Tokyo-Cinderella-Dolls-EDMThe cast and crew of Tokyo Cinderella Dolls came to town at the start of the new year and here we are to take you through the best moments of the evening.

IMG_4967The exhibition launched to a private reception on 7 Jan and took off where the two dolls from Karin Shikata’s photographic journey in Tokyo “came to life”, re-enacted their time in Tokyo and gave a full theatrical performance, engaging both guests and staff!


With ex-performers of the Takarazuka Revue Studio and hair and make up stylist Misa Ujii

With ex-performers of the Takarazuka Revue Studio and hair and make up stylist Misa Ujii

Models Mirei Uchida, Yu Ranma and Japanese photographer Karin Shikata were all ex-performers at Takarazuka Revue, a 100 year old all-female musical theatre troupe in Japan.

Karin (with bouquet), with models, make up artist and guests

Karin (with bouquet), with models, make up artist and guests

And the night started off with a cocktail aperitif, Tokyo Breeze, specially concocted by a member of staff.

Tokyo Breeze. A cocktail made with Citizen Pop's Lemon & Thyme Fresh Fruit Soda and Vodka!

Tokyo Breeze. A cocktail made with Citizen Pop’s Lemon & Thyme Fresh Fruit Soda, triple sec & vodka

While we browsed around the exhibition, we discovered a photograph of the dolls eating Takoyaki! A very popular Japanese snack both in Japan and in Singapore.

Eating their way through in Tokyo with something fun and familiar - Takoyaki!


Chef Joseph and his team at SPRMRKT went along with the Japanese theme to create their own version of a Takoyaki out of fried risotto (otherwise known in Italy as arancini), worcestershire sauce and bonito flakes! This was featured with a Grilled Teriyaki Pork Bao with Coleslaw, Fried Chicken Wrap and Corn & Crab Chawanmushi.

Arancini with Worcestershire Sauce & Bonito Flakes; Grilled Teriyaki Pork Bao with Coleslaw; Fried Chicken Wrap

Arancini with Worcestershire Sauce & Bonito Flakes; Grilled Teriyaki Pork Bao with Coleslaw; Fried Chicken Wrap

Corn & Crab Chawanmushi

Corn & Crab Chawanmushi

Even the dolls couldn’t resist tucking into these! :)


Feeling a little bashful from getting caught by our camera for tucking into some food :)

Feeling a little bashful from getting caught by our camera :)

But the evening could not have been more entertaining with the guests who came, ate, drank, talked about Japan, food and art to a curated soundtrack of Japanese electronic house and pop music!


Gallery owner Stephanie Tham introducing a guest to the exhibition


Food quickly came and went!


Models with artist Karin

Models with artist Karin


Music Writer for JUICE


And some might say the real highlight of the evening was when one of the dolls started feeding our guests and shocked a few!


but all was good and guests started to play along :)


Another lucky guest getting fed which caused some excitement :)

Finally when the crowd subsided a little, we went to the back of the shop only to discover that Karin was shooting and working on her next exhibition of these dolls and their time spent in Singapore!

IMG_5018We can’t wait to see where her next exhibition of these dolls on the streets of Singapore will take her… though we hear it might be in London or Paris!


Some of our hardworking staff who wanted to let loose for a while and join in the fun :)

Some of our hardworking staff who wanted to let loose for a while and join in the fun :)

IMG_5044Big thanks to Galerie Steph for presenting another fun and remarkable exhibition with us!

With the beautiful and brainy Kamiliah of Galerie Steph! Photo courtesy of Karin Shikata

With the beautiful and brainy Kamiliah of Galerie Steph! Photo courtesy of Karin Shikata

All photographs are for sale and if you were wondering about the photo frames and where you could purchase these, they were all actually put together and lovingly handcrafted by the photographer, Karin, with original origami paper and is part of her artistic expression with these photographs. Here’s a quick glimpse of some of the designs from the show:

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Thank you to all who made it. We had a blast and we hope you did too. For those who missed it, do pop into the bistro to catch the wonderful photographic series of Tokyo Cinderella Dolls before it ends on 8 March.

