GRAPHICFORM | locale research

For the second assignment of Graphic Form, it seems really exciting!

We have to go to a location in Singapore and do primary and secondary research on it.

There was several locations I had in mind: Haw Par Villa, Changi Village, Pasir Ris Farmway and Redhill.

Upon discussion with Joy, I headed to both Haw Par Villa and Pasir Ris Farmway, and decided on Haw Par Villa, as there wasn’t enough collaterals to work on Farmway.

I’ll be talking about Haw Par Villa in a few sections:
1. First impression
2. Secondary Research

3. Primary Research (Photos/Videos/Interviews)
4. Online Survey
5. Survey Results

Primary Research: original, first-hand data collected personally, e.g. photos, videos, interviews, surveys

Secondary Research: data collected for research purposes, e.g. online websites, official reviews, blogs

Qualitative Data: data that cannot be quantified or measured, e.g. five senses, personal feelings and thoughts, descriptions

Quantitative Data: data which can be quantified and measured, e.g. statistics, numbers, charts

1. First Impression

My first visit to Haw Par Villa was with my family, a random day out, when I was aged 11. I remembered the trip very vividly, as all the sculptures were so realistic and etched in my mind. Unlike a normal tourist attraction, it was enriched with tons of Chinese heritage culture and folklore! There was sculptures ranging from Buddhism (Buddha, Goddess of Mercy),  all the way to Chinese myths (Goddess White Snake). However, the best of all, that I remember the most was the Ten Courts of Hell in Haw Par Villa. My parents actually brought me there to teach me on my culture and the existence of hell in my culture, telling me the punishments I’ll get if I’ve sinned.

Therefore, when deciding on a location, Haw Par Villa came to my mind, as it’s a pretty under-rated tourist attractions that even Singaporeans do not/dare not visit!

2. Secondary Research

Before visiting Haw Par Villa, I went online to research on more information.

What is Haw Par Villa?
Haw Par Villa was formerly known as Tiger Balm, spans about 8.5 hectare along Pasir Panjang Road. It was first built in 1937, by Aw Boon Haw, as a gift for his brother, Aw Boon Par.

It’s used as a venue for traditional Chinese values, Singapore largest outdoor art gallery. In 1988, Singapore Tourism board took over and converted it into a theme park. However, high entrance fees was charged and the attraction ran at a loss during its operation. In the early 2000s, the fee was removed, but the public interest declined.

Location: 262 Pasir Panjang Road, Singapore 118628
Nearest Mrt: Haw Par Villa Station CC25 (Circle Line)
Buses: Bus 10, 30, 30e, 51, 143, 175, 176, 188, 200, 589

Opening hours:
9am – 7pm (last entry 6pm)
Ten Courts of Hell:
9am – 6pm (last entry 5.45pm)

Unique factor about Haw Par Villa

Ten Courts of Hell – Chinese depiction of afterlife
Chinese classics’ sculptures – Journey to the West, Eight Immortals, Tigers, leopard, animals, hybrid of animals & humans, and etc.

Tours around Haw Par Villa

1. Finding your Tao in Haw Par Villa; The Tiger Balm Garden Story
Daily Tour, started on 1st April 2018.
The tour starts at 10am daily, and tickets cost $5/$10.

2. Journeys to Hell; Death and the Afterlife in Haw Par Villa
Twilight Tour, Every Friday 6.30-8.30pm
Tickets cost: $9/$15/$18

Resources available:

Site Maps
Descriptions of the sculptures
Official Haw Par Villa website

3. Primary Research

I captured some images and videosof Haw Par Villa during my trip there!

Video of Haw Par Villa!

Video of Ten Courts of Hell!

Images taken from Ten Courts of Hell & Haw Par Villa

4. Interviews and Online Survey

I interviewed a few visitors at Haw Par Villa

Interviewee 1 – A guy that came with a bunch of friends, from an International School!

Interviewee 2 – Chinese tourist that visited Haw Par Villa with family

Interviewee 3 – Singaporean, visiting Haw Par Villa with friends

Upon my visit, I wanted to reach out to a larger audience, regarding their perceptions of Haw Par Villa and the Ten Courts of Hell.

I divided my survey into 6 different sections, which will be easier for me to analyse the data.

Section 1 – Generic Questions & If they have/have not been to Haw Par Villa

Section 2 – If they have been to Haw Par Villa 

Section 3 – If they visited 10 courts of hell when they went to Haw Par Villa

Section 4 – More questions regarding the entire location in general 

Section 5 – For respondents that have never been to Haw Par Villa

Section 6 – Perception of afterlife, applies to all respondents.

