Peenut Kew Lee is obsessed with drawing lines. She loves them, broken, straight or crooked. Armed with a formal education in Multimedia where she majored in Audio & Video Production (cum Animation), she sold 6 years of her youth to several design and advertising agencies, doing graphics, illustrations and everything but AVP. Only to be convinced that she is not cut out to sit in front of computers. Today, Peenut juggles between holding paintbrushes and tattoo machines. Very confusing? At least it is not boring.
Currently a talented tattoo artist with Vagabond, Peenut has been actively showcasing her works at tocaMe bar. In the midst of her busy days inking, RAP speaks to her on the upcoming show, Emin Says… Meanwhile, check out her works here and her blog here and here.
Question(Q): “October Diaries”, what’s behind this series of work?
Peenut Kew Lee(Peenut): This series of work consists of 3 drawings that portray a diary entry each, and of a randomly chosen date in the month of October in 3 different years. 2008, 2009 and 2010. My objective is to tell the story of a girl’s love story which eventually took drastic turns in these 3 years. This reflects on every girl’s desire to love and be loved. I chose to pick on a girl’s courage to dream, pursue and fight, at the same time remembering she is very vulnerable. From hope, to pain and loss.
Q: You also exhibited during the indigNation6 show, mind sharing about that piece too? (Check out her work here.)
Peenut: The piece exhibited in indignation titled “hey dirty” is a colorful piece which reflects the gay and lesbian scene which is often seen as flamboyant. the painting shows 2 girls sharing an intimate time in a bath tub. The title describes 3 very different interpretations of the bath scene. 1 from the homophobic who would see the homosexuals as “dirty”. 2, a very literal interpretation of having a bath to clean off the dirt. And 3 from the homosexual’s point of view, taking a bath together is nothing unusual and definitely naughty (hence dirty). My main objective is to address how the mass public may look at the gays and lesbians, as well as the pride gays and lesbians take in their sexuality, because they are often more expressive and passionate.
Q: You have been working as a tattoo-artist for quite some time, how do you find the tattoo scene in Singapore?
Peenut: I have only started tattooing for 4 months, so I can’t comment much about the industry here since I know too little and still have much to learn. I guess the scene in Singapore is still pretty conservative as nobody with uncovered tattoos (especially girls) will escape without being stared at.
Q: Relating it to LGBT context, tattoo seems to be a ‘fashion’ for gay people, what do you think about it?
Peenut: There are certainly many lesbians who love and embrace the art. I’m not too sure about the gays though. Not the ones in Singapore at least, they don’t appear to like tattoos very much.
Q: Back to your artworks, the amazing mural piece in tocaMe bar is also done by you. It is such a complex mural, how did you go about doing that?
Peenut: The mural in toca me titled “erotica” is a semi abstract piece made of a mass orgy of sorts. The “join-the-dots” idea is contributed by Ron, who is also the marketing director of toca me. We both thought it would be an interesting design element for the piece. It was meant to be handpainted but due to time constraint, we could only print it into vinyl stickers to be put up in time for the opening of the bar.
Q: Any inputs on local LGBT art scene?
Peenut: I’m not really well informed of the LGBT art scene, not even the general art scene. But of course its great to showcase our own artists! And I’m proud to be a part of it.
Q: Any last words for the LGBT community?
Peenut: Take pride and do proud.
Emin Says … run from 2 November to 5 December at tocaMe bar. More on the show here.