A Singaporean Painter Who Creates Violent, Multi-Dimensional Worlds

19 Aug 2020

“For more than 10 years, Ruben Pang has been lucky to never have had to put down his paintbrush. Pang grew up in a family of creatives: His father trained under renowned artists like sculptor and painter Tan Teng Kee and Singapore’s pioneering potter, Iskandar Jalil; while his mother taught fashion merchandising in Temasek Polytechnic. His upbringing has meant that unlike other artists who struggle with the decision of whether to pursue their passion, Pang has never doubted his future as an artist.

As an artist, it is important to respect your own values. How do you treat yourself when you’re failing? For Pang, it is having an encouraging monologue within himself, and articulating that in his brush strokes. During his time in an art institute, Pang was fortunate to have met his own mentor the same way his father found his — Ian Woo, an artist and musician, helped him address some of his personal blind spots, and taught him to be vulnerable in his art but discerning as an artist. In a world that insists “artist equals content,” it can be difficult to look at art beyond mere transactional objects. Coupled with the insecurity projected onto emerging artists by a less than nurturing environment, Pang acknowledges that creatives who have not developed a sense of resilience could often feel that they have no inherent value.”

The New York Times Style Magazine: Singapore speaks to Ruben Pang on his upbringing and influences of his practice, as part of their special August tribute to creatives who are shaping the future of Singapore’s arts scene.

Image courtesy of The New York Times Style Magazine: Singapore.