Tokyo Cinderella Dolls at SPRMRKT, 2 McCallum Street. From 8 Jan - 8 Mar 2014

Photo credits and information on Tokyo Cinderella Dolls !

REIMAGINING featuring pop artist Philip Hemnell just ended yesterday and we thought of bringing back some of the good memories from the launch!

Make Up Artist Tinoq!

Our first guest at the show was a blast of pink which ironically brought Hemnell’s vibrant pieces to life! We couldn’t have adored this sweetheart more.

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Having some fun before more guests arrive.


Hemnell explaining technique & composition


Hemnell speaking about art

And while the private reception was in progress, we took a chance to wander around the shop and discovered mini artistic treasures which fitted right into the concept of SPRMRKT!


One of Hemnell’s most iconic pieces – The National Rice Cooker

The National rice cooker was one of Hemnell’s earliest and most iconic pieces which pretty much marked his departure from corporate finance into the world of art and creativity. The rice cooker is significant to Hemnell as it was the one object he only really cared about to bring with him when he went to London to start university. We’re stoked to finally see it at SPRMRKT with its multiple juxtapositions.

The fun didn’t end there when we got a chance to meet the super lovely owner of Galerie Steph For more updates from Galerie Steph, follow them on Facebook!


Stephanie of Galerie Steph with Ming of Two Rabbits Food Co.

Two Rabbits Smoky Chilli has been one of our more popular condiments and we couldn’t resist using it in one of our dishes while catering for the reception. We were really lucky to have one half of the brains behind Two Rabbits attend the show.

We catered a mix of sweet and savoury items and which we hope you enjoyed!


A White Sangria specially concocted for us by ex wine sommelier Zachary Tay!

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Assorted Crostini: Smoked Salmon & Sour Cream, Tuna Mayo & Egg Mayo

Two Rabbits Smoky Chilli Pulled Pork Cucumber Canape

Quinoa Canape

Fried Risotto Balls

Lemon Butter Cake Squares


In sum, it was a fun and engaging evening with a lot more guests who came then we managed to capture. Thank you to all who did make it. Thank you to Galerie Steph for making this a milestone in our calendar of shows and to affable artist Philip Hemnell for being such an inspiration and a hidden wunderkind.


Born in Ipoh, Malaysia, to an English father and Chinese mother, Philip Hemnell has always been about bridging seemingly opposite realms. Now based in Penang, this Eurasian artist continues to appropriate cartoon imagery from Western comics and Japanese manga, and melds mediums like painting, stenciling, photography and traditional printmaking into approachable yet arresting art pieces.

Philip’s solo exhibition, REIMAGINING, at SPRMRKT explores Singapore’s increasing diversity and openness. Having lived in Singapore for 18 years over two stints, he has observed the city’s cultural and social progression since the conservative 1980s. The exhibition celebrates the shifting attitudes with a tongue-in-cheek reimagining of 1940s and 1950s cartoon images with subject matters that old cartoonists would never have thought of. Co-presented with Galerie Steph, this exhibition marks a milestone in SPRMRKT’s calendar of exhibitions.


S: This exhibition marks a milestone in SPRMRKT’s archive of exhibitions because we’re featuring a corporate banker-turned-professional artist for the first time. What do you think of art displayed outside of the usual gallery setting?

I am all for showing art in all sorts of venues – showing art in only Museums and Galleries is far too limiting as it partly restricts the accessibility. I think art should be appreciated by people from all walks of life and showing art in a restaurant setting such as SPRMRKT increases the exposure of my art to people whom may not have necessarily seen it before. Some of my favourite art in the past was done on the streets of New York by fledgling artists that went on to become famous like Shepard Fairey and Faile.

S: At REIMAGINING, we’re quickly reminded of the famous American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein but upon second glance, this series contextually portrays a more striking image. Was this double take done on purpose?

