Kun Rong is a new breed of Singaporean concept artist. He interned in IFS ( Imaginary Friends Studio – www.imaginaryfs.com/ ) before going to Japan for 3 years, learning the language/ culture and obtaining his diploma in Musashino Art School. He worked in Tokyo during his time there as a concept artist and illustrator, doing commissions and projects from magazines to background art to Anime Series.
He’s now back in Singapore pursuing his love for drawing and concept art as a fulltime freelance artist working on projects from Japan and around the region.
1) How long have you been an illustrator and how did you get started?
I have been drawing from a very young age, copying and rendering from references of anything that appealed to me. From then on i slowly moved on to painting as well as discovering my personal direction. I kept on experimenting, learning, and pushing my works as i really enjoy creating. I was lucky enough to get acquainted with professional works through the net, starting out from card game illustrations when I was in the army. From there, I started building more contacts in this area, and have been doing freelance projects for 3-4 years now.
2) Who/what are your inspirations?
I am very inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci, MC Escher and Syd Mead in their meticulous approach to art and design. I believe that creativity and imagination is the result of repetitive labour of playing with forms, volumes, geometry, shapes and colours, rearranging, reconstructing and re-evaulating them a thousand times. I am very inspired by things i see around me because i feel that any possible form that exist in one context can be brought to exaggeration in another. I like to keep an open mind and accept everything as I feel it is very important for growth.
3) Describe your typical day as an illustrator.
I usually wake up to do a few sketches before doing work. They may or may not make sense, its more of a habitual thing. After that I may dive into work, but depending on the kind of projects I am working on I would say my days are not exactly typical. Sometimes i spent alot of time researching depending on the topic. The one thing typical about my day is that i definitely will be doing sketches every now and then as i find them the most important process in the honing of a thought.
4) How was your work experience in Japan and how different is their illustration scene
I was sent there to study and was again lucky enough to manage to get freelance work experience while studying. It is a very inspiring place with many passionate people. There is really a great deal of artists out there, working part time in restaurants while trying to do their own exhibition because they just want to. Not to mention the quality of work produced, but the Japanese passion for creation is really respectable. Their are works of all kinds, people of all kinds, and the thing that bring them together is their passion for creation. Success is not so much defined by recognition but more by their earnest wish to create.
5) What is the best thing you have learned while working in Japan?
I believe Singapore is more influenced by western culture and Japan is really on the extreme scale of Eastern Culture and that alone was the biggest learning experience for me. To speak in art terms, I have been more interested and inclined to the western’s style of mass and volume approach, whereas for the Japanese, the lack of perspective and the emphasis on lines is something I could never have grasped. Through the time i spent there, I slowly got to understand why and how their approach came about, making me appreciate things from a whole new perspective. This swift in my perspective was the most valuable thing I have learnt while I was there. The broadening of mindset meant a whole great deal of possibilities to me as a creator.
6) What advise would you give to an aspiring illustrator?
There is more often than not a great deal of hard work behind any illustrator or artist. A lot of practice and training is required and it is definitely not acquired in months or a few years. The reward is the empowering ability to bring visions to life. Never give up practicing no matter how bad you may be because the ability to see space and dimension can eventually be achieved with practice. Eliminate technical limitations and the rest is for anyone to create!
See more of his amazing work here: http://yapkunrong.net/