Singapore star Stephanie Priscilla draws the sexy, the cute and the punky

Indonesian illustrator Stephanie Priscilla is a time traveller of Japanese pop culture.

The Singapore-based star honours in her art 1980s Japanese music, 1990s anime, and modern manga masters of the likes of Asano Inio. You can even find Japanese cyberpunk in her portfolio, although it's more cyberpink if anything.

As such, we're obviously big fans of her at Digital Arts, and delighted to have our first ever interview with Stephanie, which you can enjoy with some of her more recent works.

When and how did you start your art career, and at what point did it take off?

I started my career as a professional artist right after college, around five years ago. I love to draw every day, even after work I still do.

I was quite constant at the beginning and I didn't grow that much. I think my biggest moment was a comic strip I did talking about relationship and insecurities. Then I did a Demon Girl print of a piece that I did for Vinne's DTIYS (Draw This In Your Style) challenge which has always been the best seller.

How would you describe your style and what inspires it?

I would say it's more in a retro anime vibe. My biggest style inspirations come from Satoshi Kon, Asano Inio, and Ai Yazawa.

To be honest I feel the happiest with my style right now. Finally I feel comfortable.

How do you juggle art as a recent mother, and does motherhood influence your art?

I must say it's so hard to juggle both, especially when she's older and needs the attention. I have a supporting husband so I feel quite blessed. We both work together to make it easier, too. Like, when I need to draw at night normally he will entertain our baby.

Your recent works keep that sexy and at times 'edgy' style, so it proves that artists can still keep their 'voice' even as a parent!

Yes, in my opinion art is a form of expression and why change yourself? I will teach my daughter that in this world, you might wanna see things from a lot of different perspectives.

Something that is quite challenging in society might come from a certain background, so she should try to understand it better. We're all human after all.

Speaking of your recent work, you are perhaps well-known for your retro 'city pop' style, but I see more of a sci-fi, cyberpunk edge in your latest illos. Are you a 'time traveller' of Japanese pop culture?

Yes, I always love to explore different themes in a work although the feel of the work still gives more retro vibes in every one of them.

I love cyberpunk themes too like, being an android where you kinda have both worlds? But I still love to create a 'daily life' environment art too.|

Sometimes it's a hint of my past and how it felt like before. A nostalgic feeling because you are only young once and it was the best time I ever felt, so I love to embrace the happy and painful moments I had.

We recently covered a viral Singapore news survey which said artists are 'non-essential.' How do you feel as an illustrator in Singapore: valued or undervalued? What's the art scene like there?

I was a bit shocked with the news. I mean, being an artist myself, Singapore values artists and always supports a lot of artist events. That's why I was quite shocked with the news.

There's a lot of artist communities here, too. I worked in a motion graphics company for four years before I established myself as a freelancer, and I must say artists in general are quite underpaid compared to other jobs. But we studied the same amount of years as any other job. 

I think they should not post that article online because every job matters I feel in providing certain needs in life. Think about it: there won't be entertainment if there's no artists around the world, and the world will be just plain with no designs.

What tools, traditional and digital, do you use for your work?

I use Photoshop and an Intuous tablet. I hardly do traditional art nowadays, but sometimes I do during Inktober.

How are you coping with coronavirus, and what are your plans for the rest of this strange 2020?

It's been alright for me; I was not expecting a lot of people to buy my merchandise at this time but people do shop online a lot I guess.

I guess my plan is just to take it slow, reopening my online shop while taking care of my baby. I cannot really draw on a daily basis anymore but I always try my best to keep creating slowly.

Also, I was planning to visit my little brother in Sydney end of this year but I don't know anymore with the current situation!

Travel in time with Stephanie Priscilla on her Instagram.

Related: Colour in Japan with this daydream of a book by Denise Rashidi

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