(Click here for a full list of MaryAnn’s experience as an artist.)

MaryAnn Loo is a fine artist and illustrator from Singapore.

When she was 8 years old, she loved to draw and wanted to be an artist. However, she was encouraged instead to pursue something more practical, and hence forgot about her childhood dream. After attaining a BA in Psychology in 2006, MaryAnn explored her own self-expression as a TV/film/stage artiste, a set designer, and a songwriter. In 2008 she pursued another BA in Songwriting and Music Business at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. In her final semester, she enrolled in an “Introduction to Drawing” class, which rekindled her love for art and awakened the artist dream she had forgotten for 20 years.

For a year in Brooklyn, New York, MaryAnn struggled with several media to express her ideas through art. She was uncertain about herself as an artist, and returned to Singapore in June 2012 feeling extremely lost. Later that year, she enrolled in a life-coaching program that allowed her to reconnect to her creative side, and empowered her with confidence to express herself more authentically. With the support of a life coach, she organized and curated her first solo art exhibition within 2 months, which included creating 30 new paintings, and raising US$2,000 to cover the venue and reception costs. During this time, she was also interviewed on the local news and in a Reuters article. (To see event photos from her first solo exhibition, click here.)

Over her weeklong exhibition in February 2013, 17 paintings were sold, and she was also commissioned to illustrate a series of 3 children’s books. Since then she has sold over 100 paintings, illustrated 4 children’s books, painted 5 murals, and drawn over 100 portraits in her unique illustrative style. In 2015, MaryAnn was commissioned for the “Studio of Wonders” installation as part of the Noise Singapore Arts Festival. She also exhibited at the Daegu Art Fair in South Korea, where 3 of her paintings were sold. Recently, MaryAnn was one of the 3 artists who created designs for the 2016 Special Edition National Day EZ-Link cards.

MaryAnn is best known for her mixed media paintings and illustrations that depict the stories of penguins who can fly and have made their new homes in the clouds and in the sky. The sky is often a symbol of limitless possibilities, while the penguins, which are not creatures of flight in reality, represent dreams coming true and becoming the best version of yourself. This is what MaryAnn stands for as an artist – making her dreams a reality, living a life of passion, and uncovering freedom in creative self-expression. In the spirit of personal and artistic evolution, she has been actively exploring new concepts, ideas, styles and opportunities in her creative work.

And as a trained life coach, she also strives to inspire and empower others in their own journeys. Since 2014, she has led 2 groups of aspiring artists and art hobbyists to organize group exhibitions and showcase their artwork, hence manifesting their creative aspirations. She is also the founder of Creative Arts Exchange, a Meetup group intended for bringing creatives in Singapore together to live out their creative dreams, collaborate on projects and contribute to a vibrant local and international arts scene.

Check out what MaryAnn has been up to here.

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Artist Statement

“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” – Thomas Merton

Hello and thank you for viewing my artwork. I hope you learn something more about yourself, and I’d like to share with you a bit more about why I create and the stories behind the works.

I create because I have something I wish to express, and to be honest – I’m trying to discover what that really is for myself. I’ve always been artistic, dabbling in songwriting, dance, acting, and now art, and though I’m relatively proficient in each of the forms, I must say I haven’t quite found the message that I really want to share. So at the moment, my work has been a reflection of my artist journey so far, where I was discouraged from becoming an artist as a child, and how I managed to get back my childhood dream and turn it into reality. The penguins that live in the clouds and fly across the sky are a symbol of of endless possibilities and dreams coming true. Penguins also represent self-mastery and becoming one’s true self. This is what I truly stand for, as I continue to work on my own evolution as a human being and an artist.

One of my favorite artists at the moment is Coplu. I love the emotional expression in his work, and I find many similarities between his subjects and mine. I actually really like surrealism and Dali as well, and though I’m not a surrealist in the traditional sense, my art tends more to a dream-like and conceptual world than a realistic one.

In my artistic process, I like to use different media, simply because each one has its own strengths, and also naturally I tend to like having variety. In my canvas paintings, the backgrounds are in acrylic paint, while the penguins and objects are illustrated on watercolor paper, cut out and glued on to the surface, and varnished over when the work is complete. The collage effect symbolizes that they can belong anywhere, that in a similar fashion, we can also belong anywhere. Of course in the final product they are fixed on the canvas, but in the creating process, what I illustrate for one painting sometimes ends up on another instead. This process allows for versatility in enabling me to find the best means of conveying the story behind the works.

The more I work on my art and honing my techniques, the more I discover that being an artist is more than just making pictures that have a message. Being an artist is a life journey, and it’s something that spills over into all of my existence, and influences the way I view and interact with the world. Ultimately, a journey in art is also a journey of self-discovery, of getting connected to what is real and true and raw inside each one of us, and expressing it into a tangible form.

Love, MaryAnn

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