A world I would love to be trapped in

25 01 2013

One current exhibition that is certainly well worth a visit to is one that is devoted entirely to building bricks most of us would have been familiar with from our childhoods. ‘The Art of The Brick’ at the ArtScience Museum which opened on 17 November 2012 and will run until 14 April 2013, takes visitors into the world of 39 year old Nathan Sawaya, whose life-long obsession with Lego building bricks has seen him abandon his job as an attorney to devote himself to the ‘art of the brick’.

Step into the world of Nathan Sawaya at the ArtScience Museum.

Trapped, one of the brick pieces that offers a look into the world of Nathan Sawaya at the ArtScience Museum. Trapped is inspired by the artist’s feelings of being trapped. Speaking of being trapped – Sawaya’s world is one I certainly wouldn’t mind being trapped in.

I was provided with the opportunity to visit the exhibition recently by good people of the ArtScience Museum. The visit provided me not only with the opportunity to see the artist’s work, but also step into the artist’s own world seen through some of his work which includes both representative brick sculptures as well as one which explore surrealist themes in what is some of the more fascinating pieces. Sawaya’s obsession with what is indeed a very popular and timeless toy we were told began at the age of five. Not being able to get that pet dog he had wanted, Sawaya did the next best thing – he dismantled his Lego city brick set and built a dog with it which he named Boxer.

The entrance to the exhibition. The exhitbition runs until 14 April 2013.

The entrance to the exhibition. The exhitbition runs until 14 April 2013.

Sawaya decided to turn what had in his working years become a means to blow off steam. It was when he realised that his sharing of his hobby on his website brickartist.com was receiving quite a fair bit of attention that he decided to dedicate his life to being a ‘brick artist’ first joining Lego before setting up his own art gallery in New York City.

A giant FaceMask.

A giant FaceMask.

The 52 large-scale brick pieces at the exhibition are displayed across eight galleries. In the first gallery, we are introduced to the artist himself, with several pieces through which Sawaya reveals some of his personal take on himself. The gallery includes several ‘iconic’ pieces including ‘Yellow’ and ‘Swimmer’. My personal favourite among the works in the gallery is Yellow which depicts a human torso tearing its chest open. Thousands of toy bricks can be seen to spill out from the gap. The work represents the artist’s personal metamorphosis and transitions and is said to capture his emotional journey in which the artist opened himself up to the world.

Yellow - which represents Sawaya's personal metamorphosis and transitions, and captures his emotional journey.

Yellow – which represents Sawaya’s personal metamorphosis and transitions, and captures his emotional journey.

Another piece in the Introduction Gallery - 'Hands' which depicts a dream Sawaya had in which he loses his hands.

Another piece in the Introduction Gallery – ‘Hands’ which depicts a dream Sawaya had in which he loses his hands.

The seven other galleries are no less interesting. The next one we come to is the Catwalk Gallery where works are displayed on a runway like platform. Works here that caught my eye were Circle, Triangle, Square and Everlasting. Another interesting gallery is the Portrait Gallery, where there are some familiar faces in 2D – all made again from Lego bricks which I thought was rather amazing. Among the portraits are those of Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin. What is interesting to learn about is the approach that the artist takes when creating a 2D portrait is that he starts off with the eyes – after which he says everything falls into place. The choice of colour is also important we are told. Sawaya, despite his talent in creating 2D likenesses of famous personalities with Lego bricks, we are also told, does not like to take on commercial commissions for 2D portraits for fear that he may offend clients should the work not come out right.

Circle, Trangle, Square in the Catwalk Gallery.

Circle, Trangle, Square in the Catwalk Gallery.

Everlasting.

Everlasting.

Close-up of a portrait of Janis Joplin.

Close-up of a portrait of Janis Joplin.

Close-up of a portrait of Bob Dylan.

Close-up of a portrait of Bob Dylan.

And one of Jimi Hendrix.

And one of Jimi Hendrix.

Our very able guide Dina, speaking on Courtney Yellow - a portrait of Sawaya's then girlfriend (and now wife) Courtney Simmons.

Our very able guide Dina, speaking on Courtney Yellow – a portrait of Sawaya’s then girlfriend (and now wife) Courtney Simmons.

Another gallery which I did take my time to look at was The Emotion Box which has pieces all of which seemed to have a deeper meaning in them. Stepping into the gallery one encounters works that are mesmerisingly fascinating such as Mask, Ascension, Grasp and Trapped. There certainly are deeper meanings that one will discover in the works. Ascension depicts the artists desire to ascend to a higher place without experiencing death, whereas, Grasp refers to the many people telling the artist ‘no’ – people he would like to rid his life of.

Mask.

Mask.

Ascension.

Ascension.

