Keith Teo

South East Asia, Singapore (SGP)

Mediums: work primarily with oils as I want to be primarily a painter as an artist, however I do enjoy dry mediums like pencil and charcoal too.

Favorite Quote: “ You can’t show anyone anything he hasn’t seen already, on some level – any more than you can tell anyone anything he doesn't already know. It is the function of the artists to evoke the experience of surprised recognition: to show the viewer what he knows but does not know that he knows.” - Gottfried Helnwein

Favorite Book: What is Painting?: Representation and Modern Art Book by Julian Bell


keith teo portrait


I am currently pursuing a Diploma in Fine Arts from Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore. At the moment, I am in the process of exploring various painting styles and colours and other artistic media. Although portraiture is not going to be my main field of practice, I chose to paint portraits during my own free time. I am interested in portraiture because of the pictorial effects of faces and their psychological impact on the media-heavy contemporary society we live in.

Please tell us about your first experience creating.

History of Art, contemporary Art knowledge is an important and big issue for me, as I knew almost nothing about Art when I just started creating. Knowledge and constantly getting to know “what is Art” is a very big issue in conceptualizing works for me as an artist. I started by needing to know what is Art today, what can be considered as Art. I needed to know how art became what it is today so I started reading a lot.




What music do you like to have playing while creating art?

It really depends on my mood, mood of the day. How I am feeling when I do my work. If I’m feeling sad when I start creating, I’d play sad songs. If I feel a lot of anxiety about my career as an artist I’d play upbeat sub culture songs. It really depends on my mood at the time!


What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?

As a student and emerging as an artist, right now I’m pretty concerned at my identity as an artist. Self identity as an artist. How people always identify themselves in different contexts, going back to their family and its traditions, especially if they have a famous, well known family member, being compared. Or representing your country, when you go do a show overseas, race becomes focul identity. It falls back to “meanings” and “representation” two different things but often get mixed with perceptions in society. I question these necessary identities. I love how controversial ideas arouse people’s attention not just visually but in the mind. Getting people to double think, their ideas of things especially contemporary representations. With that I’m interested in symbolisms, using symbolic representations in my practice. I’m trying to convey a sense of deceptions which are happening without general people’s conscious awareness, I intend for my audience to feel curiosity after having a look at my works, and question their pre–conceived ideas of reality.




Tell us about your creative process

I’ve not done a project where it’s self proposal. I’ve been doing projects with an assigned brief. I start by brainstorming ideas about a project. E.g mindmapping in my sketchbook. It depends on how it goes from there, varies from themes I want to research and explore. And I have to decide how do I want to translate this project, in terms of media. Looking at what form or approach will convey the idea, the way I want it. If it’s a painting, usually I either do shoots or montage photos together, and sketch out my ideas. Then move on to small studies of paintings before heading on to the final canvas. And of course constant documentation of the whole process.


What things inspire you to create art?

Things I feel strongly about. Deception through media culture, commercial, mainstream culture blinding people. How they shape the way people think and do things; society. Blind faith is something I strongly question. Religious context always inspire me by the power they hold among humanity.


keith teo portraiture



Selected Group Exhibitions:
2014: Should We Look on The Other Side?, Praxis Space Gallery - Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore
Seni Mini, Mi Casa Su Casa Gallery - Alternative Art Space, Singapore

2013: FACES, Mi Casa Su Casa Gallery - Alternative Art Space, Singapore


Have you sold any of your artworks?

Nope, I have yet to sell any of my original art works. But I’m trying to get exposure as an emerging artist right now. Trying my best to showcase my works at wherever it can.


How do you promote your art on the internet?

I do have an Instagram account where I treat it pretty much like an Art blog. I have a website on Cargo Collective. And a facebook account where I post about my works too.





The broad ways contemporary artists approach their works and the methodology of creating and conceptualizing their works inspire me. I’m interested in the changes, the impact art works are able create today in human life. Contemporary art is very different from my preconceptions of it in the past. How art is always in a flux, never static. How art is not surface like a design, there’s so much more, it can be so much more. What and how art has always existed in human life from the start Neolithic times to now.


Please recommend another artist you admire

Alexa Meade. She is a female artist, an American artist best known for her portraits painted on the human body. Her approach to creating art speaks contemporary, stretches the notions of Art which inspires me. How she continues her practice from painting on human to environmental translation now is still amusing me.


If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?

Yeah, I would start engaging myself, my life with the Art world at an earlier stage


What plans do you have for the future of your art?

keith teoI have plans for it to be seen by an international audience. I want it to have an impact that I desire on humanity, of course not a big change but I want for it to question my audiences and get people to rethink their ideas of representations in contemporary life.


Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?

I am a emerging artist myself too. So I’m just trying to promote myself, be pro active in getting myself on platforms with audiences through my art? And looking at local competitions and aiming for Awards when I have a strong body of work to represent myself.


Keith Teo

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