Who: Lolita Chiong, filmmaker and animator
Her aesthetic: “Nostalgia, 2000s, television, fuzzy, warm, chicken soup” may not make much sense on its own, but everything clicks when you hit Chiong’s Instagram account @lolita_chiong.
Spazzy fonts, adorable animal caricatures and the general lo-fi nature of ’90s cartoons ooze from her works, recalling the era’s animated classics such as The Rugrats. Others remind you of children’s educational shows from the time except that Chiong’s subverted them with a sly sense of humour, including a short toon in which a customer shops up a storm at the supermarket to make a jelly filled with bits of meat.
Outside of animation, Chiong’s beautiful watercolour illustrations bring to mind that of greats such as Quentin Blake. And while the TV shows of her childhood may have influenced her art, the 20-year-old is already playing a part in the childhoods of the next generation: her first animation job sees Chiong as the art director of a new local cartoon series, Small Small News, where ants serve as news anchors.
What got her started: “I’ve always watched all kinds of TV programmes – horse racing, cooking shows, documentaries, cartoons, news, basically everything – and had been drawing what I saw on screen since I was a kid until I landed in art school.”
On Singapore’s animation scene: “If more people invest in animation here, the scene will grow for sure… Right now we’ve very little IP and most animation is done for service work like corporate videos, government projects and other countries’ IP. It’s not special… A lot of people in the industry dream of leaving because there are such good cartoons and films being produced overseas. To change this, we need to see cartoons as film and entertainment.”