5. Survey Results

I’ve gathered a total of 50 respondents for my online survey, and will proceed to analyse it quantitatively and qualitatively during my presentation!

Links & References

And that’s about it for my research on Haw Par Villa!

Till then,

GRAPHICFORM | hello! final


This is my final artwork for the first project of Graphic Form: Image Making through Type!


To illustrate on the concept of trades in Singapore that’s dying, and to show their “death”.







Feedback from Classmates:

Feedback from Joy:

A & M words are stronger, especially M with great local context.
Letter Z & the crane can be incorporated more as the letterform is not very obvious
J can be developed further, as only the curve of the J is utilised, but the top isn’t.

Personal Reflection:

Personally, I felt that this assignment wasn’t done very well. The execution of the 4 images weren’t very consistent – as I wanted to experiment and do each individual differently. And I felt that it was a flop. I’d say that 2 out of my 4 were fine, and they were the digital illustrations, and the ones I spent the most time working on. For the other 2 mixed medium, it turned out not to be the way I projected it to be. Nonetheless, I enjoyed working on this project, as I got to play with my name, and incorporate jobs, and for me, jobs that I felt are meaningful to Singapore yet underappreciated. I liked the freedom to explore and experiment on whichever medium/design I want, although that didn’t go on very well. However, only losers give up!!! I’ll persevere my way through this mod and try to design better stuff :’)

And that’s it for Assignment 1!

Till then,


GRAPHICFORM | hello! process

For my whole concept, I wanted to try out different mediums individually.

For the name to use for the occupations, I decided to use j a m z
That’s my nickname – everyone calls me jamz instead of jamie, so I decided to use that instead, and it’s just fitting for the 4 occupations.  


To show the dying trade, I was thinking of doing a collage of mailed letters, to form the letter. I came up with a few different concepts and settled on doing the concept of burning.
To show the trade dying, burning was suitable – to show the trade burning to death.

To make use of the curve of the bottom of J, I put tons of paper ashes, to show that the ashes are being collated at the bottom. It gradient from the top of J, slowly burning down.


This was the hardest concept to come up with!!
I wanted to portray the uniqueness of the trade, and also it dying off. Also to show that lantern painting is hand-painted and unique to each, I decided to put a string of lanterns that are the same – showing that it’s machine-made, which is what many people buy/use now.

To show it being an individual thing, I decided to use the letterform A to make a huge lantern, and it floating into the sky.

This is the print design of the lantern, inspired from online images I saw from Mr Yeo Hung Teo’s lanterns!

This is the final image of the ‘A’ lantern.

Finally, I added both elements in, and used a night sky background, to bring out the lanterns.


To show the “taking over” of robots from human hawker cleaners, I made use of the letterform M, to make robot & human arms joined together.

The initial robot arm I used was more like a claw machine, which I didn’t really fancy, and wanted to make one that was more human-ish.

So I used another robot arm, that has more hand and fingers!

To add on the context of robot and human arm, I had them hold a tray together, cleaning up a table at the hawker centre.

This is the final look of the tray, the left side held by the robot and right by a human.

A tip from Joy was to show the different between the robot’s side of the tray vs the human’s. To show that humans are more attentive, I had the human’s side of the tray look cleaner while the robot’s side to be messy and the robot not cleaning it – as they are robots.

This accentuates the contrast more about technology and the occupation dying out, with a heavy local context.

To show that it is a hawker centre table, I used a round table and bright colours. Furthermore, I used a table number – to show that the table is at a hawker centre, and a packet of tissue – which many Singaporeans do to “chope” tables!

Merging all the elements together, this is my final artwork for the letter “M”.


To show batik, I decided to use traditional mediums and do batik.
My initial plan was to put a combination of motifs into the letterform Z, but I thought it might look a little too similar to A.

Then while researching I found that the motif crane looks really similar to the letterform Z. Furthermore, crane is a motif that represents long life too. Which is really suitable for this scenario, due to the irony of long life, and the craft not having a long life.

So I drew the crane to look like a Z, and leaving some parts at the bottom un-finished – to show that the maker gave up due to it being hard, and having more details at the top.

And that’s my design process for each of the letters!

Till then,

GRAPHICFORM | hello! artist references

Image taken from
Tien-Min Liao
Handmade Type Typography
Published: March 14, 2012

This artist’s work is very creative. With the usage of her hands and fingers, she managed to create 26 alphabets, capital and non. It is a very interesting concept and unexpected that she was able to create so many.