Roy Lichtenstein has always been a strong inspiration in my work. Like many people I looked at his art work and thought that I could do that. In reality when I started to mimic his art on a large scale I realized how incredibly difficult it was to reproduce his consistent colors. Also I did not understand the thought process that went behind his work until I saw an incredibly show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York called “High and Low” which delved into the background of Pop artists and their appropriation of every day objects and other sources of material such as advertising and comics. This exhibition argued the validity of the genre as a legitimate seriously thought out art form.

High Low MOMA

I could see why old comics were such a rich source material for Lichtenstein’s work , but I felt they were consistently sexist in their covers. There was always a dominant man and a subservient woman. I thought that removing one of the  characters and replacing them with one of the opposite sex would be an interesting subject. So I stated taking out the dominant man and replacing him with a dominant woman and this continued to the many other combinations in my paintings . My paintings still embrace the naivety of the 1940’s comic books in terms of style and that’s why when people look at them initially they do not necessarily realize what I have done in terms of gender switching.


S: Tell us more about your sources of inspiration for this series.

I am inspired by some many influences – I happen to live in Penang where I am surrounded by culture (Georgetown Festival) and other artists. But for me the single biggest inspiration or facilitator has been the internet. Comics both traditional western comics and Asian/Japanese Manga have always featured heavily in my art works. In the 1990’s when I was living and painting in NY I would have to buy whole comics or trade paper backs just to find one picture that I liked – for Manga I would even buy the production animation stills. That proved to be a very expensive proposition but now with the internet I can find source material from every part of the world in an instant  – so I can source comics for instance from Mexico to India. In fact there is too much source material out there so I tend to focus on trashy 1930-1950 US romantic comic books.

S: This year’s annual rally for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) group, Pink Dot, had the best turn out since it’s debut. Did you go? What effect do you think this will have for art and censorship in Singapore?

I was in Penang when it was held at Hong Lim Park this year – I am always heartened to see that each year it gets bigger and bigger and the turn out now includes many families and straight people too. My art does not specifically advocate an alternative lifestyle it is supposed to be visually interesting and entertaining.

I was always brought up in an environment that encouraged acceptance of alternative lifestyles – my tutor when I was 5 years old in Ipoh was openly gay, his partner was euphemistically called his house boy but even then I knew that this man was my tutor’s partner and my parents had absolutely no problem with his life choices as he was a great tutor. I think official Singapore is becoming more tolerant as long as the change is gradual. The best we can hope for is incremental reform. I had the pleasure of meeting Ivan Heng and Tony Trickett this year in Penang just after their wedding in London – the fact that the wedding was reported in all the newspapers in Singapore is the best indication that tolerance is on the rise.

S: Back to your development as a professional artist, how did you get from banking to art and how did you hone your artistic skills to get where you are today? What were some of the challenges you faced?

Art was always a major part of my life – I have been collecting art since my teenage years . My first paintings I acquired were always of life in Malaysia as they came with me to UK where I was at school and University as a reminder of home. I still have many of those original pictures but my collection has grown to over 500 pieces now and are much more diverse. In terms of actually creating art I always did so throughout my career but it really accelerated when I left Singapore to move to New York in 1989. Here I was exposed to not only the best Institutional art and galleries in the world but an amazing underground of graffiti art on the streets and in the clubs I used to frequent. Most importantly painting gave me a way to relax and de-stress from working in Wall Street. During the 1990’s I was doing art purely for my friends, clients and myself – I never sold a piece and never accepted a payment for any art work as they were always gifts. During this time I gave away over 150 pictures and paintings and my pictures are in collections from Los Angeles to Tokyo.

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My greatest challenge in creating art is my impatience. I have found over the years the longer I work on an art work the worse is the end result. My best art work is one that flows on the canvas quickly. To me there are three stages to my work – the act of creation of the picture in the digital realm, the physical transfer of the image to the canvas (my digital creations and paintings can be quite different) and then the final painting of the image. Now with my computer I can play with many different images and manipulate them digitally till I get the ones I want to actually paint. For Reimagining I created close to 50 compositions from which the 8 pictures for the show were derived

S: Do you think everyone has an intrinsic artistic side to their personality?

