Local artists and muralists Estella Ng & Liquan Liew of Ripple Root talk about not planning things, their unique creative process and the pros of working with your BFF
Y’all know we’re borderline obsessed with murals at Honeycombers. From our wall crawl and Kampong Glam mural run to our hang with Singapore muralist Yip Yew Chong and Hong Kong’s Alana Tsui, we love chasing artists for inspo and info. So when we bumped into the incredible artist-duo Estella Ng & Liquan Liew of Ripple Root’s at Found8 Cuppage, working on a mural at our new office space, it was kismat.
But first… we’re psyched about Ripple Root’s newest exhibit titled Raffles, Pineapples & The Swamp that will feature art pieces inspired by the Singapore Bicentennial and Batik patterns of Club 21 Issey Miyake and Dries Van Noten AW19 collections. Catch their paintings at Yang Gallery, Hilton Orchard from 8 August 2019.
“I’m Ripple & he’s Root”
Estella paints us a picture. “We were colleagues at a design firm in 2015. Before we were Ripple Root, we used to just hang out. And I always felt that we got each other rather naturally. On weekends we would painting together. After a while, we had enough paintings for show. And when we sold all our artworks from our first exhibition, it gave us the confidence to start Ripple Root.”
From bumping into these happy faces to interviewing them, it took no more than 10 minutes for us to set up and start rolling. And Estella & Liquan just went with the flow. “This is perfect. We’re not really planners. We seize the moment and don’t like to overthink,” they echoed off camera, giving this perpetually overthinking writer a reason to smile on a Monday morning.
Bound by nothing. Draw on everything
While their murals on popular streets and spaces are the most ‘out-there’ of their works, Ripple Root’s wild and carefree art isn’t restricted to just walls. “We do art and we don’t limit ourselves. Every medium or project we pick up influences our personal work. When you don’t limit yourself, you actually have more room to grow,” explains Estella. And grow they did – Ripple Root’s portfolio just as effortlessly dives into graphic design, branding, website design and of course, artworks. Bringing the best of both worlds – Estella with her fine art skills and Liquan’s design and visual communication acumen – their vision and artistic truth is not bound by the medium.
Young & Wild & Free
You can recognise an original Ripple Root style from a mile away – Forever moving, never static. Talking about their shared vision, they add “We’re always capturing the moment, while it’s still grounded in meaning. There’s always a message in our art. We love the naivety, the rawness and the colour in our work.” Artists, co-founders and BFFs, art and life for this twosome seems to bleed and blend into each other. “We’re evolving and growing together because of our shared experiences. We communicate with each other all the time and balance each other out – I’m the Ripple & he’s Root,” she adds.
Oh and broody colours have no room in this palette. “Daily life is gloomy as it is. When people look at our work, we want them to pause and look at something light and happy!” If you look closely at their art, you’ll find familiar Southeast Asian motifs and biodiversity depicted in their happiest states with signature Ripple Root brush strokes and colours.
We Don’t Fight
“There’s no ego. We don’t fight. There’s no me-me-me. It’s just us having a good time,” they unanimously declare. And from where I was standing, it shows. Their whimsical, carefree and bold mural that we now admire every day radiates the same positivity and delight like the artists themselves. They are but a gang of two passionate non-planners seizing life and its little beauties with a paintbrush in their hands.
They work fast. As we watch an empty wall morph into a vibrant piece of art over a couple of days, it’s impossible to tell where Estella’s brush strokes start and Liquan’s ends. They just ebb and flow into one.