Qixuan Lim

local creatives

Who: A Master’s degree student at the Netherlands’ Design Academy Eindhoven, where she specialises in information design (think design influenced by the Information Age), the 25-year-old’s shaking up the art scene with what she does part-time: creepy-cute sculptures of dead babies and various body organs that run along the fascinating, surrealistic vein of Tim Burton and Australian sculptor Sam Jinks. (Those aliens that look right out of a B-grade sci-fi flick in local crooner Charlie Lim’s Conspiracy video? She’s behind them.)

Time in Eindhoven: One year

How she’s making waves overseas: She describes her art as “lowbrow”, and her pursuit of it as a past-time, but that’s not stopped influential publications such as Vice and the American indie contemporary art magazine Hi-Fructose from singling her out as a creative to watch this year. Over 55K people already do as of press time via Instagram (@qimmyshimmy), a platform that’s no doubt made it easier for emerging talents with a uniquely twisted eye like hers to be celebrated. More recently, the artistic director of Eindhoven’s Temporary Art Centre invited her to stage her first solo show. Dubbed “Sweet Tooth”, the month-long event showcased her signature, painstakingly crafted works (a single tiny “head” takes hours) ironically as sweets and desserts that are “often associated with good memories”. Next came a group show at the gothic/surrealism-focused Last Rites Gallery in New York.

What’s next: Another group show in the Big Apple, as well as more in Porto and Milan are in the works. Her biggest priority though? “To graduate, so that by 2018, I will no longer be a student.”

local creatives
Untitled, Polymer Clay Sculpture by Netherlands-based artist Qixuan Lim

Cherries? Candy? Nope, more like a cluster of miniature, life-like infant heads. The 25-year-old started getting noticed by millennial cultural authorities such as Vice this year for her grotesque yet oddly cute art, laboriously crafted by hand from polymer clay. Of this specific work and her approach, she says: “In this time, when so many things are mass-produced, I feel the need for me to create my work with my own hands, and see the process from beginning to end.”

 Firdaos Pidau

local creatives

Who: The final year undergraduate at London College of Fashion’s prestigious, footwear-focused Cordwainers course, which counts Jimmy Choo, Nicholas Kirkwood and Charlotte Olympia as alumni. The last awarded the 27-year-old with a scholarship that included an internship in 2015 – and immediately catapulted him into the spotlight of Singapore’s fashion scene.

Time in London: Just over three years

How he’s making waves overseas: Don’t be surprised if your latest impulse Zara purchase is, in fact, Pidau’s work. Post scholarship with Charlotte Olympia (more on this later), he won a project with Zara’s parent company Inditex, leading to a six-month internship at the Spanish high street giant last year. A dozen of his designs, he says, made it to the retail floor, with some selling out within a day or spawning wait lists. Among them: floral print sock boots, and feminine, low-heeled slingbacks updated with high-gloss colourblocking, reflecting his keen eye, and playful-meets-sophisticated aesthetic. The latter was even featured in an international fashion magazine in Spain – the only high street design among others from luxury labels. “Being featured purely on the merits of design made me quite happy,” he says.

What’s next: He’s busy completing his graduate collection, but you don’t have to wait long to get your hands on his designs – the collection he worked on while interning at Charlotte Olympia drops in Spring/Summer 2018.

local creatives
Thank You, Collage by up-and-coming London-based shoe designer Firdaos Pidau

Giving thanks is the first thing that pops into the mind of this 27-year-old who, despite still being a final-year student at London College Of Fashion, has already created footwear for Spanish high street giant Zara. He created this abstract silhouette of a stiletto boot using strictly monochromatic images of hands clipped from magazines because “the idea of limitations and how it shapes the world is a constant theme throughout my work”. If you see elements of Maison Martin Margiela’s Tabi boots, it could be because he sees them “as the most iconic shoe design ever”. 

