Featuring Jeanette Yap
JEANETTE YAP REMEMBERS the time she held the pencil like it was the most magical wand she ever knew. As a child, she’d often toy with paper and pencil, all the while stretching her imagination to its limits. She had a colourful mid and spent most of her childhood conjuring up novel games to play with her younger brother. Yet, due to some circumstances, she was unable to pursue her area of interest in school until much later on. Now a student of Art, Design and Media in Nanyang Technological University, Jeanette says that she enjoys everything that she does in school and is constantly inspired by her teachers and peers.
“What I’ve consolidated is usually quite relevant to other people”
The Visual Communication major gets extremely animated when I ask her to relate one of her stories to me. With a broad smile on her face, she shares with me a story that is filled with child-like innocence and yet brimming with meaning. Jeanette is a keen observer of the world around her. She stores fragments of her daily life and extracts them once again when she decides to start working on a new piece of illustration. Although most of her illustrations are products of her personal thoughts and feelings, she often finds that what she’s feeling might hit a raw nerve in others as well.
Jeanette’s art is simple, yet endearing and full of positive energy. Most of her illustrations are filled with bright, pastel colours that bring cheer to onlookers. She shared that she would like to amplify the heartwarming aspects of life through her art, so that more people out there will feel happy and comforted.
"I try not to draw sad stuff. There are enough sad things in the world already. I don’t want to add on to that."
"I cannot force people to see it (the better things in life) for themselves. But maybe I can see it, translate it and show it to them"
He has those one-liners that hit you. People might think that his books are for little children, but no, they're not.
Jeanette is a huge fan of Jimmy Liao, a well-known writer-illustrator who has a way with spinning simple yet hard-hitting tales. She admits that he has been a major influence to her works. Jeanette recounts the times she spent in the library devouring a whole collection of Liao’s books.
She also admires animator Hayao Miyazaki and movie director Wong Kar Wai, for their precise and meticulous planning. She Hayao Miyazaki’s animated films, when paused at any point, gives a beautiful still picture. Wong Kar Wai’s films are equally competent with his frames.
“Everything is in place. Composition, colours…”
This illustration is one that Jeanette feels strongly for. Her bubbly demeanour fades slightly as we begin talking about this piece. She feels that many would be able to connect with this piece. With a single colour used in this piece, it conveys a strong sense of silence and a tinge of melancholy. Heartbreaking yet beautiful.
"I feel a lot about this. I think a lot of people can resonate with this. Because people always shut down. In the city, we tend to shut down all the nicer things and just focus on our own thoughts."
With a sheepish smile, Jeanette tells me her dream to
“Change as many lives for the better as possible. Through my artwork or whatever I have to offer.”
She feels that many people forget about their dreams or give up on them halfway, and finds solace in the fact that she still has a firm hold on her dreams. Jeanette proclaims with a newfound burst of energy,
“There’s too much good stuff around me that I cannot ignore it. I should show it to other people, I should share it. Don’t you think so?”
"If I can see it, and I can make you see it, then we can both see it together."
If anything, Jeanette is one passionate artist. Early this year while working on her submissions for school, she reached a point where she wanted to sustain herself with just her art and nothing else. Even when her body finally raised the white flag, she felt that sleep was an unwanted obligation.
“I just wonder why am I human, why can’t I just go on forever,”
The need to reach completion was the key drive that motivated her to go on for hours at length.
Teachers play a large role in Jeanette’s life and are the reason why she wants to be a teacher in future A handful of teachers have managed to not only cemented her love for art but framed her outlook to life as well. Although creating works of art on her own is enjoyable, Jeanette is searching for a bigger purpose in life; one that allows her to create happiness and share it with others. She thinks that teaching is the answer.
“I want to teach all the kids, regardless of their backgrounds, their families”
“Maybe I’ll be a mathematician someday. Hard to say…" She muses at the unpredictability of life. “No, I’m just kidding.”