Image taken from
Andreas Schiefer
Evolution of Type
Published: September 9, 2010

The concept of this artist is very interesting! He merge the concept of the birth of alphabets to biology, and it was a very interesting combination.
With the letter S, he incorporated a Spine into it, as it starts with the letter S too. Even the way he constructs makes the cut very realistic!

This really inspired me to do a letterform using other mediums apart from traditional and digital.

Image result for string art letters artists
Image taken from–anchor-string-art-string-art-letters.jpg

This was initially a reference for me to work on letterform ‘Z’, as I wanted to use strings to form a letter.

Image result for batik art
Image taken from–batik-pattern-batik-art.jpg


These kind of batik art is a reference I wanted to make for my letterform.

Image result for batik crane
Image taken from

Image result for peranakan art crane

These are some batik and Peranakan cranes.

Image result for flatlay illustration
Image taken from

For my hawker centre illustration, I wanted to have a flat lay style illustration, to show it from the top view of a table.

These are some of the researches and references I found online which are very helpful to my process.

Till then,


Create letterforms of our name using 4 occupations.
Lantern Painter
Hawker Centre Cleaner
Batik Fabric Maker

Thinking of which occupations to do, I came up with an idea of having occupations that are  under appreciated in Singapore. 

I started listing down the occupations that falls in the category:
1. Postman
2. Hawker Centre Cleaner
3. Domestic Worker
4. Construction Worker
5. Security Guard
6. Cleaners
7. Teachers

All these jobs are being under-appreciated, not only Singapore, but also other countries. As I start researching more into the jobs, I was thinking of having jobs that instead of being under-appreciated, they are more of dying trades in Singapore. 

Upon searching, there’s certain trades I found in Singapore that’s dying!
One is traditional lantern painter and there’s trades like Peranakan & Batik Maker. 

Image taken from

Post-man is a trade that’s dying, due to the advancement in technology. Snail mail used to be very useful, as they were forms of communication, heavily used in the past.

However, due to technology and to save the environment, mails are being used less frequently. Instead of using snail mails, e-mails are being used. With lesser snail mails needing to be delivered, there will a decreasing demand for post-mans. We will not need them to deliver mails.

Thus, I feel that post-man will be a very suitable occupation for my dying trades in Singapore concept.

Image result for lantern painter yeo hung teo
Image from

When I went to search on dying trades, I found out about Lantern Painting, which is halfway on extinction in Singapore.

There’s only one lantern painter left, and he’s Mr Yeo Hung Teo.
While searching on him, I found several websites where they interviewed him. One of the websites was
It was explained that he learnt lantern painting from his father, and proceeded on to add his personal touch. He paints up to 7 layers, to give it a consistent feel and look better when illuminated from inside.

Lantern painting is a very tedious and time-consuming trade, as the details on the lantern is very intricate. This is a major reason why painters are decreasing, and many are turning to printed, machine-made lanterns, instead of traditionally hand-painted.

Having a local context and being a dying trade of Singapore, this occupation fits very well in my concept.

Image result for hawker centre cleaner
Image taken from

As I was trying to think about trades in a local context, I thought about Hawkers, as Coffee Shops and Hawker Centres is very unique to Singapore. However, Hawkers aren’t a dying trade in Singapore as we love Hawker food!!! And I realised, there’s Hawker Centre Cleaners! 

To me, it feels that they are a dying trade in Singapore, also due to technological advancement. There are robot cleaners in Hawker centres, and with the increase of robot cleaners,  this poses as a threat for human cleaners, which will soon replace the robot cleaners.

Image result for hawker centre robot
Image taken from

Thus this is a very suitable occupation to add into one of the four occupations of dying trades.

Image result for peranakan art
Image taken from

When thinking of the last job, I was thinking of doing one regarding Singapore art culture, and I found trades like Rattan Weaving, seamstress, and Peranakan art.

I wanted to settle on Rattan Weaving initially, but it was too hard to find rattan 🙁
While researching, Peranakan craft attracted me. It’s a dying culture in Singapore as just like Lantern painting, it is tedious to make and much time and effort is needed to craft.
I wanted to focus on how hard and tedious the Peranakan craft is, by using a medium that is relevant.

I noticed that in batik making, the prints used was similar to Peranakan’s, with the usage of motifs and bright colours. Just like Peranakan, Batik is also a craft and trade that is dying in Singapore. Most batik fabrics are printed and machine made, due to the hard effort to make.

Thus, I feel that with the combination of several crafts and trades, it fits the dying trade very well.

Next, I will be talking about the process of my work!

Till then,