Spotted! Qixuan Lim

Qixuan Lim is a recent graduate from Nanyang Junior College, waiting to enter the NTU’s School of Art, Design, Media. “I am an aspiring illustrator who grew up on heavy dosages of Disney cartoons and Enid Blyton books,” she continues. “I also have a liking for rainy weather, animals and working with little children. I think young children can be so precocious these days, but they somewhat still have that sense of naivety and wide-eyed wonder that moves and inspires me. My love for creating alternative landscapes and painting little characters from imagination are spurned mainly from my love for fantasy stories and enchanting picture books. I have always been a slow reader and I still think words sometimes complicate matters. Up till now, I still jostle with little children in the libraries to get the prettiest picture book on the shelf.”

Qixuan’s paintings reveal an inner, almost private, landscape. They are not an avenue for escape, but rather an alternative reflection of reality. “I do not think my works should be categorized fully as fantasy despite their elements of wonder and somewhat fantastical subjects. They can sometimes show very real problems that exist in our societies and between people.”

Qixuan wants her paintings to tell a story or have a meaning, but she do not like the story to have a fixed interpretation. “My works tend to be narrative in a sense,” she continues, “but I prefer the stories not to come entirely from me. Sometimes I just throw something I painted to a friend and ask her what she sees in it. When you watch people trying to relate to the characters, seeing things from a different perspective, it helps you discover very amazing things about the human heart.”

Despite the childlike quality of naivety and innocence with all its swirls of dreamy pastel colours, Qixuan‘s works have a dark underlying concept of human loneliness. “I think the constant yearning for acceptance and purpose can be very powerful emotion, torturous yet beautiful at the same time. It shapes human character, thoughts, and the essence of life itself. Intangible things like human emotions are a challenge to capture, but once you manage to do it – when your viewers can somewhat connect to what you are trying to show, it is an immense achievement. The act of bridging one’s heart to one’s mind seems impossible, but I think it is one of the true secrets to happiness. And that is why we should never stop striving despite its difficulty. I try my best not to use human protagonists in my paintings, but I unconsciously just drift myself into it. I think the human heart can be so mysteriously beautiful due to the impossibility to fully understand it. I like my characters to have a rather whimsical and dreamy feel, but at the same time reveal deep, dark and complex personalities. They are reflections of people around me – people who dream all their lives for a day in the candy mountains or the enchanted forests of their dreams, but are constantly held back by their daily struggles and the complexities of reality. I think optimism during the most difficult times is the most beautiful thing of all. It is just like fighting the burdens of growing up, yet at the same time, fiercely protecting the inner child within you.”

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