Interview by Visual Collaborative
September 2020 5 min read
Tenco Teh based in Singapore, is the vice president of the Asia Illustration Society (a non-profit), an Illustration art event organizer in Asia, and a graphic designer. As a feature in our Eta Carinae interview series, Tenco discusses her role in the region, her background, and a perspective on how she approaches projects and collaborations.
(VC) What are you streaming or listening to at the moment?
(Tenco) Soundtracks. I enjoyed music with inspiring, positive, and uplifting instrumental music from the game, animation, television program, or from the motion picture, especially those soundtracks from the game I played. Such as “Sky: Children of the Light”, “To The Moon” or “The Legend of Heroes”.
(VC) Outside of the professional and personal elements of design, who is Tenco Teh?
(Tenco) A planner, also a dreamer who is obsessed with history. She is adventurous, enjoys taking challenges, and gets involved with different kinds of activities. Enjoying watching Netflix, playing video games, and reading comics in her own free time. She could be the best listener and advisor to her friends. The most important thing, she might freak you out when she is in real danger. But she always keeps her promises when she makes a promise.
(VC) For people hearing about you and your work for the first time, how do you describe your role at Asia Illustration Society?
(Tenco) A content hunter, regardless of Singapore or any other country in Asia. Many illustrators earn their living by their artworks and wait for the right moment and opportunity to introduce their masterpieces. Their unique and individualized talent is like jewels that are waiting to be exploited by the right people. And my role will be the person hunting that talented artwork from different backgrounds and cultures. To create a platform to help and introduce their masterpiece to the whole world by utilizing my resources and networks.
Tenco Teh with members of Asia Illustration Society
It has never been an easy job to find, gather, and move forward with people that have one common interest. Even the internet has connected us with the world, but I still prefer physical meet-ups to demonstrate my sincerity
(VC) Everyone has a distinctive fingerprint with creation. What is your best method or preparation ritual of choice for what you consider your best work?
(Tenco) Work smart is my mantra; sincerity is my faith. There will be no partnership if sincerity never exists between the two parties. The key members of the Asia Illustration Society are from different Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Korea, Japan, China, and Hong Kong, etc with a headquarters based in Taiwan. It has never been an easy job to find, gather, and move forward with people that have one common interest. Even the internet has connected us with the world, but I still prefer physical meet-ups to demonstrate my sincerity to build sustainable relationships and partnerships with every artist. Moreover, my deep understanding of South East Asia countries’ culture and ability to converse in 6 different languages have possessed a strong advantage to me especially in the communication and negotiation process.
(VC) A perfect sustainable world does not exist, but if one did, what kind of inventions would you make mandatory starting with your community?
(Tenco) How do you define a perfect sustainable world? If there is a person who exists to claim that he created a perfect world, then it will be someone who appears to object and criticize the perfect world claimed by the former. The real perfection is far too great to be decided by mankind or God. The existence of mankind is to sharpen and perfect the world endlessly, in both spiritual and physical ways. Only if you are able to reach the real perfection in every aspect, then there will be nothing you can do to perfecting a perfect being.
(VC) How has Covid-19 and its social distancing realities factored into your work?
(Tenco) I do not see Covid-19 caused a big impact on my work, but it kept me more occupied in another way. Through social media channels, artworks had become a media in spreading information related to Covid-19. It made more people understand what is Covid-19 and how to prevent it. While everyone was exhausted with social distancing policies and forced to self-quarantine at home during the lockdown period, these artists were using their tools to create illustrations, to express their appreciation to the frontliners, and bringing entertainment to those who were forced to stay at home. The only impact I face with this Covid-19 pandemic is causing delays to the publications of Collection Art Book, exhibitions, and award ceremony. But we manage to have a small exhibition in Shanghai, China now.
(VC) Some mention different historical times as a period they admire for affluence or culture. If you can time-warp to any era to collaborate with its culture, what period would it be and why?
(Tenco) I will be choosing the Japan Heian Period. This Heian Period is a period of time in Japan where the locals believe where ghosts, monsters, and all evil beings had actually existed on earth, and eventually these fairy tales and legendary stories had turned into beliefs during that period. Many of the illustrations describing these evil beings painted by ancient artists and painters are still being reproduced by modern artists. I am wondering what “standard” used by these ancient painters to “visualized” these evil beings? Where do these evil beings come from? How were the fairy tales’ stories spread? Who started these? Were these monsters or evil beings some kind or mutants or species that were already extinct? If I am able to travel back to those times, maybe I will become one of the “monsters” in stories.
Photo courtesy of Tenco Teh
(VC) Tenco thanks very much for your time. Is there anything else you would like to share with our global audience?
(Tenco) This world runs into chaos because of this coronavirus issue. I found that many of us could not calm ourselves down to think and figure out what to do next to combat this issue. The Covid-19 pandemic revealed the ugliest aspect of humanity, the politicization of the issues. We have forgotten all humanity shares the same blood color and breathes the same air. I am not the all mighty God, neither I could change the current situation. I can only use my very small and little strength, to change the world with Illustrations!