Absolutely I think that every person has a creative side to their personality – I think that many people choose to subdue it and claim not to be artistic. I have seen that many times in Art Jams where people come together to paint in a social environment – I have seem some pretty amazing art works emerge from these evenings. I hope people see my art and think “I can do that” and go out and actually do it.

S: You’re now residing in Penang where much attention has been placed on the eye-catching graffiti art on the walls off public sidewalks and in DRIVE, upcoming 4-month long public art project at the GIllman Baracks, we sneaked a preview of you creating art on walls with a “public weapon”. Do you think graffiti art is popular in Singapore for the wrong reasons?


One of the more famous Penang street art.

As a case study Penang Street art has been a magnet for tourists to the Georgetown Unesco Heritage district but there has been such a proliferation of art on walls that the Penang State Government has set up a committee to oversee the artistic merit of the existing art and future wall interventions. I can understand both sides as many landowners do not appreciate their pristine white walls covered in art but street art by its very nature is supposed to be spontaneous and a bit subversive.

The work I did for Drive is actually a precursor to their competition – I think of my mural as a trailer to encourage Singaporeans to submit proposals to Drive to paint on Gillman Barracks walls. I want to see all the murals being done by locals because I hope that this will encourage more Singaporeans to go to Gillman as it’s an amazing resource of Global Galleries.

10612790_736406086426780_8080765992528993201_nI think that graffiti art is popular here as Singapore is considered one of the best Graffiti Nations in the world as there are so many talented  young artists here. That’s part of the reason I do so many stencils on canvas because I can’t paint on the walls here (that is why I jumped at the chance to participate in Drive at Gillman Barracks) . In 2014 artists from Singapore participated in graffitti festivals from Mongolia to London – but the most amazing manifestation of the incredible local talent on offer in Singapore was the “Urban Is Me” takeover of Eminent Plaza. This building in Lavender is scheduled to be demolished but in a fit of amazing brilliance it was turned over to curators to showcase art and music. The graffiti that emerged from this show both on the outside and on the floor and walls of the whole building was world class.

S: What can we expect to see at DRIVE?

Existing art works by myself, Dawn Ng, Maryanto, Wong Lip Chin – I hope people will go down and have a look

S: Last but not least, Malaysia or Singapore’s char kway teow? :)

thumb_600I lived in Singapore in the 1980’s and there was a char kway teow seller in Jurong who cooked on a  charcoal fire bent over his wok – he was all ready in his 70’s in 1985 so I must presume he has passed away now. His was my all time “best I have ever had” char kway teow as he used lots of deep fried pork fat.

Now my favorite is my local woman in Tanjong Bungah who fries to my specifications – so without prawns and blood cockles. She fries over a charcoal fire and every time with extra chinese sausage and a ducks egg.

Thank you!

It was the first time we catered for an art exhibition in a car show room and it was a blast.

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Last night’s exhibition launch of “Soul Sisters” featuring Swedish artist Ingela Johansson and Balinese artist Ni Nyoman Sani at the Volvo Art Loft, had a pretty good turn out of friends and interested buyers.

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All food was wiped out by the end of the night and we were given positive reviews especially about the Chicken Satay with homemade peanut sauce! And what tickled was when we saw guests pinching fruit from the fruit display. We were totally psyched and continued to let them pick!

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We also had the pleasure of snapping a shot of the lovely Balinese artist, Sani who sportingly posed in front of our display :)

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It was a really unique time catering for an art exhibition within a car showroom and it was indeed a beautiful, gallery-like space. We’ll cheers with our housemade lemongrass & honey beverage that is well received both at SPRMRKT and at this event!

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Thank you dear Ingela for making this happen. Sani’s paintings and your mixed media works were contemporary and thought provoking. We wish the both of you lots of success and that your artworks find a good home! And to the guys at Volvo Art Loft, we hope to be back at your lovely space again soon!

Jaen Ching Ng, legal counselor by training, artist in spirit

Jaen Ching Ng. Legal counsel by profession, painter in spirit.


