The second of four featured interviews covering six different aedge 2018 artists, this post will reveal more insights into Sim Kim Hong’s thoughts and processes whilst making ?|…
A series of doors that draw parallels with the cognitive process for ideation: a confrontation with a seemingly inaccessible barricade, as well as an admittance to potential portals of epiphany if one makes an attempt.
The curiosity and desire to discover what lies beyond often serve as strong motivation to overcome obstacles. At times, an occasional glimpse of hope helps one to persevere in the arduous process of conceptualizing. (For this work, a peephole and a keyhole serve as points of entry to the scene beyond the doors.)
However, more often than not, one might be paralyzed by frustration and despair when encountering a creative block (as suggested by the closed door). It is thus essential to remind oneself to keep on trying, as a mental barrier can always be overcome, and what awaits us well worth our while.
Question & Answer
Q: When did your fascination with doors begin? Did certain doors just happen to catch your eye? How did this decision to making models of them come about?
A: People often quote: “When one door closes, another opens.” My immediate response: “So what exactly can be found behind these doors?”
This deep-seeded thought was constantly triggered by the ubiquitous sight of doors. When I observe my surroundings, I can’t help but direct my gaze at them. Occasionally, my mind starts to wonder about the rich associations that could be tied to these doors. It is these narratives that truly fascinates me.
Not every door captures my attention. I find myself intrigued by ones that contain intricate details, textures or have a historical context. Their appearance could often be a projection of the owner’s personality; an embodiment of a cultural essence or just an intimate story to tell. Apart from its surface, the form and presence of a door also trigger my imagination. It is often seen as a literal, metaphorical and visual barrier. This stereotype is however peripheral at best. However, I feel that it might not always be that absolute. Accessibility to the space within is not promised with an open door, nor is closed door always connected to denial of entry. The only thing certain is the sense of uncertainty when one stands in front of a stranger’s door.
I guess after years of observing my surroundings and paying particular attention to doors, this banal imagery with rich interpretations has gradually piqued my interest to translate my thoughts into something more tangible. I chose to represent my ideas predominantly in a three-dimensional manner as I wanted to explore further in terms of form and space.
Q: During the process of making these doors, are there times when you ended up making something unexpected? What were your approaches? Is there a method or a fixed process, or is it more of a trial and error?
A: That’s for sure. My flow of ideas, which is often supported by the intuitive acts, eventually led the creation of one door to another; I ended up making more variation of doors than expected. In the initial stage of prototyping, my mind was constantly surged with lots of ideas and possibilities. More often than not, the monologue in my head begins with ‘what if…’, ‘perhaps…’, and ‘maybe…’ During the entire process of creation, I was also drawn to other door imagery that did not exist in my preliminary selection. There was also this instance where I simply went ahead with my instincts. I remember staring at my pristine white door grill when a thought suddenly occurred to me: “How would it look like if it is rusty?” Without further ado, I proceeded to dab paints on it. Thankfully, the outcome turned out to be great (I think).
My approach is a combination of observation, exploration, imagination and intuition. The thought process is certainly non-linear and the entire execution is relatively laborious. I started the project by ploughing through the photos of doors which I had gathered over the years. After which, I tried to expand on my collection and select a couple of them to replicate in three-dimensional form. I worked with a range of materials: cardboard, paper, balsa wood, taskboard, plastic, foam board and metal sheets. The process of making can be rather methodical – starting from the base structure, working in parts and layers, and finally assembling of the various elements. However, when it comes to surface treatment and the physical space enclosed by the door, the whole process is actually more experimental.
Artists’ Sketches/in-progress images
Q: Was there anything you learned about yourself through the making of this artwork?
A: I am glad to have taken a leap of faith and embarked on this personal project. Initially, I was not certain how well I can juggle work and my art practice. Through the making of this artwork, I realised that once I set my mind on achieving a goal – to materialise my ideas through a series of artworks – I was able to continue to focus on my teaching, and still set aside time for my art practice.
In fact, I started every morning with greater anticipation and joy as I know that I will be focusing on two of my greatest love in life – teaching and artmaking. Even though fatigue sets in after long hours of construction and painting, I always look forward to work on my project. The entire process was enjoyable and the final outcome was extremely rewarding.
Q: What do you hope for the audience to walk away with after viewing your work?
A: It would be great if they will be prompted to show greater appreciation to their surroundings, be encouraged to approach an idea or a scene with more than one vantage point, and/or be inspired to observe the world with a curious mind.
Q: What would you say to an individual who is struggling to find inspiration or motivation to make art?
A: The first step is always the hardest of all. Focus on what intrigues you and use that as a starting point. Begin with a small project, have fun with the exploration or work on an art collaboration with your like-minded friends. Do remember that we all have a unique mind. You are strongly encouraged to articulate your thoughts in words or visuals, and be attentive towards the voices of others too.
You are capable of making the decision. Take your first step, start now, and let your ideas take form.
Artist: Sim Kim Hong