Featuring Izzy Tan
AT 21 YEARS OLD, the visual communications graduate from Singapore Polytechnic is currently doing freelance assignments and has produced works for NOISE Singapore, Catalog Magazine and the Ministry of National Development. Still considerably raw in the field, Izzy is always looking for avenues to polish his skills. In his opinion, being in the industry presents a lot of opportunities for self-discovery.
As a graphic designer, Izzy believes that all works of art should be done with a purpose. There should be a suitable context for the work to be presented; a message that will reach an audience.
“Art for art’s sake is pointless.”
He goes on to stress on the value of enjoying what you do and not treat it simply as a means to an end. “You can see people working and earning a lot of money but they hate their job, I don't think they’re doing it right. If you only think about the money [when you do art] I think you’re better off doing something else.”
A good balance of an artist’s mind coupled with a business perspective, in his opinion, is the secret to success. Too much of either is detrimental.
Izzy likes to keep his work pure and fun. To him, the construction process of every creative endeavour is the crux. Though he admits that there are times when he feels frustrated in the midst of things, he takes it as something to be embraced.
“In the process it’s not always about being happy, you’ll get some frustration and then you learn something new.” As for the end product, Izzy takes it as a bonus when his works are understood or appreciated by others.
As we continue to the topic of inspiration, Izzy is visibly animated about the people who have shaped the way he thinks and works. They include Haruki Murakami, Charles Bukowski, Yoshitomo Nara, Stefan Saigmeister and Bob Dylan.
“People like them inspire me not completely because of their works but because of the way they live their lives and also their spirit in general.”
He admires the way these famous names have carved out a piece of their own despite having lived through tough circumstances. “I think maybe when you’re in a privileged position, you wouldn’t be putting out works that are as strong as what they are putting out and have put out.”
He later adds with good humour, “I try to be as mysterious as Bob Dylan”.
The loyal Murakami fan (who has conquered the entire Murakami collection) feels that there is much to be learnt from the Japanese. “I really admire the Japanese for their work ethic, their sense of aesthetics, how they take in from other countries like America and Europe, and make it their own.“
In the same way, his tries to present his work as a composition of different elements from varying timezones. He emphasizes on the need to be open-minded and current, and to avoid repetition. “I think I try not to get stale, I try to move on with the times.”
“Everyone wants to go somewhere else. We should always be in a state of constant departure. Cause once you are comfortable, the work that you put out will start to become more boring.”
Izzy seeks to stretch himself by escaping from his comfort zone. To him, the absence of obstacles is perturbing because it signals the start of stagnation. Only by being in constant motion and confronting unfamiliarity can he truly further his art.
“A lot of people want to go to London to study, or New York to do art, or Japan. But I think I want to go to all these places and more.”
When quizzed if he had a dream or goal in life, Izzy replies candidly, “I don’t have one.” He continues, however, with a sound piece of advice.
“I just want to do good work. I don't think I will ever think that I'm good. I don’t think there is an endpoint. Maybe even until I die I will still think that my work can be better. I think that’s what most artists feel. That’s why they constantly push themselves.”