The makers of Christmas gifts

The makers of Christmas gifts

The Christmas gifting season is upon us and with it, lists of top gift suggestions for mums, dads, husbands, wives, friends, colleagues and your Secret Santa recipient. But have you ever stopped to ponder how the artists behind the presents you thoughtfully picked out were inspired to create the gifts in the first place?

We caught up with three differently-abled artists – Sarah Wong, 20, Sean Bay, 23, and Jonathan Cai, 15, to uncover the meaning behind the gifts they created for The Art Faculty, a retail platform that celebrates the artistic abilities of people with autism and related challenges. The artists earn royalties from the sale of their artworks and products.

What inspired you to create the artworks and gifts?

From left: Retro pocket book, Voyage, by Sarah Wong, scented candle inspired by kopi-o by Sean Bay and fabric canvas coaster set (Laksa) by Jonathan Cai.

Sarah Wong (SW): The Great Wave off Kanagawa by Japanese artist Hokusai.

Sean Bay (SB): The kopi-o design was inspired by my father’s favourite drink. He drinks kopi-o peng (iced black coffee) at least twice a day.

Jonathan Cai (JC): I was inspired by the look of the shop front.


What do you enjoy most about drawing?

SW: Sometimes, I find it calming, and I like experimenting with decorative details.

SB: Creating texture and colour tones.

JC: Being able to express the details of the picture and seeing the drawing completed.


What is the best gift you have ever received?

SW: The acknowledgement I received when my art was displayed at UOB in December 2016. (Wong’s work, Star Wanderer, was adapted by the United Overseas Bank as the design for their festive greetings in 2016, which included a wall wrap at the entrance of UOB Plaza in Raffles Place.)

SB: Probably the books about my favourite personalities, like former Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and former President S.R. Nathan. I like to read about them in my spare time.

JC: A second-hand custom gaming computer.


What are you looking forward to during this holiday season?

SW: Some time to relax before the next school semester.

SB: Taking a break from school, helping at Superhero Me, learning to play the piano, catching movies and taking a short holiday in Kuching to see orangutans.

(Superhero Me is a movement that uses the arts to empower children from less privileged backgrounds and special needs communities.)

JC: Going out with my friends for activities.


To buy these works of art and support The Art Faculty, go here.

We can’t wait to share more awesome content with you. This is going to be so much fun.

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