Ingenuity and passion have long been crucial to human history. Our capacity for aspiration is proportionate to the raising of the bar—whether literal or proverbial. Singaporean visual artist Shavonne Wong is one such bar-raiser. Wong’s endeavours have led to an elevation of her chosen arena, and the resultant ripples of her work have firmly found a place in contemporary pop culture.
‘Ripples’ might be an imperfect descriptor of the legitimate waves Wong is responsible for. The fashion photographer-turned-3D artist has had work published in both the British and Singaporean editions of Vogue, and she has several sold-out NFTs to her name, some of which have reached the stratosphere of Hollywood. In January last year, Idris Elba purchased his first-ever NFTs from Wong’s collection. Both in real life and in the burgeoning alternate reality that is the metaverse, Wong’s impact has been positively sensational.
At its core, Wong’s overarching artistic pursuit is the making of distinctly outstanding images. Her career is a testament to a singular vision chiming in on a universal urge—capturing the beauty we see around us. The democratisation of photography in the form of our smartphones has meant that, in the modern era, we can create our own images with supreme ease.
Now, with the release of the vivo V27 5G smartphone, the latest flagship-level addition to the brand’s critically and commercially-celebrated V series, that global urge is about to meet its match. One of the most groundbreaking features of this new phone is its phenomenal Aura Light Portrait System, wherein studio-level soft lighting can be achieved by the Sony IMX766V Sensor—which uses an ultra-sensing camera to produce brighter and purer night images.
In hand, the phone feels exquisite. With its 3D curved screen, the vivo V27 5G is 7.4mm thick and weighs only 180 grams. This not only makes it more comfortable to hold, but also presents the user with a full-view display and a more immersive visual experience. What’s more, it packs all this arsenal in a 2.3mm one-piece narrow frame that is as chic as it is powerful. The colour of the phone—a stunning emerald green which turns a deeper jade under UV light—allows users to flaunt two stylish designs with just one phone.
Here, Wong offers an intimate glimpse into her art journey and shares how the V27 5G is a fantastic example of how next-level technology can be meaningfully incorporated into personal and creative pursuits.
From photography to 3D art and NFTs, your artistic world is now a decade strong. What has changed the most since you started?
I’d have to say that technology is the one thing that has changed the most and made the greatest impact. In the past decade alone, we’ve seen technology change at a truly unprecedented rate. In the Web3 space, especially, technology evolves in the span of days. It’s quite impressive to live through such incredible and exponential change.
You’ve spoken before about wanting to create your own world within photography. Have the dimensions of that world evolved?
Definitely. When I started, so much of what I wanted to create was limited by what was available in Singapore, such as sets and venues. That’s why I tried to shoot overseas as much as I could. But with 3D art, I found the ability to do things I couldn’t do in the real world. I could put models in space, or underwater—I didn’t have to worry about reality or physics. Venturing deeper into the digital world has given me a lot more freedom to explore and experiment.
Images have long been integral to visual culture but their prominence in culture at large has escalated so much over the last few years. Why do you think that is?
That’s a deep question. I’ve always been a visual person so visuals have never not been important to me. But for society as a whole, the place of images in the entertainment aspect of our lives has exploded in a big way—there’s no way that we’re not influenced by it, even if subconsciously. One reason for this is that the technology available for image-making has become so widely accessible. Back in the day, you needed equipment such as film or digital cameras. Now, the fact that we constantly like to capture memories is reflected in the ease with which we can do so, just from the comfort of our phones.
What does this democratisation of technology mean for your craft?
I’ve never believed that the tool comes first in image creating. But people need to know that smartphone cameras of today are better than the professional cameras that photographers were using a few decades ago. Yet, they were able to capture incredible images. Besides the tool, it’s about vision. Even when my practice evolved to 3D, it was just a change of medium for me. The visual eye that I’ve cultivated over the years is what matters.
What a camera is these days has been radically reconfigured. With the V27 5G in particular, you have cutting-edge technology meeting everyday demands in spectacular fashion. Which is the feature you enjoy the most?
I think the Aura Light Portrait System is a great feature and capability when it comes to the modern-day phenomenon of capturing memories with ease. With it, you not only capture memories easily but flatteringly too. We all have our individual preferences for everything, notably in how we choose to take a photograph and how we’re represented in photographs. The fact that the V27 5G has the technology and customisability options for users to experiment with is just great.
How does having superior technology in your smartphone make daily moments special?
With the world opening up more and more, I’m invited to more events and NFT conferences. With the V27 5G, I’m able to capture my presence at these significant moments in a way that makes me remember them as special. Besides that, as a creative, I take it on myself to be adaptable to new technologies and new techniques in any medium.
At the most fundamental level, how do you decide if a moment is image-worthy?
I think it’s very hard to put into words, simply because it’s so innate—you just feel it in your gut. I had a mentor, Geoff Ang, who really helped change how I perceive photography. He said that it was really important to find my style and how it ideally shouldn’t be over-thought. He said that if I just went online and saved images I liked without stressing about why, I’d see a recurring theme; I’d be led to what my heart is drawn to. So, when I take photos, my process is more of a gut-feel than anything else.
Find out more about the vivo V27 5G on vivo.com.
Photographer Sayher Heffernan
Associate Lifestyle Editor Chandreyee Ray
Stylist Jasmine Ashvinkumar
Hair and make-up Sha Shamsi using Keune Haircosmetics and Givenchy Beauty
Manicurist Ann Lim