Ethel Hoon

local creatives

Who: A top graduate from Le Cordon Bleu, Paris, who previously trained under Les Amis’ Sebastien Lepinoy. She’s now the sous chef at the two Michelin-starred Nordic fine diner Faviken Magasinet in Jamtland County in northern Sweden.

Time in Jamtland County: Since mid-2015

How she’s making waves overseas: In an industry that’s still largely male-dominated, it takes chops to achieve what the 27-year-old has, rising from intern in 2015 to become the second-in-command at one of the world’s most highly regarded restaurants. (Faviken, which is known for being daring with local produce and seats just 16 diners, is where Noma founder Rene Redzepi would want to eat, according to Bon Appetit.) This year, Hoon fused the restaurant’s inimitable style with her knowledge of Singapore cuisine for the restaurant’s first pop-up in Are, Sweden. Running from late June to mid-September, the project dubbed “Hoon’s Chinese” saw her executing full control, and “cooking from memory of what (she) would eat at home… (and) how hawkers prepare dishes”.

What’s next: Could Hoon be our savant in the zero-waste food trend that’s steadily – and fittingly – taking over the globe? Intrinsic to Faviken, the ethos has also always been close to her heart and was deftly displayed at the pop-up where XO sauce, for example, was recreated using undersized scallops that would usually be discarded, and crustacean parts leftover from a salted egg yolk dish. Hoon says: “I’ve always grown up with the idea that food shouldn’t be wasted. At most fine-dining restaurants, a lot of food does go to waste, and that’s just a consequence of wanting to only serve the best ingredients or parts. In a way, I wanted Hoon’s Chinese to be the opposite of that: a restaurant that could absorb and utilise produce in a more meaningful way.”

local creatives
Hoon’s Chinese, Photograph Of Dishes by Sweden-based chef Ethel Hoon

The potpourri of dishes in this image by the 27-year-old sous chef at the fabled Faviken Magasinet is her interpretation of Singapore dishes given the highly inventive, hyper-local and heartfelt treatment the two Michelin-starred restaurant is known for. Think deep fried fish made with perch, a Swedish staple, and mutton dumplings made from the meat of a 12-year-old, free-grazing ewe from the county. 

Dilys Ng

local creatives

Who: Just 23 years old, the Brooklyn resident’s portfolio includes helping to set up Deck, the independent photography space here on Prinsep Street, co-founding and running independent literature/arts/photography annual Galavant as editor-in-chief, and – as of late 2015 – helping to spearhead the vivid, often viral, images in Time as associate photo editor.

Time in New York: Three and a half years (prior to Time, she was studying in the city’s School of Visual Arts)

How she’s making waves overseas: Overseeing the culture and entertainment pages, as well as occasional special package, Ng plays a key behind-the-scenes role at the magazine – from acquiring copyrights to a photograph or artwork to producing multiple large-scale photo shoots to assigning and art directing photographers. July’s can’t-be-missed, pop-hued Game of Thrones cover package lensed by the celebrated Miles Aldridge? Yup, she had a hand in it. The recently launched Firsts initiative, an expansive multimedia project that focuses on 46 female game-changers, including former FLOTUS and ex-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Oscar-nominated director Ava DuVernay, and the record-setting artist and photographer Cindy Sherman? That too.

What’s next: A joint art show in early 2018, though details remain unconfirmed at press time.

local creatives
Novak Woman, Mood Board by The  New York-based photo editor Dilys Ng

Fresh off Firsts – a project celebrating female game changers by Time magazine, where she works – the 23-year-old put together this assemblage of images by seminal photographers and artists (Irving Penn, Elizabeth Peyton, Alex Katz, to name a few); its seeming randomness meant to reflect her thought process before every shoot. “(The woman I want to recreate here) is enigmatic, like Charlize Theron in Atomic Blonde, with the occasional side of the martini-sipping Carrie Bradshaw,” she explains.

This story first appeared in Female’s December 2018 issue. 

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