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5 Minutes With… Koh Hong Teng

Singapore’s everyday spaces are a constant inspiration to artist Koh Hong Teng, who meticulously documents the ordinary.

5 Minutes With… Koh Hong Teng


January 15th, 2013

What inspires you to depict Singapore’s ’everyday spaces’?

They appeal to me because these are the things that surround me every day. In them, you find beauty in the mundanity.

Koh Hong Teng

Blk 34

What qualities of a space or place make it a good subject for an artwork?

It is quite unspecific, really. Anything that catches my eye in terms of colours, arrangements, even moods.

How do you decide what to draw and what to omit?

The objects need to speak to one another in an intrinsic way that will build up to the final composition. Things that obscure these thoughts become secondary.

Koh Hong Teng

Koh Hong Teng

No. 01-2470 and No. 01-2470 (detail)

What’s your favourite landmark, building or space in Singapore?

I’m drawn to open spaces that are left from the demolition of structures or buildings that once stood. One such space is Bidadari Park.

What projects are you busy with at the moment?

I’m currently working on a comic book, which is funded by the National Arts Council under the Arts Creation Fund scheme.

Koh Hong Teng

Blk 511

What are your top 3 influences?

Besides artists like Moebius, I am also influenced by the nature that surrounds me. Things, people and places in my growing-up years play a part too.

What’s your dream project – real or imaginary?

A wuxia comic. I wonder what it would look like if I were to produce a comic with a pugilistic theme.

Koh Hong Teng

No. 01-83

Koh Hong Teng

No. 01-667

Who would be a dream person to collaborate with?

No one in particular.

Who is your favourite artist?


Koh Hong Teng

Koh Hong Teng

No. 04-02 and No. 04-02 (detail)

Tell us your number 1 concern for the art scene in Singapore.

There’s an on-going trend – the proliferation of conceptual art without a concept. The concern is whether it is good for the art scene here.

What’s the most interesting thing about the way you work?

Not sure if the way I work can be called interesting, but I do lots of things in tandem and they tend to influence one another.

Koh Hong Teng

No. 01-54

What’s one item you can’t live without in the studio?


If you had one word of advice for young artists, it would be…

To enjoy the art creation process.

Koh Hong Teng

Above: No. 01-3030

Top image: No. 01-54 (detail)

Koh Hong Teng is represented by Singapore’s Mulan Gallery.

Mulan Gallery

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