The Noise Singapore festival, now in its fifth edition, saw an impressive 1,020 participants submitting 9,061 works in categories such as photography, music, art & design and more.
Among them, five won the Noise Singapore Prize, which comprises of a $5,000 arts grant, and five more won prizes in the special Singapore 2010 Themed Category of ‘Celebration’.
For these winners, these accolades serve as a recognition of their potential and talent, and an encouragement to achieve even more. inSing.com spoke to three of the winners, as well as one of the esteemed judges.
They are Robert Zhao (Noise Singapore Prize for Photography), Sheena Aw (Art & Design) and Anwarafiee (Art & Design section of the Celebration category), as well as Stefen Chow, a professional photojournalist who judged the Photography category.
Question: How does Noise help aspiring local talents like yourselves?
Robert: I think the exposure … is definitely useful and the apprenticeship programme helps build contacts. I hope the festival will continue to encourage more interesting art to be made and shown.
Sheena: Noise (is) … a great arena where they can discernibly express their creativity and reach out to a vast audience. This can potentially open doors for most of the participants who aspire to establish a career in the creative industry, which can be a daunting undertaking for the uninitiated.
Anwarafiee: Not only has Noise given us an incredible platform to showcase our creations, but it also give us an opportunity to meet other artists during the networking sessions. In the future, I would love to see some projects based on collaborations between the different categories.
Q: What are some of the common obstacles for local talents?
Robert: Fear? I am still trying to find out a way to come up with something new without looking like a fool and on top of that, I have many personal struggles being an artist.
Sheena: The lack of exposure and opportunities. Many young artists in Singapore are just too shy to go out and show their creativity. At the same time, there is a lack of prominent channels for them to do so.
Anwarafiee: Unfortunately, platforms such as Noise are still very limited in Singapore and getting exposure is not easy. We need more events throughout the year showcasing art and creativity.
Q: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken away from your recent experiences?
Robert: In terms of lessons, I think of school. I remembered last week in one of the harshest critique sessions in my art school, my favourite lecturer told me: “If you have nothing to say, you should shut up.”
Sheena: Back when I just started out in design, I was one of those who hide in a corner and hope for the best. It’s time to stop hiding in my little hole since I have so much to share with the world :)
Opportunities come at the least expected moment. Go out and meet new people, make more friends and don't be afraid to try new things.
Anwarafiee: To never give up. Patience and hard work always pays off. Working with Noise taught me a lot about structuring my work and I believe this plays a big part in the path to a successful career.
Stefen Chow, judge and mentor, Noise Singapore 2010
Question: How do you think Noise helps aspiring talents?
Stefen: Noise connects budding talents directly with professionals, and also showcases their work on exhibition platforms which increases their visibility and credibility as artists. It is a luxury I didn't have when I started in this industry.
Q: What are some of the biggest obstacles for local talents?
Stefen: I think the single biggest obstacle is the proper mindset to be a photographer.
Few of us are ever rich enough to afford photography as a full time hobby, but a lot of aspiring photographers go into this industry thinking they just want to care about making beautiful pictures.
Q: Are there any photographers that you think we should be watching out for in the near future?
Stefen: (The standard of photography in Singapore) has improved tremendously over the years! I have seen a lot of new work that have very fresh concepts and great technical executions.
There is a lot of talent out there, and I think the notable ones are Mintio, Robert Zhao, Sam Kang Li and Zhang Jingna. Their works cover a wide range of genres, they are young, and their ideas and energies put me to shame.