The name PhuEk! or Phu! in short is a self-created lingo. Entirely imaginative and not based upon adherence to actuality. 3D art is his pursuit, especially in vinyl customizing. Phu!'s Phuturistic concept is a manifestation through his artistic form of thought and personalized treatment in which he exercises the habit of recycling. And it's with this Phuturistic niche, Phu!'s customed vinyls have been commissioned and showcased in various international exhibitions and shows worldwide.
Please introduce yourself
I'm Phu!, a toy customiser from Singapore. I received my formal education in Visual Communication at a local Art college for three years. Although I was also trained in other area such as painting, toy customising is my niche. And I have a day job as a Creative Director in a publishing firm.
Full interview after the jump...
How did you get started on toy customizing?
I'm always into 3-D stuff for its sense of visual and tangibility. Toy-custom is one of such. I personally see toy-custom as a form of sculpture. Though some people may detest this, I feel that we the customisers also do adhere to basic elements of art or design when embarking on our work; just like the sculptors. Basically I enjoy putting things of different elements together to form a
composition. These elements may contradict each other thus challenge my creativity. So when a friend passed a blank toy vinyl about three years ago, it kinda steered my interest further in pursuing toy customizing.
What materials and technique/s do you use?
I practice the habit of recycling. I use anything that I can lay my hands on for example scrap materials, broken mechanism, junks, etc. As the saying goes "One man's trash is another man's treasure". As for the technique, it's just like Maths; I add and I subtract.
What is the philosophy behind your work and what is the message you want portray?
Each creation is unique thus it engenders a sense of self worth. My message is "Do not be too complacent as complacency deters one from progression. And it's only through progression one discovers or re-discovers himself."
Who or what are your influences in life?
Marcel Duchamp, the originator of Found Art/Readymade Art. He basically chose selected found objects, sometimes modified them and then presented them as art.
How much time do you spend customizing a toy?
Usually a 3-inch takes me five days while 8-10 inch takes me two weeks. Again it all depends on the intricacy of the details. As such completion will take slightly longer.
How can we get hold of your work?
I do commissioned work regularly. Clients refer to my website for my portfolio and if they like what I do or think that I can do something they like, they'll get in touch. There are two types of clients basically; either they leave everything to me to work on or they have ideas/concepts that they want me to adhere to. Either way, it works well for me thus far. And I get to work on blanks or re-work on existing toys.
What is your ultimate goal out of doing this?
To produce my own toy line.
What will be your next level of your expression be?
To maintain a continuum exploration and possible collaboration/integration with other artists.
If you could do something else which has no relation at all with toy customizing, what will it be and why?
Teach Art, perhaps. Art cultivates self-expression, imagination and creativity which are essential in our current fast-paced, knowledge-based and information-saturated society. Hence we learn to subconsciously appreciate the aesthetic existence around us.