Culturepush Chats with Sheryo

Singaporean artist Sheryo likes to draw imperfect gnarly characters, particularly on large-scale murals. Around eighteen months ago, she decided to move to the States to pursue her love of painting walls. Since then, she has worked on various murals around New York, spent the last half of 2012 traveling and painting in different cities with her frequent collaborator The Yok and was named by Complex Magazine as one of the “Top 10 Street Artists to Watch in 2013”. We posed a few questions to her when she was back in town recently:

How did you get into street art?
I painted my first mural with a spray can 10 years ago, took a break in between and started painting a lot more again about 3 years ago. I really liked painting walls so I guess it was a natural progression for me.

What made you pick up your bags and move to US? How has living in New York inspired you as an artist? 
There were no walls in Singapore to paint so I left to go to Cambodia. It was like the wild east; I drew and painted a lot while I was there and had so many adventures, then I met The Yok on my travels and he suggested to move to NY. It had always been on my list of places to go so I packed my bags and here I am. But really, if not now, then when? You’ll never get anything done waiting around. NY is great, everyone’s motivated, there is a great vibe and a lot of energy to go out and do stuff.

Where do you get inspiration for your “imperfect gnarly characters”?
Travelling and meeting people, getting into trouble

You were busy painting murals around town during your trip back to Singapore. Where can we find them and can you tell us more about them?
There is a couple around town, 40 Hands cafe in Tiong Bahru, BroadcastHQ on Rowell Road, Butter factory in One Fullerton and Goodstuph studio on Maxwell Road. They’re based on different themes depending on the project but I had the free reign for the Goodstuph studio one so I decided to paint a Merlion hipster dude because they’re a rad local company!

If one of your creations could come to life, which would you like to be and why?
One’s too tough, I want everything I draw to come to life. If I have to pick one, it would be anything with crazy teeth. I like teeth.

You visited Dubai recently as a headlining artist for Tiger Translate. Apart from painting a massive wall inspired by the Middle East, you taught workshops to budding artists. How did you find the experience?
It was really fun. I like to share my stories. The artists were awesome and really receptive; they painted till late and did not want to leave but it was bedtime for me…

Can you tell us more about the Little Lotus Project that you were involved in where artists from around the world travelled to the Thai/Burma border to work with and inspire refugee and migrant children, who have fled from the instability of Burma? What did you learn from that trip?
The Little Lotus project was amazing, I am so glad it happened for me. I learnt so much on that trip, I felt like I took more than I gave the kids. We drew and painted murals with them. Some of us painted interactive murals for the kids with alphabets and numbers so they could have some lessons outside the classroom. It was really nice to see everyone respond really well to that mural. I would love to do all of this again and wouldn’t trade the experience for anything else.

To see more of Sheryo’s art, visit: http://www.sheryoart.com

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