  • M: In the words of the lyricist from wyd:syd himself, Yesterlove is a song about the “innocence of love during JC (Junior College) period”. I implemented marbling with playful pastel colors for that sense of adventure through the unpredictable swirls, and a drawing of the back of a young girl to portray a pubescent figure, relatable to innocence.

  • We really like these. Were these just random doodles?
  • M: These drawings were part of contramemory, an autobiographical cum experimental project about amnesia. They belong to a fragment of my memory where I talk about past tutors I had, and the different experiences I had with them, with their illustrated characteristics taking form of the personalities I remember of them.

  • Your takeaway message for readers?
  • M: Be humble and honest.
Read on for more about Michelle!

Michelle Maxine

23 | Aries

Ideal Career // A full-time artist and illustrator.

Creative Approach // To always be curious and conscious.

Fact // According to Briggs Myers Type Indicator I am an extrovert, but I feel very much like the opposite.

Message // I enjoy cryptic works.

FUSSY // Originality. People often misuse the word ‘inspiration’.



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