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Huili Lai

Huili Lai

Meet illustrator from Singapore, Huili Lai

GirlsclubAsia-Illustrator-Lai Huili

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a full time illustrator currently working in a animation, motion graphics, & visual effects studio based in Singapore, mainly working on illustration, concepts and storyboards. Sometimes I do a bit of freelance on the side. Colours are essential in my works, and I like to try out new things with the way I draw.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

It is a fast paced, densely populated urban island, and many things are convenient and accessible because Singapore has a small land mass. We have cheap and affordable food available at almost every corner, public transport is pretty smooth, the safety and security is one of the highest in the world, and there are no natural disasters to worry about. People are rather competitive and working hours can be quite long.

 

It is a fast paced, densely populated urban island, and many things are convenient and accessible because Singapore has a small land mass. We have cheap and affordable food available at almost every corner, public transport is pretty smooth, the safety and security is one of the highest in the world, and there are no natural disasters to worry about. People are rather competitive and working hours can be quite long.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

Best: Many things are a stone’s throw away: cheap and affordable food, public transport, malls, etc. It is generally safe to go out in the wee hours of the night.

 

Worst: Besides the hot and humid weather all year round, the standard of living is high. There is also a lack of minority representation, and the general society is still largely conservative. There are not many wide natural spaces available to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life in this concrete jungle. Most people live in apartment blocks that are densely packed, which can feel suffocating in the long run.

 

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Repressive, developing, challenging.

 

How did you start your career in art?

I loved to draw since I was a child, and only got to learn it formally after graduating from secondary school, where I got accepted into an animation course at a local polytechnic. Shortly after graduating with a Diploma in Animation, I started working as a full time illustrator at a local animation, motion graphics and visual effects studio. The studio was still new and pretty small, but I decided to take a chance which I am glad that I did, and am still working at the same studio. Over the years, I have honed my skills and learnt many things that I would not have in a school setting, which I am very grateful for.

 

Over the years, I have honed my skills and learnt many things that I would not have in a school setting, which I am very grateful for.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

I feel lucky that my parents were nonchalant with me pursuing a career in art and design, as most Asian parents would prefer their children to pursue a ‘real job’, like becoming a doctor, a lawyer or a teacher, as these jobs are stable with better salaries. My friends and coworkers have been very supportive of my work and career.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I would like to work on a lot more illustration focused work outside of my fulltime job, such as editorial, while also pushing for more creative freedom in mundane commercial projects. I am also currently trying to add in simple animations in my personal work whenever I have time.

 

I would like to work on a lot more illustration focused work outside of my fulltime job, such as editorial, while also pushing for more creative freedom in mundane commercial projects. I am also currently trying to add in simple animations in my personal work whenever I have time.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

I do not have any specific person that I want to collaborate with, but I am open to collaborating with any artists and see what we can create!

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in working as a creative?

Overcoming creative blocks and imposter syndrome. Especially in this pandemic, I have been taking much longer breaks from creating personal work after my full time job. The constant thought that I need to be productive every single day is stressful. I think it is okay to not feel inspired all the time, and to take a break to do nothing.

 

Resilient, independent, inspiring.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Resilient, independent, inspiring.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

There were not any local female creatives that I looked up to growing up, all the creatives that I had seen on TV, newspapers, and magazines had been male. But times have changed, a lot more female creatives are being recognised for their work and it is great to have a lot more female role models to look up to.

 

Do not limit yourself and your capabilities to whatever gender you are, create work that you love and are proud of showing to the world. Enjoy the process and do not be disheartened when the end product is not what you had in mind; never stop learning and experimenting with new things.

 

Do you have any advice for other women who are aspiring to work in your field?

Do not limit yourself and your capabilities to whatever gender you are, create work that you love and are proud of showing to the world. Enjoy the process and do not be disheartened when the end product is not what you had in mind; never stop learning and experimenting with new things.

 


What type of music do you like to listen to?

I listen to various genres, mainly indie pop, funk, psychedelic, synth-pop, jazz, classical. I like whatever that sounds good to me.

 

What’s your favorite local food spot?

It is mainly in central and south of Singapore, there is a lot of great food around there. Not exactly a food spot, but I enjoy getting coffee from Kurasu.

 

Gydient asks: How does art help you to live more mindfully?

It keeps me aware of current issues and trends in the world, and doing art allows me to convey what I think and feel about certain issues. It also helps me to focus more on what I care about most.

 

Dariya Kanti asks: Would you call yourself a rebel?

Not exactly one.

 

What question would you like us to ask the next artist?

If tomorrow is the end of the world, what would be the last piece of work you will create?

 

 

Photos courtesy of Huili Lai

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