Grasp.

Grasp.

One work that will certainly impress is a six metre long one – a T-Rex skeleton at the Art of Play. The last gallery is where you will find a brick sculpture of a familiar sight – that of the ArtScience Museum itself. The piece was specially commissioned by the ArtScience Museum and was created without the artist having actually visited the museum, and purely from 2D images.

The six metre long T-Rex skeleton.

The six metre long T-Rex skeleton.

One of the ArtScience Museum.

One of the ArtScience Museum.

Peace.

Peace.

The exhibition also has several areas which allow visitor interaction, including light and sound displays, a photobooth, a Play and Build area and an area where visitors can attempt to recreate Sawaya’s rain. The exhibtion is open from 10 am to 10 pm daily (last entry is at 9 pm). More information on the exhibition and ticket prices can be found at the ArtScience Museum’s website.

Writer in The Drawing Board gallery.

Writer in The Drawing Board gallery.

Interacting with light.

Interacting with light.

Photobooth.

Photobooth.





An invasion of pumpkins

3 10 2012

Step into the Flower Dome, one of the two cooled conservatories at the Gardens by the Bay, this October and November and what will greet you is the surprise of the orange glow of 1,500 pumpkins, on show as part of the Autumn Harvest seasonal display at the Flower Field. The 850 square metre Flower Field, the centrepiece of the Flower Dome, has as part of the Autumn Harvest display, been decorated with some 18,000 blooms – Sunflowers, Marigolds, Lavenders, Heucheras, Calla Lilies, Tomatoes, Kales and Chrysanthemums, which mixed with scarecrows, wheelbarrows, hay, hay rabbits, a cornucopia, and different coloured ears of corn, gives that sense of the time of harvest that is associated with the warm glow of autumn.

Some 1,500 pumpkins will colour the Flower Field orange.

The Flower Field will be decorated with scarecrows and wooden wheelbarrows to give a sense of the harvest season in the warm glow of autumn.

They are sunflowers ….

and some 18,000 blooms as part of the Autumn Harvest display on the Flower Field.

The pumpkins, a fruit which ripens in the autumn, are at the heart of the display. A total of 10 varieties including green marbled and white miniature pumpkins with a combined weight of 1 tonne have been flown in from Oregon, USA, specially for the display. Amongst the 1500 pumpkins and exotically shaped gourds, there is one that will certainly catch the eye – a giant pumpkin, the diameter of which I have been told is about 1 metre!

The giant pumpkin.

A rabbit made of hay.

Autumn Harvest will be on display from now up until the end of November and is part of the changing display on the Flower Field that reflects different seasons and festivals through the year. More information on the Gardens by the Bay, opening times and admission charges to the conservatories can be found at the website.

Varieties of corn and a cornucopia – the horn of plenty also decorate the Flower Field.

Autumn Harvest provides a wonderful backdrop for photos.


Other recent views around the Gardens by the Bay

The 30 metre high waterfall off the Cloud Mountain in the second cooled conservatory – the Cloud Forest.

The Supertree Grove at sunset.

The OCBC Skywalk at the Supertree Grove.





Getting intimate during Overtime

30 01 2011

I was never one that was motivated to frequent the area that is known as Dempsey Hill and maybe finding myself there voluntarily, twice in a two month period, would have been seen as odd. But of course, the circumstances of my being there had changed since my days of trudging up the gentle incline of the hill often enough to leave me with a dread of the hours I would spend in getting permission to travel out of the country. That was at a time when the single storey blocks that were typical of the British military establishments found around Singapore, housed the Exit Permit Office of the Central Manpower Base (CMPB), to which I needed to submit myself to everytime I wanted to leave the country since I turned twelve.

Dempsey Hill is a very different place from the one that I used to trudge reluctantly up to during its days as CMPB.

These days, Dempsey Hill is a different place, one that despite the numerous rumours of supernatural sightings, is no longer haunted by its association with its days as part of the Ministry of Defence complex that had occupied the area. Dempsey Hill is today, a place that despite its relative inaccessibility by public transport, is growing in popularity as a destination for the many fine dining establishments that now fill the dusty offices where the sounds of army boots and typewriters had once dominated. It was to one of these establishments, many not so much a fine dining, but an establishment that serves not just great food, but also along with it, great beer and great entertainment, that combined with the wonderful setting it is in, make it a wonderful place to not just dine, catch up over a few drinks but also to chill out after a day at the office.

Great tasting food at Overtime complements the great tasting Stärker Fresh Beer.

Stärker Fresh Beer comes in two varieties, the Aromatic and Lager ...

