A typography assignment using our names to illustrate on 4 occupations. I used JAMZ, my nickname, and illustrated the jobs: Post-man, Lantern Painter, Hawker Centre Cleaner & Batik Painter, to address the issue of dying trades & jobs in Singapore’s context.
A zine assignment on exploring a local neighbourhood, and presenting it in an abstract manner. The location I worked on was Ten Courts of Hell, an attraction at Haw Par Villa, and I created a zine to illustrate the punishments of Hell.
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.
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 :’)
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.
J – POST-MAN
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.
A – LANTERN PAINTER
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.
M – HAWKER CENTRE CLEANER
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”.
Z – BATIK FABRIC MAKER
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!
ABOUT THE PROJECT:
Create letterforms of our name using 4 occupations.
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:
2. Hawker Centre Cleaner
3. Domestic Worker
4. Construction Worker
5. Security Guard
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.
1. RESEARCH ON POST-MAN
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.
2. RESEARCH ON LANTERN PAINTER
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 https://mymindisrojak.blogspot.sg/2013/01/yeo-hung-teo-traditional-lantern-painter.html
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.
3. RESEARCH ON HAWKER CENTRE CLEANER
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.
Thus this is a very suitable occupation to add into one of the four occupations of dying trades.
4. RESEARCH ON BATIK FABRIC MAKER
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!