In-studio Series: Art Residency at NPE

The In Studio Series is a collection of articles written during Nicola’s artist residency, by Shireen Marican – our Studio Assistant and new creative mind at Nicola Anthony studios.

On Tuesdays, Nicola and I are back together in the studio. We talk a little about our week and our plans for the studio; hers, on the creative side, and mine, supporting her on the administrative side. Then, we tune in to a Spotify playlist and get started on our to-dos. Outside our little studio space, industrial machines are chugging and rotating to their own tempo.

Our creative space is housed within the office of a publishing factory in the industrial part of Kallang that overlooks the river. Nicola’s residency at NPE Print brings us to this side of Singapore that is not frequently traversed, and even rarely frequented.

The sounds of nature and the still waters of the Kallang River contribute to a level of tranquility that surpasses the stress of personal deadlines, pending work and keeping pace with the social networking world. This scene is almost nostalgic until you are drawn back to reality with the clatter of iron-wheels, trucks moving in and out and the smell of industrial press.

Back in the studio, the natural daylight is exchanged for fluorescent spotlights. Here, Nicola’s corner becomes a repository for creative ideas as she prepares for her upcoming collaboration in January with Singaporean poet Marc Nair. My table sits beside hers, a lot more empty, with my usual workspace setup – a laptop and a flask of hot coffee, like every other administrator.

Processed with VSCO with a4 presetOur treasure trove

Works and works-in-progress line the tables and floors. With a space decorated with art, creative energy seems to run high.

Processed with VSCO with se2 preset

“Walls make the best canvas too, don’t they?”

img_0134Of dots, lines and squares

Occasionally, as we take a break, we get talking about more general things – heavy topics like politics, cultural policies, the art scene in Singapore or the UK or something as simple as the weather or food.


But, practicing your art and craft in the middle of whole different industry can be reflective. Perhaps, the artist becomes the ambassador and the work becomes a platform for inter-industrial exchange.


While the industrial machines clanged and chugged to a tempo, no one could imagine we were bobbing our heads and humming along to the rhythmic beats of songs from our little jukebox in the studio.

I look forward to this weekly activity; when work consists all the things you love doing, you barely notice time passing.


For more information about the NPE Art Residency, visit their page here. To know more about Nicola’s residency programme, click here.


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