I am a UK designer toy maker, illustrator & 3D artist based in Singapore. I have a diverse creative background having started out initially as a conceptual photography & video artist. Now my main focus is [Designer Toys] and [3D] but [Illustration] continues to be the root of my practice. Here you can learn little more about my creative joinery.
Education – Photography & Video Art
I did a (BA) Photography degree and a (MA) Media Arts Masters (with distinction) at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. My early conceptual work explored my experiences of being transracial adopted through my [Adoption Art] often in the form of digital photography & video with performance elements.
After university in 2006 I went on to become a freelance artist. In my early career I was involved in a number of exhibitions/screenings, residencies, schemes and training. Most noticeably a Whisper residency & Chinese Professional Artist Development (PAD) scheme at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA) (formally the Chinese Arts Centre) (2006), a two year business art scheme called the The Setting Up Scheme (2006-2008).
I was also the winner of the My Life in the News documentary for NOISE Festival (2006) which I won a two day work experience at the BBC in London and was one of the artist representatives at the opening of the 2008 NOISE Festival that took place at Downing street, London. I have had work and writing published in three adoption anthology book collections, Pieces of Me, More Voices & Chosen – Living with Adoption, and had a video screened as part of the Touring Trans-cultural Adoptee Films’ (2009) in Australia. Go to the [Key Works CV (before 2013) ] page for a list older things I’ve been a part of.
Design, Community & Adoption work
In 2008 I moved away from my conceptual art to general [Design & Freelance] work which mainly was illustration, branding/logo design and website building/design.
I also become more involved in [Community] projects. I did talks/panels where I spoke and answered questions about my experiences of being a transracial adult adoptee. During this time I also planned & led art workshops, mainly with adopted kids/teens/families or people that have an East Asian connection, ranging from simple crafts to custom themed workshops. I become involved in a number of international adult adoptee groups and projects.
Notably I am the founder and artist of Adopted the Comic (2009-2013), a Website Designer & was a Advisory Network Member of Adopted Vietnamese International (AVI) and Website Designer & Advisor of the Hong Kong Adoptees Network. I have done talks & workshops in the UK, Ireland and Hong Kong. Realizing I wanted to pursue my own work more, I decided to scale back my involved in the adoption community to focus on my art. I really loved my community work and all the wonderful people that I have met through it.
After doing a book illustration commission in 2013, I realized how passionate I was about illustration to a point it was was something I passionately wanted to do full time! Even though toys are now my main focus, illustration is still core to my practice. My work & style has changed a lot over the years. You can see a selection on the [Illustration] page.
I moved to Singapore in 2015 due to my husband’s work. Singapore has been great for my art and the start of my exploration into traditional mediums. My time in Singapore really has nurtured a massive artist growth for me. My husband (a neuroscientist) & I started a collaborative webcomic called Mad Scientist Cat so we decided booth at Singapore Comic Con (formally STGCC) in 2016, the same con I discovered designer toys!
I was blown away that in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance 2018 creature design competition I got one of the few honorable mentions with my Stretine (2017) design. It meant so much because the original Dark Crystal had a huge influence on my art!
In 2018 I was shortlisted for the World Illustrations Awards 2018 with ink drawing Texture Monster – Flora (2017). My Texture Monster series continues to be inspired by Singapore urban/green spaces.
When the designer toy maker in the booth next to mine at S(T)GCC 2016 con informed me that they made them themselves by resin casting it blow my mind! I thought well if they can, maybe I can too so I gave it a go and haven’t stopped since! But it wasn’t until 2019 I decide to go full time toys. In 2021 I also learnt to 3D sculpting to aid my toy making. I still continue to do illustration, but designer toys has just been a natural evolution to my illustration work. You can see some of work on my [Designer Toys] and [3D] page.
In 2021 I was the Copic Awards – Craft Award selected by Too Corporation Americas winner with my Oxenlox – (Un)locked Potential designer toy. In 2022 I had my first toy solo/custom show at BLAXK gallery (by ActionCity), Singapore while also having my first production piece Eemo Cloud BLAXK x JE.
Designer toys, illustration & 3D art came to me in quite a round about way. I use to think my varied background would mean I would never master anything, but I now realize that my love of learning many art forms is perfectly suited to designer toys.
I’m a very passionate and hard working person who has many questions about the world, probably stemming from my curiosity of [My Adoption Story]. I feel very lucky that I can work in a field that lets me observe and connect. I’m now know for using cute creatures as a vehicle to explore personal themes like mental health & identity.