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"There's always room for peach!" - A Singaporean Illustrator's Story

As part of an exciting new journey, the Art Wonderland team welcomed one of our first creatives through our doors a few weeks ago to tell us more about what her practice is like as an illustrator and creative based in Singapore.

Above: How wonderfully coincidental that Julienne turned up in an outfit that compliments our studio mural!

Meet Julienne Tan, a local creative who specialises in soft, yet expressive portraits that often feature feminine figures in neon palettes. We spent the afternoon chatting about her favourite subject matter and distinct portraiture style, her favourite projects and her sources of inspiration!

AW: When and how did you become interested in being an illustrator?

JT: I always grew up surrounded by art, my mum always did paintings around the house. So she introduced painting to me at a very young age. I always loved creating art, it just felt very natural to keep doing art and to want to pursue it in my studies when I grew older. It was something that always clicked more with me compared to my other subjects.

Above: A collection of Julienne's old and new works that show portraits done on wooden bases.

AW: What does portraiture mean to you?

JT: To me, portraiture is a lot more than just replicating a face accurately. It has to bring out the personality of the person, if not you might as well take a photograph. With my commissioned portraits for my clients, I usually ask them to show me photos of the person in action, interacting with their favourite things. I try to include objects like pets, favourite colour or favourite food - something to give the vibe of the person.

Above: Julienne during a shoot at the Art Wonderland Studio, creating one of her unique portraits with acrylic paint on a wooden base.

AW: Where do you get your inspiration from?

JT: All these faces are inspired by my daughter. They don't look exactly like her but they are inspired by her face shape. My daughter loves neon paints too, she would go into my cupboard and look for them. She would have random neon green paint on her fingers and go around dotting them.

JT: I love doing the face of a portrait because it is like doing makeup. I think if I did not become an illustrator I would be a makeup artist because I think makeup can transform a face. I took part in the Sephora challenge because I love beauty and to me, art and makeup are the same. Makeup can make me feel powerful, it's like an armour. For my portraits, (this) painting the face is the most fun part because it is like adding makeup.

Above: Julienne working on a portrait from scratch at Art Wonderland Studio.

Above: A screenshot from Julienne's instagram profile showing a commissioned portrait on a tumbler as part of a collaboration with Sephora.