“Expect The Unexpected,” was the reply Chiobu Collective got from Pepper when asked about what kind of art we could expect during the scheduled shoot day.
While the simple-but-complex-in-nature quote may appear as caption under someone’s latest Instagram post, it ironically summarises the unique relationship between Pepper and her daughter, Juno. If you were to ever meet
the pair on the streets, they exude a different spirit from the many others walking by them.
Pepper’s breezy, unassuming attitude towards the world of art had obviously impacted Juno in subtle ways that only show during precious moments of interaction between Mother and Daughter. Despite Juno’s young age, it
was apparent she could recognise and understand Pepper on a deeper, more personal level than anyone else her age.
After warming up towards the crew, Juno wasted no time by grabbing the tubes of paint laid on the table, and immediately got down to work. With words of encouragement from Pepper spurring on Juno’s motivation, her part of the job was done in no time.
As Pepper looked at the painting her daughter completed with a different set of lenses, Chiobu Collective took the opportunity to find out how Juno complements Pepper’s journey as an artist.
Q: What was your starting point as an artists?
A: I have always been passionate about painting but I think the realisation of my passion was when I sold my first art piece, an abstract diamond. While earning money felt good, the sense of satisfaction felt better.
Q: Is making art your full time career now? If not what do you do?
A: Making art has always been my full time career. But I am also a commercial producer, so I have been keeping a balance by allocating time in between projects to create art.
Q: Are your friends and family supportive of your artist career?
A: Yes, definitely! They have always been giving me lots of support by attending and promoting my exhibitions. I have also been sharing my work progress with them and they have been very positive and encouraging throughout this journey.
Q: Do you face any emotional challenges as an artist?
A: As an artist, to feel for your own art, you have to step out of your comfort zone in order to feel more and sometimes it can be overwhelming as we still have to keep a balance of being in and out of the zone.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you have ever faced?
A: I guess it’s the fine line between art as a form of expression versus commissioned art where customers want you to paint a certain way. As they want you to be you, yet not you.
Q: Are there any other challenges you face while pursuing your passion in art?
A: Yes, of course. Many people think that creating art is easy and they often expect it for free, which makes it tougher for art scene to thrive in Singapore.
Q: Could you tell Chiobu Collective more about Juno’s personality and character?
A: Basically, Juno is a very cheerful girl. She is a bubbly, funny and sociable girl.
Q: How often does Juno help with your artistic pursuits?
A: We don’t have a routine, but she helps me as and when. Unfortunately, she has been rather busy in recent times because of school work and commitments, but we still try to do creative things during the weekends.
Q: What kind of creative works do you involve Juno in during your weekends?
A: Basically Juno’s more interested in textures and materials she can feel with her hands. So I often buy materials like for example glue, eye drop, corn flour etc when she wants to experiment making slime, amongst ‘science’ art.
Q: Do you see Juno being inclined to do art like you?
A: She may like it for awhile now, but she may stop and she may return, I do not have any expectations on her because it’s up to her and our passions may change from time to time.
Q: Do you hope to see Juno follow your footstep to be an artists?
A: I do not have any expectations nor will I object if she follows my footsteps. I just hope that she will be happy and passionate about what she does in the future.
Q: How do you keep a balance of caring for Juno and being inspired to produce different art pieces at the same time? Are there times Juno is your strength and inspiration to keep pursuing art?
A: My mom have been helping me a lot by caring for juno on daytoday basis so I have enough time to keep my creative juice flowing. Juno has always been my strength and inspiration and sometimes the art pieces are
messages I want to leave for her and she will be able to look at it and understand it.
Q: How do you think Chiobu Collective can provide leverage and support for local artists?
A: I feel that any kind of showcase of local art is good, as it gives exposure to artists and art is all about reaching
out and touching people.