Featuring Tell Your Children Studios
TELL YOUR CHILDREN Studios is a fast-growing local graphic arts collective that seeks to provide platforms for aspiring artists to share ideas, collaborate on corporate or personal projects, and motivate each other to achieve greater creative heights. Deon Phua (popularly known by his online profile “Deonasaurus”), shares his motivation and reasons in starting TYC Studios with 3 other founding fathers and mother.
Why the moniker ‘Tell Your Children’? Deon recalls the moment he saw the words flash across the screen in ‘Reefer Madness’ (a 1930’s ‘Murican anti-pot propaganda film). Much like Shepard Fairey and his work with OBEY, Deon realised he had just stumbled across a name that would incite a reaction from people hearing about it for the very first time.
Ultimately, I wanted an impactful name that would stick in people’s minds the same way OBEY stuck in mine
The idea of forming a collective was always in the pipeline for Deon and Russell when they were still Illustration Majors in Temasek Design School. Whilst the talent and passion for their art were undeniable, it took a meet-up with their ex-classmate, Lydia, to spur them to action. They subsequently added Kevin into their founding collective as they took things to a whole new level. Under the mentorship of Mark (from SBTG Studios), they were able to pull off their first ever exhibition titled “Our Very First Show” at Mark’s studio in January 2014.
When asked if it was a challenge starting from scratch, Deon mentioned, “It actually felt very natural, having three great friends to do work together with.” He was very passionate with the idea of starting up a collective because he was in constant awe of the level of talent just in his class alone and wanted to take that a step further - to find out what more could be achieved if they were all to collaborate with a common purpose.
Today, it is a complex and beautiful mishmash of 4 different art styles at TYC Studios. With regards to illustration styles, Kevin does insane, Russell witty, and Lydia whimsical. Deon himself, adopts a macabre-styled look for his personal illustrations. It is one where he contrasts flora and fauna against the grim forms of skulls and bones. He draws inspiration from the Latin phrase ‘Memento Mori’ which for the uninformed means: remember (that you have) to die. That said, what keeps him inspired to continue pushing on in his art range from watching cult films, lo-brow art, pop culture to artists like James Jean, Jim Phillips and Ed Roth.
Ever since TYC Studios came to the fore, the work they have done has resonated with their clients as well as like-minded creatives. They have gone from strength to strength through the reputation of the sheer quality of their work, gaining plenty of fans (a group to which now both the editors and writer are now part of) in the process. Deon believes that commercially, the appreciation for art in businesses has taken a huge turn for the better in Singapore – whether it be a business storefront, branding, or even feel-good vibes that retain customers.
“Our Very First Show” back in Jan 2014 was a huge blowout for them, as the turnout far exceeded their expectations. They then moved on to collaborating with The Redundant Shop as part of Singapore Design Week (Design Trail) in March, holding a small pop up exhibition where people were also able to screenprint and bring home their own tote bags. They have also done an exhibition titled “Our Neck of the Woods” initiated by Year 3 Ngee Ann Poly’s Arts Business Management students. They were most recently involved in the painting of a roof wall mural of a 7 storey building for the Creatory Festival in last August.
As momentum is now with them, TYC studios now have a few upcoming projects before the end of the year. They have been invited to the Gillman Barracks 2nd Year Anniversary and Motorwerks: The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Ride in the month of September 2014. They will also be working with Sole Superior for their show in November 2014.
Whilst Deon manages the increasing number of projects, sales and direction of TYC, he is constantly supported by his tight-knit team where their roles vary from art director, logistics, social marketing to even accounting, on top of producing artwork individually.
Deon believes that having high morale and strong motivation are important in ensuring that the end result is good quality work. That is where they have each other to rely on. They do wise to balance out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and are willing to step out of the spotlight if it means that a particular project requires one of their unique skill set. Now a registered business, they are looking to expand further in the near future by discovering a conducive space where they can focus on producing better works together.