Jaen, who works as a legal counsel, read law in the UK, but her “first love” was art. In her artist statement, she describes her paintings as being “driven by my fascination with the anatomy of the human body.” She explores that very subject with a palette knife on all her paintings in the body of work being exhibited. “I cannot express myself, my emotions, my state of mind, any better than through the most powerful language we know – the body,” she said.

S: From as far as you can remember, what was your first drawing/painting about?

I reckon drawing and painting are innate to all of us. Before we could speak, images, shapes and colours were like the sole language we know! It started with simple scribble to sketching random designs then dabbling with colours when I was a child. Be it a pencil, colour pencils, magic colours or a pen, if paper was in sight too, you can be rest assured I will be creating something! As for learning, mostly is through trial and error and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. But it did get to a stage where I felt that some reference would be good and that was when I took to books (my mother was a huge fan of Reader’s Digest!). As I recall, my very first few were flowers. I was drawn by the sheer variety of it and you can almost create a certain form and no one would question its actual existence!

S:  Why didn’t you pursue an education in the arts?

I certainty thought about it and was very passionate about studying arts. But a very wise man advised me that I should seriously consider what is best for me, taking into consideration my surroundings including things that are not within my control, like the economy. He advised that I should pick a career that can withstand recessions, that is always needed no matter the state of the economy. He proceeded to provide 2 examples – a lawyer or an accountant. Law school it was!   This man, this very wise man is non-other than my father.

S: Under a legal profession, you do get to meet a lot of people, hear their stories and must have some interest in reading. Tell us more about your style of painting in Body & Soul and where you got your inspiration from. Do books or people inspire you?

Body & Soul is all about freedom and imagination; merging reality and a touch of fantasy. Anything and everything around me inspires me. It could be as simple as noticing a unique feature on a stranger’s face to going blind and listen to my inner voice and let my imagination take over. Our subconscious is capable of absorbing so much from our surroundings without us knowing and it’s amazing to see how it can find its way into our conscious mind when we allow our conscious mind to wander and our hand to create.

S: We’re lucky to have seen some of your earlier works and they vary in style and concept. Could you tell us more about Mother & Child?


This piece was inspired by a casual conversation between my friends and I wherein the topic was about their children. Although I am not a mother myself, I could sense how proud they were of their children and how much joy their children have brought them. My inspiration then was to try and capture this emotion and paint it in a child-like manner. This piece was created prior to my discovery of palette knife painting.

S: Coming back to the exhibition at SPRMRKT, what is it about the human figure that intrigues you? Are these faces and figures of anyone in particular?

The endless stories that it can tell and the emotion that it can portray without having to say a word. I may be smiling but my eyes could be conveying a different message. I may be crying but it could be tears of joy. The lack of certainty where a smile doesn’t always represent happiness and tears doesn’t always signify sadness creates a grey area where interpretation is key and this space – this very space – is what intrigues me the most and drives me to capture it on canvas. The faces and figures that I have painted are all from imagination – materialisation from chance events and things that I have picked up along the way.

Artwork featured above are only two of the six works on exhibition. Please visit us on 2 McCallum Street, Singapore 069043 to see the complete show and commissioned piece. Call us at +65 6221 2105 for opening hours.

S: Do you paint from photos? If no, why not?

No I don’t. I’m not a fan of replication. The idea of painting in accordance to something does not appeal to me at all. The thought of knowing the end before I begin will strangle every bit of passion I have to paint. If the photo is of something interesting, I may choose to use that as a base but the end result will definitely not be a replication.

S: And what is it about women and their bodies in relationship to food did you have in mind when creating the commissioned project for SPRMRKT?

There is no lack of evidence (in social media especially) on how obsessive women (and some men) have become with their appearances. Although this is predominantly driven by weight loss agenda, we should also give attention to those who are fighting against it and reminding us – it is perfectly beautiful to be who you are. I wanted to capture both end of this spectrum in the commissioned project and this was how I came up with the painting.

