From Game Art to Healing Art: A Unique Artistic Transition
As a child, Wendy Mack was captivated by the art in video games, which sparked her journey into game art studies at 3dsense Media School. While not pursuing a game development career, she explores diverse artistic paths, revealing the versatility of an artist's journey.
When Wendy Mack was little, she watched her brothers play video games and found herself mesmerised by the art on the screen, getting drawn into their world of play even when she wasn't using the controller. This defining moment led her to pursue studies in game art at 3dsense Media School.
Although she didn't ultimately pursue a career in game development, Wendy has explored her art in different ways. In this article, she shares how an artist's path can take different and fruitful turns.
Hello Everyone! This is Wendy here. I am honoured to be invited to share my artistic journey, especially through my most recent project to inspire those that have found the courage to venture on exciting, off-beaten paths.
For those reading this, I just wanted to mention that my personal journey took a very unique turn, because I did not end up in the gaming industry after graduating from 3dsense Media School, Singapore.
Instead, I focused a lot more on personal work and produced art that was inspired by my dreams. This process also served as symbolic checkpoints in my evolving awareness of the world while bringing light and healing into my darkest of traumas.
One could say that my work transitioned from wanting to build a fictional world that I could escape into, to a more grounded expression of reality.
Introduction to Digital Art
I studied Art as a subject back in my GCE O' and A' level exams in Singapore. This was the period where I took every chance to learn how to observe and replicate everything I saw around me. I carried my sketchbook everywhere, and I observed and drew every single figure, lamp-post and stray animal on the street, to the best of my capabilities. I was exposed to a wide variety of traditional mediums (charcoal, watercolour, painting, inking, printmaking, etc.), though I’ve never dabbled into Digital Art.
Enrolling at 3dsense Media School at the age of 26 was a game-changer for me. It was at this stage that my instructors provided me with a solid foundation in understanding colour and lighting, human and animal anatomy, and design principles. This journey also involved my introduction to using a Wacom tablet and Photoshop for the very first time.
My studies were rigorous, and I observed several breakthroughs in my own capacity to compose, ideate, and stage the kinds of scenes and characters I wanted in my mind. My Rookies Submission in 2020 was a culmination of what I learned in this one year programme.
An Artist's Journey
As an individual, I already knew that being solely a technical expert in illustration would not fulfil me. I could not imagine spending the rest of my life in an office in front of a screen, churning out image after image to realise another Art Director’s vision. I needed my own project. Right after graduation from 3dsense Media School, I was still in the midst of deciding what my next step in my career would be, and a huge portion of my time (before jumping back into the corporate world) was spent exploring a personal, unexplainable attraction to wildflowers and weeds.
I loved how they grew over concrete walls, appreciated the passive strength that kept them alive in the bleakest situations, and even bore fruits and flowers in the most unexpected locations. I loved the fact that these plants carried a beauty that thrived in chaos. I didn’t know it back then, but I saw my own resilience in these plants that were frequently invisible and overlooked. I appreciated the life they brought even in the harshest conditions. Observing how they grew, collecting and archiving individual specimens that I could find in a private residence resulted in a personal discovery of 27 species of weeds that could be found in a 10ft plot garden.
I pressed these plants dry, made prints out of them, that eventually led to the surreal illustrations that I created in the darkness of the night; most of which were derived from my own dreams.
A lot of these illustrations began as very loose pencil sketches and were tidied up with digital inking techniques with a strong focus in shapes and linework. I wanted to break free from the regular character illustration/ absolute clean illustration I was trained to deliver back in 3D Sense, so I purposefully left my drawings raw and rather hand-made. That felt more authentic to me. The choice of leaving these sketches black and white was to clear out the distractions that covered the true message in the book. I wanted people to appreciate the duality that exists in reality, to look at how we’ve been filling up the void within. To understand that the void we experience today, is an accumulation of all the choices we have made since our childhood, and that it is always possible to heal from our past as long as we carry the courage to be honest with our true nature.
These prints led to illustrations, and finally led to several fragments of text which evolved into a book, titled The Curious Forager: A Study of Weeds. While it is semi autobiographical, I believe my work became a result of growing a conscious awareness of understanding my relationship with both myself and the world. I uncovered several fixations of my perception of reality, and unpacked it illustration by illustration.
Eventually this book resulted in a solo exhibition at SAINOUSPACE in 2021, and led to an artist residency with RAW Moves (a local contemporary dance company) where I expanded my body of work in the medium of film.
Moving forward today, I handle multiple lines of work. I am a project manager by day in a design firm, and an artist by night. This involves being a fine artist working traditionally and taking on client commissions while developing a personal series of work (that are more experimental or abstracted), and conduct private one-on-one tutoring for anyone interested in building a solid foundation in painting more expressively. This involves a combination of creating still life set-ups, researching for effective references, and a good understanding of colour & lighting.
With that, I’d like to end off with a note for anyone that has put his/her heart and soul into diving into Art professionally - you need to find out what this craft means for you, because the journey is tough. I am turning 30 this year, and I have lost track of the number of times I resisted the temptation of giving up this artist’s path completely. Yet, I am still here honing my craft, because the reason for why I create now is to connect with others deeply and more authentically through my work, and using every opportunity to have that conscious conversation for why we are even here to experience life on earth.
Understand that this path is yours to discover, so find the courage within to do what matters to you.
For more information on The Curious Forager Project, For more information on The Curious Forager Project and to reach out to Wendy visit the links below.