#NoFilter Interview w/ SC artist: Nathaniel Ong

 
 Nathaniel posing in front of his masterpiece now seen over at a boutique tea house, Arteastiq, located at both Plaza Singapura and Mandarin Gallery. 

Nathaniel posing in front of his masterpiece now seen over at a boutique tea house, Arteastiq, located at both Plaza Singapura and Mandarin Gallery. 

We always felt that there is this common misconception that we hear from people we meet: Calligraphy is lettering and Lettering is calligraphy, but that is not always true. Calligraphy and Lettering may cross path in some projects, and during such times, we have members on our team who are able to share their opinions and give suggestions on how things should pan out. This is one of the reasons why we have our hand-lettering expert, Nathaniel (@nathanielong) on our team!  We hold open sessions and exhibitions to share how different these two disciplines are so do not forget to catch our #Change exhibition that is running from the 24th Feb - 7th March over at library@orchard ! Read on to find out more about Nathaniel and his works. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Similar to how a lot of people discovered their passions, I had a burn out from my day job a few years back. I started to slow down, meditated and explored Singapore and the various crafts available. One day, I stumbled into Copperplate, and that's how this journey started. After 2 years of practicing and attending various classes in calligraphy, I realized that we were not meant for each other, but that we could still remain friends. That's how I ended up with my true love - lettering - but still reunite with calligraphy once in a while, as friends. 

Is (or are) there any artist(s) that you admire, or may have influenced the work that you do today? 

Through the years, the artists that I follow have changed significantly. Some of the artists that I admire and who have influenced my work are Stefan Kunz (@stefankunz), Martina Flor (@martinaflor), Jessica Hische (@jessicahische) and Scotty Russell (@prspctv_cllctv). And, I'm glad to found creative souls who always support and inspire each other for the better in my crews: Scribblers Collective (@scribblerscollective), The Hungry Creatives (@thehungrycreatives) and Haus of Letterers (@hausofletterers).  

 Nathaniel recent inclination to chalkboard lettering has caused his Instagram feed to be donned in white lettering on black surfaces. It's absolutely stunning to see!

Nathaniel recent inclination to chalkboard lettering has caused his Instagram feed to be donned in white lettering on black surfaces. It's absolutely stunning to see!

Describe a typical practice session?

 Live Event:  Personalising on leather for Lancaster's event during Chinese New year 2018

Live Event:  Personalising on leather for Lancaster's event during Chinese New year 2018

Open Spotify and load a playlist of my jam of the day (which is as diverse as it can get) - it could be 90's hits, my go-to RnB songs, top 50, Mandarin heartbreak songs or even KPop. I open my black sketchbook to a blank page, think about my inspiration for the day, and start imagining the concept I want to draw in my mind. Sometimes, there's no inspiration, so I just commit pen to paper. As soon as I get the first few strokes in, I would have a better idea of the direction I want to take the piece to. It could be as short as 30 minutes or as long as 2 hours. Because I've been lettering (almost) every day for the past couple of years, some of the things start to come more naturally. 

 

What is the hardest aspect about learning lettering?

It's like signing up for a gym membership for your new year's resolution. The first week or 2 is the honeymoon period where things just seem so right and that you're meant for each other. As time passes by, you realize how difficult it is to keep up with each other and the novelty fades. This is the most difficult aspect of learning lettering. There are times when you really have to push yourself and create dedicated buckets of time to practice and show up. Drills and practice can be really mundane but they serve as the foundation for a great lettering piece. 

 

Tell us one (or a few) unknown fact about yourself

My childhood dream was to be an architect. I guess now I can say I drew a "HOUSE"

Find out more about Nathaniel and our team's works at library@Orchard or head over here to find out more about any upcoming mentorship programmes / workshops.sc.sg for upcoming calligraphy/lettering workshops!

 
Nichole Tin