[ About Jess ]

Solo/custom show – Show Your Eemo – BLAXK gallery (2022)

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. I’m most known for my cute creatures and exploring personal themes like mental health, diversity & identity. Below you can learn a little more about my creative joinery:

Education – Photography & Video Art

Between 2001-2005 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.

Early Career

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 programs. 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) and a two year business art scheme called the The Setting Up Scheme (2006-2008) with support from Arts Council England.

I was also the winner of the My Life in the News documentary for NOISE Festival (2006) which I won a two days work experience at the BBC in London and was one of the artist representatives at a 2008 NOISE Festival event that took place at Downing street, London. I’ve 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.

While I have long stepped away from adoptee advocacy & using it as a theme in my work, I gained a strong conviction and understood the power of my own voice through my adoption work. I continue to use that voice in my art and still explore personal themes a topics close to my heart like mental health & identity. You can learn more on my [My Adoption Story] page.


A major life setback, due to the 2008 financial crisis, was the reason I took a huge pivot to illustration. I had to withdraw from a PhD program I’d been accepted into a week before it started and sort out the financial hole I found myself. I asked myself what did I really wanted to do. Fantasy art always interested me, but in school I was heavily discouraged from perusing it as unfortunately it was seen as a lesser art form in the eyes of the art world which has always been a struggle for pop culture art until more recently. Having nothing else to lose, I thought I’d explore art that made me happy so i found my way back to fantasy pop culture art. I had to essentially reskill and so taught myself to illustrate and it took me many years to build up that skill enough to start gaining commission.

Fast forward, after doing a book illustration commission in 2013, I realized how passionate I was about illustration to a point it was was something I wanted to do full time! Even though designer toys are now my main focus, illustration is still core to my practice. You can see an edited selection on my [Illustration] page.

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.


I moved to Singapore in 2015 due to my husband’s work having zero connection to the country prior… I’ve been here ever since! My time in Singapore really has nurtured me personally and creativity. It started when my husband (a neuroscientist/psychologist) & I started a collaborative webcomic called Mad Scientist Cat because we participated in 24hr comic day 2015 encouraged by some of the comic community we’d met. We went on to do more so we decided to booth at Singapore Comic Con (formally STGCC) in 2016, the same con I discovered designer toys!

Pop culture art, like comics and designer toys, has opened up wonderful communities to me here in Singapore which has given me the confidence to put myself out there internationally. No matter how long I get to stay in Singapore, my time here has deeply impacted my life & art for the better!

Designer Toys

When the designer toy maker in the booth next to mine at STGCC 2016 con informed me that they made their designer toys 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! Just like with illustration, it was a huge undertaking to reskill to teach myself sculpting & resin casting. It wasn’t until 2019 I decide to go full time toys.

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 ActionCity (BLAXK) x JE. I have gone on to release further colour ways with ActionCity.

You can see my full archive of art toys on my [Designer Toys] page.

3D & 3D Printing

In another massive reskill, in 2021 I also learnt digital 3D sculpting and 3D printing in 2022 to aid my toy making and keep up with changing technologies. I’m stil quite new to this but i think this shows the pattern I have of loving learning new skills. You can see a selection of my work on my [3D] page.

Final Thoughts

Designer toys, illustration & 3D art came to me in quite a round about way and quite late in life. I use to think my varied creative background was a disadvantage because the idea an artist must master a single medium is a strong one installed very young. When I finally was able to shake off the traditional thinking of what even was and found designer toys/pop culture art I knew I’d found my creative space! What is most important to me creatively is to develop my artist voice & style regardless of the medium. I’ve spent many years trying to bridge the gap between my 2D & 3D work. Even though I sometimes wonder what life would have be like if I’d found illustration & toys sooner, yet I believe looking back my past has shaped the artist I am now. In my early career I very much focused on what I created very much doing what I thought I should be doing and caused me to feel extremally lost creatively. It wasn’t until about 2016 my mindset shifted from “what” to “why”… trying understand why I create is when I really started to bloom as an artist.

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 share and connect to people. I’m now known for using cute creatures as a vehicle to explore personal themes like mental health, diversity & identity.

While I’ve face a lot of personally challenges since 2022, if my past shows me any kind of pattern is that I can dig deep & adapt. Sometimes my best works form in my hardest moments.