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Our ArtScience Museum as an aquarium for giant sharks? A monstrous hand emerging from an HDB? These are just some of the incredibly lifelike edits by visual maestro, Aundraj Jude. Photos: Aundraj Jude

Artist Behind The Art: International Bright Festival Gig Lights Up This Artist's Future

Today, Singapore. Tomorrow, the world.

This news is lit. Like, literally, lit, because the talented 30-year-old Aundraj Jude showcased his immersive art work at the recent international Bright Festival, held from 21 to 24 October in Leipzig, Germany.

Our man Aundraj was one of seven international digital artists who collaborated to redesign a room that took visitors on a spectacular journey through a parallel 3D world.

Too cheem to understand? Don't worry lah, just check out his work, and you'll see just how cool AF it all is. That's what visual art is all about, isn't it?

Meanwhile, we catch up with this Hougang resident to talk about expanding his horizons beyond his Northeast home and putting Singapore on the world map.

So... you centred your art work around the theme of "Vision" for Bright Festival. Walk us through your inspirations!

As an artist, I’ve always delivered a message in most of my works - I'm a storyteller at the end of the day. I felt that during this pandemic, our vision had been shifted left, right, and centre by the news, Telegram groups and social media. Visions were blurred for some, cleared for some, and even shut for some.

It taught me how important it is for people to be objective and to always dig deeper for information, but sometimes it’s impossible when the information we’re used to receiving can be skewed by the vision of others.

I wanted to show this in an immersive experience, and that’s why I went in this direction.

Tell us a bit about Bright Festival and how you came to be involved with it.

Bright Festival is actually a four-day, immersive art festival that is being held in Leipzig, Germany this year. With multiple rooms and events, it’s a one-of-a-kind festival celebrating immersive and digital art and performances.

I was actually chosen by New Media Art Group, an international digital art group, who put my work up in Miyashita Park, Tokyo, last year. They reached out and wanted me to be a part of their international artist roster for their collaboration with Bright Festival.

I immediately jumped at the opportunity because I’ve never had any kind of avenue to showcase my work on a level like a festival art show locally, and I knew this was gonna be an amazing experience.

Props to you for being recognised internationally, bro! What does it mean to you as a local creative, to get this kind of recognition and validation?

Thanks so much, man! Honestly I’m just very grateful and thankful. For a guy from Hougang, being able to know my work is being showcased overseas to crowds I can’t even bring myself to imagine, is something I never expected to happen. But deep down I know I still have quite a ways to go, so I got to keep grinding and moving forward.

What are some cool takeaways from being part of Bright Festival?

It’s my first time doing something immersive but it was an amazing challenge, and I feel I’ve added another skill set to my arsenal with this one. As I’ve said, I’m not an artist that does this style normally, but what I am is an artist who has a message.

And that was the direction I chose to take, to not only be different from the other artists selected but also stay true to myself as a creator.

My immersive art show will bring viewers into a space of jadedness brought about by the news of pandemic.

For many creatives, the pandemic has been a particularly challenging period. What are some of the obstacles you’ve faced - creatively, mentally, etc?

Mentally it has been the most challenging because not only did I have to think about the problems the pandemic would bring, I had also quit my full time editor position. I was thrown into this world of uncertainty and I questioned my decision for the first 3 weeks after I left, even wondering if I should just go and apply somewhere else.

But I didn’t and I eventually realised one of the most important things in the world is to learn how to clear the noise in my head. I took my time with it and threw all the expectations I had of myself out the window and worked on my art, taking it day by day.

Once my perspective shifted from, “what am I gonna be doing in 3 months?” to “what shall I create today?”, everything aligned and I could navigate my journey.

It’s really commendable you’ve managed to flourish during this tough period! Any secrets to your success?

I don’t know if there are any secrets? But I think it’s just always about balance -  finding that sweet space in your life and mind to focus and forget about all the noise that doesn’t matter.

And also addressing whatever issues I have with myself mentally, that’s what’s helped me the most whenever I’ve hit a wall. And honestly just taking it one day at a time.

This monstrous hand emerging from the side of an HDB flat was Aundraj's way of announcing that he'll be an official Insider for the upcoming Adobe MAX event this year.Photo: Aundraj Jude
Aundraj even got to reimagine 3 locations in Singapore in conjunction with World Tourism Day for Singapore Tourism Board. Can you guess where they are?Photos: Aundraj Jude

If possible, share-share some exciting collabs or plans you have for the future leh!

Sadly I can't do that but I have quite a few exciting collabs that will be coming up before the year ends - and I’m particularly excited about one specifically because it’s been a dream to work with this particular brand! You can see it once it goes live, and I’ll share it on my Instagram.

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