Having already taken up an invitation to attend its grand opening, which featured none other than the international Taiwanese based superstar, Lin Chi Ling, during which I had become acquainted with the brand of beer it serves, I was quite happy to accept an offer to attend an “initmate” food tasting session at the establishment Overtime. With a wonderful array of food on offer, ranging from a choice of 39 skewers to various different platters on its menu, who could resist the invitation, and just as I wasn’t disappointed with the excitement of the grand opening of the outlet, I certainly wasn’t disappointed with the so called intimate session.

There is a full menu that offers platters, skewers and even some local favourites.

In the excellent company of the wonderful PR personnel, and an old friend, it wasn’t hard to get intimate and commit one of the seven deadly sins – with the food that is, as the seemingly never ending flow of platters and skewers came fast and furious. Besides the German styled Stärker Fresh Beer, which is brewed in Malaysia on offer, the interesting beverage menu also includes a few interesting Overtime creations, Beer Cocktails made with Stärker Beer, which offers a refreshing beverage as an alternative to anyone with a sense of adventure. You can choose to Go Naked, or have a Caribbean Night or as we were recommended, the Lychee Slush, which proved to be sweet and light beverage if you aren’t keen on a full glass of beer.

The Lychee Slush, a light and refreshing beer cocktail on offer at Overtime.

The platters and skewers on offer are a fusion of east and west, asian influenced flavours, some mixed with western type foods such as the Jumbo Sausage. A favourite, Platter A on the menu, Crunchy Pork complemented with Crispy Fried Mushrooms and Fish Fillets, certainly did not disappoint, as did the several skewers that went smoothly down with the pint of Aromatic Stärker Beer I decided to indulge in this time. The highlight for me was the Teriyaki Beef, which was lightly flavoured and tender and moist as I like my beef, as well as the Squid Skewer – squid grilled to perfection.

Platter A - Crunchy Pork, complemented by Crispy Fried Mushrooms and Fish Fillet - yummy!

There are also some delicious salads on offer including a Thai Style Calamari Salad.

The sumptuous squid skewer ...

Homestyle Prawn Crackers with Deep Fried Bean Curd ...

It was a great night that had to end too soon, as I had an early start for the following morning. With the knowledge that besides the wonderful beer and food that was on offer, and also the information that a delightful local band The Repeats, who performed at the grand opening would soon be performing three acts every night from 7.00 pm onwards, Dempsey Hill and the single storey blocks that I used to reluctantly visit, would probably see a lot more of me in days to come.

The Repeats will perform 3 acts every night from 7pm onwards at Overtime's Dempsey Hill outlet.

A parting shot ... the air-conditioning vent on the ceiling ...





Doing OverTime with International Celebrity Lin Chi Ling on Dempsey Hill

17 12 2010

[Click on this link for details of Overtime's X'mas and New Year Promotion].

I was fortunate to be able to “Let My Hair Down and BLOG” at the Grand Opening of Singapore’s latest happening place OverTime @ Dempsey Hill. With the promise of free flow of “fresh beer”, great food, great music, great company in the form of like-minded bloggers (most of them probably half my age), and an appearance by “The First Face of Taiwan”, International Celebrity Lin Chi Ling (林志玲), it was certainly worth putting everything else aside including a Christmas party to spend a Thursday evening at.

OverTime at 18E Dempsey Hill is one of two OverTime outlets to hit Singapore this December. The other is at Holland Village.

Taiwanese Celebrity Lin Chi Ling was to make an appearance on the evening to open the outlet.

OverTime @ Dempsey Hill seen here. Its three outlets in Kuala Lumpur have been a hit since they opened in 2009.

Arriving early enough before the official starting time at 7 pm, I was surprised to see that a huge crowd had already arrived on the scene as well as a crowd of curious onlookers, drawn perhaps by a banner with a image of Lin Chi Ling. That I guess was a sign of things to come and it wasn’t long before space within the outlet felt like a premium. Promptly served with half a pint of the house brand Stärker Beer, which was first introduced in Malaysia a year ago and is apparently brewed with German technical know-how, I was pleasantly surprised by its full-bodied taste. Not too bad I thought. The beer I was to find out later, comes in two variations: Lager and Aromatic.

OverTime is also home to Stärker Fresh Beer which comes in either Lager or Aromatic variations.

Next it was time to sample the food. Maybe I was hungry having skipped lunch (not so much in anticipation of the free food but to make time at the end of the day for the event), but the fried rice that was served was just what I was craving for with the little bits of salted fish, along with other food which was actually from the kitchen – great stuff! All then that was left was to savour the happening atmosphere of the place, share a few laughs with funny man Yong Wei and await the arrival of Lin Chi Ling entertained by the live band on stage.

The happening crowd at the Grand Opening of OverTime @ Dempsey Hill.

The ever humourous Yong Wei ...