WOMAN. BODY. FOOD. 56" x 24". A triptych of acrylic on canvas. S$1,000

WOMAN. BODY. FOOD. 56″ x 24″. A triptych of acrylic on canvas. S$1,000

S: Food has always been a significant part of our lives, especially here in Singapore. Whether it’s dinner at home, a weekend BBQ or a celebratory feast, we’re always talking about the latest food trends, hip cafes and celebrity restaurants. Does food or dining out mean different things to you as a lawyer and as an artist?

Not at all. My career is what I do whilst art is what I love. The latter is definitely the dominant me and it shines through in all the things that I do. A pop of creative touch can go a long way in making a good event great! Not to mention memorable!

S: What are your plans after this exhibition? Can we expect to see more work soon?

I will continue to paint and there’s no doubt about that. I certainly hope I will be able to hold more exhibitions in the near future and continue to share my work.

Thank you Jaen!

This exhibition features six contemporary artworks by legal counsel, Jaen Ching Ng. Jaen’s influences range from everyday life encounters to dreams and imagination. Her bold use of colour, expressive painterly strokes with heavy shadows bring to mind a lively artistic spirit waiting to emerge.

The Heart Feels What The Eyes Can't See

THE HEART FEELS WHAT THE EYES CAN’T SEE. 36″ x 40″, acrylic painting on canvas, S$950


Artist Statement

Rarity in ornamentation appeals to me. Anything and everything around me inspires me. What then translates onto the canvas is a mix of reality and a touch of fantasy. 

The fact that I am self-taught, I believe, has contributed significantly to my style of work. There is no muse, no boundaries, no rules. There can be shadow without light, there can be light without shadow. 

Freedom of expression is the key to my work and not being guided by reasoned deliberation which, in my mind, will strangle any imagination and creativity of one’s soul. 

This exhibition is driven by my fascination with the anatomy of the human body and to challenge myself to paint my emotion through it. I cannot express myself, my emotion, my state of mind any better than through the most powerful language we know – the body.

– Jaen Ching Ng

Body & Soul will open with a private reception on 31 July at 6pm. Dishes from SPRMRKT’s new Happy Hour Bar Menu will be served and a wine tasting session will be conducted by former Les Amis sommelier Zachary Tay.

Artworks are for sale and a portion of the proceeds will go to a non-profit organisation or charity.

31st July, 6pm – 8pm

1st Aug to 30th Sep 2014

Mon & Tue: 8am to 9pm
Wed to Fri: 8am to 11pm
Sat & Sun: 9am to 6pm

2 McCallum Street
Singapore 069043

Signing In

On top of all the food & drink, we had an amazing time catching up with the artist and getting to know you. Throw in the wonderful playlist by the fabulous crew from Poptrash, this was an event that’s going down memory lane for a very long time :) Catch the action right here!



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The exhibitee, Sharma, with one of her series “Childhood Dreams”.


IMG_1588lores IMG_1564lores IMG_1597lores IMG_1602lores IMG_1580lores IMG_1617loresWe got to meet the talented founders of Makers of Singapore! “An initiative that explores the avenue of craft locally, as well as to dig deeper into the stories of these Makers (people who produce their products in Singapore) and understand why they decided to stay in Singapore.” – Makers of Singapore


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Tyler from The Secret Mermaid introducing his cocktails.

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With the lovely DJ Christina of Poptrash. Her debut set!


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Founder, Ashe, of Poptrash grooving it for a pretty amazing turn out.




Guests trying out Popaganda’s fresh fruit popsicles :)




Trying out the Cheng Thng Jelly Shots !




Appreciating art throughout the event!




DJ Christina played a handsome range of music which got us moving from the front of the house to the back!




Relatives of the artist.



Capturing the colour, the art works and the life!





Artist, Sharma, with some of her relatives.




Thank you everyone for coming down and supporting the exhibitee, us and making the event worth more than a thousand words! And a big thank you to our collaborators and sponsors for making the event a success. The atmosphere would not have been the same without you guys on board x



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