We first spotlighted local artist Ashley Yeo two years ago in our inaugural Art & Design issue, so it was with great pleasure when we spotted her name recently among the 30 finalists for this year’s edition of the Loewe Craft Prize.
Plucked from more than 1,900 international submissions, Yeo’s entry, “Arbitrary Metrics II”, is a small (it measures 3.5cm x 3.5cm x 3.5cm) and delicate paper sculpture with an intricate, hand-cut floral motif of her own design.
Despite its petite size however, the soft-spoken Yeo, 27, says it took between five to six weeks from the conceptualisation stage to the finished product. While Yeo may describe the cutting of the lattice as “straightforward” (she uses a small scalpel blade), it’s pointedly time-consuming – this process alone took nearly three weeks to complete.
Most people would not have the patience for such an involved process but to Yeo, it is a panacea of sorts. “Ever since my school days, I’ve been very interested in the whole notion of slowness. I was looking into the aftermath… from the post-industrial era to where we are now, the post-Internet age as I see it. I feel that it’s all very overwhelming these days, always about instant gratification… so for me, the paper cutting is sort of a reflection towards that.”
Such ruminations on the state of society is perhaps to be expected – Yeo is known for her meditative drawings and paper sculptures that evoke a pensive, almost melancholic sensation. Professing a love for handcrafted traditions, she counts the likes of veteran Japanese director and animator Hayao Miyazaki (of Studio Ghibli fame) as her go-to sources of inspiration. Counter to intuition however, she finds art, as well as Internet and social media, to be rather sidetracking.
“I think art can be very distracting actually – but so is the Internet and social media, so to look at more classic works where they’re not so concerned with what’s happening right now… such as the hand-drawn animation of Studio Ghibli’s early works; that’s really important to me.”
Yeo’s paper sculpture, along with the other finalists of the Loewe Craft Prize 2018 will be on display at London’s Design Museum from May 4 to June 17 – the winner will be announced on May 3. Here’s wishing her all the best.
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