There was great entertainment to accompany the great food and beer.

Some of my fellow bloggers posing for a photograph.

Blogger Ying Zi being interviewed.

With the wonderful atmosphere and company, it didn’t seem long before Lin Chi Ling arrived as scheduled at 8.45 pm in a minibus … which she stepped gracefully out of accompanied by her entourage. For a while I got to be a member of the Paparazzi trying to get a good photograph of her as she made her way to entrance. It certainly wasn’t easy doing it and perhaps I have a bit more respect for the Paparazzi, not so much for what they do, but more for how hard it really is for them to do what they do. The gorgeous Lin Chi Ling passed through like a flash, and before I knew it, she had opened the outlet, vanishing quickly into the press tent where she spent the rest of the evening being interviewed by the mainstream media. I waited for a while, hoping perhaps to get a better shot of her thinking she would be out soon. But on hearing that there was a large queue of interviewer lying in wait, I thought against it. It was time perhaps to go back in and join the crowd, but then I thought against it as well, not wanting to be tempted by the free flow of beer as I would have to get behind the wheel later, so in anticipation of a long day I had ahead the very next day, I reluctantly decided to also part company with the great new place, the great atmosphere and the great company (not to forget the great beer), knowing that I will definitely be back soon to do lots of OverTime!

The "First Face of Taiwan", Lin Chi Ling gracing the occasion.

One more of Lin Chi Ling leaving the stage.

Some of the Who's Who of Singapore were also seen at the event.

A member of the beer brigade...

Definitely a place to do lots of OverTime!



X’MAS & NEW YEAR PROMOTION AT OVERTIME!

(Promotion on from 23rd Dec 2010 to 1st Jan 2011)

Stärker Promotion:
Opening to 7pm: Buy 1 pint get 1 pint free.
7pm to 12am: Buy 1 pint get a ½ pint free. (extended happy hour).

33 Fushion Skewer Promotion:
5pm to 12am
With every purchase of 2 litres of Stärker, you get 2 sets of 2 skewers free!
With every purchase of 5 litres of Starker, you get 2 sets of 5 skewers free!






Spot a cicak and stand a chance to win a Sony Cyber-shot TX5!

4 08 2010

Well, that’s true … but not just looking for the ordinary cicak which I once almost made a meal of, but Guido the Gecko. If you don’t already know about GuideGecko Inside Out, you might like to check it out … as it offers lots of insider tips on what to see and do, where to eat, shop and party in Singapore and touted as “Singapore‟s most complete lifestyle resource” by Dr. Daniel Quadt, the Founder and Managing Director of GuideGecko. Based on its press release, Inside Out is said to offer something new for everyone, such as the Labrador Secret Tunnels or the Spicy Food Challenge in Little India, with tips accompanied by reviews, photos and videos.

Looking for and photographing a Gecko can win you a camera! But, not any ordinary Gecko, but Guido the Gecko!

Based on information contained in its press release yesterday, GuideGecko Inside Out is now running a contest up to the end of September, which is said to allows GuideGecko to showcase all the great places Singapore has to offer, while providing contestants with fun and with the thrill of winning win a top-notch camera. The contest kicks off at all Harry’s Bar outlets islandwide, where staff are wearing Guido the Gecko badges. Visitors are welcome to approach them, take a funny close-up snapshot with the Gecko mascot on the badge, and share it on www.facebook.com/GuideGecko. The best and craziest photos will be featured on www.GuideGecko.com/catch-guido, and the most liked photo wins a brand new Sony Cyber-shot TX5 camera. A live Guido will be on location, encouraging visitors to take funny photos. New places to explore and spot Guido the Gecko will be added weekly until September 30, along with attractive prizes. From the National Day weekend onwards, Guido will be at the Singapore Flyer celebrating Singapore‟s 45th birthday. Other confirmed venues in the following weeks include Bollywood Veggies Farm, The French Stall and more. More information on the contest, including current prizes and the weekly venues to spot Guido the Gecko can be found at www.GuideGecko.com/catch-guido. Singapore Inside Out can be found at www.GuideGecko.com/singapore.


About GuideGecko
GuideGecko is an innovative publishing platform, travel book store and online community for travel, food and lifestyle guides. GuideGecko currently offers more than 3300 guidebooks as print and PDF download, on 169 countries and 270 cities and regions around the world.

Singapore Inside Out, GuideGecko‟s latest addition, features the most complete online guide to Singapore, with over 880+ insider tips on what to see and do, the best restaurants, shops and bars – all with photos and videos. An integrated online community enables users to connect with like-minded members and share their own reviews, photos and videos.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Dr. Daniel Quadt
Email: media@guidegecko.com
Telephone: +65 94 555 974








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