Women and serpents feature heavily in Marina A’s work. Call it biblical, metaphorical, or anthropomorphic; it’s certainly astronomical in proportion. Her art’s bright, swarthy neons mix with the darker vacuums that shade the outer recesses of space, manifesting emotion onto the (digital) page. It’s trippy, and looks as though she pulled it straight out of a lucid dream.
A graduate from Nanyang Technological Institute’s School of Art, Marina has worked in creative direction for local bands, designing their album covers, and has hosted art labs with Apple. She has exhibited at several major venues, including the Art Science Museum, ION Orchard, Kult Gallery, and M Social Hotel Singapore. For Vogue, she breathed life into a cosmic goddess with hands cupped around the magazine’s signature orchid. Below, she discusses how the themes of growth and grace imbue her work.
What was your thought process when you started work on the art?
I had my mind set on creating a surreal, magical piece that could convey a story visually. It would also need to incorporate the existing signifiers of a purple orchid—qualities like strength, beauty, dignity. And it would have to all be intertwined with Vogue’s identity. I worked with these motifs, wanting the piece to give off a sense of control in calamity, and the process of growing and surviving with grace.
What signature elements have you incorporated into the artwork for Vogue Singapore?
I’ve used a couple of motifs like the cosmic serpent, a transformative figure that represents the power of nature and life itself. The triple moon sign: representing the Vogue orchid as a powerful goddess figure that is both independent and strong. Vase: a collection of one’s shifting identity throughout the process of growing up. The Sun: a burst of energy and strength, starbursting with new beginnings and hope.
How would you describe your artwork in three words?
Strong. Independent. Ever-growing.
What is one skill or habit that you have picked up during the pandemic?
I don’t think it is a skill, and not sure if it could pass off as a habit… I can’t find the best way to describe this, but I guess I’m starting to learn and understand more about myself. I’m slowly coming to terms with or amending the things that I don’t like about myself, be it spiritually, physically, my art, or my relationships with people.
What is one thing that you are thankful for, even in the midst of this global pandemic?
The health of my family and friends—but also more time with my family and to create art!
As the world opens up, what is one thing that you are most looking forward to?
Travelling outside of Singapore, just so I could visit my relatives and have adventures again.
Do you think art and creativity is essential today?
I’d have to say I am on the fence on this. It depends, I guess. I think it is essential to a certain extent in that it keeps society sane, and aids information—translating it for society’s digestion and making it look better, as in infographics. Furthermore, the world is shifting heavily towards digital media and more creative input is needed for visual storytelling and design-forward thinking. But also, those on the medical frontline are definitely more essential when it comes to saving a life during a pandemic. So I’d say we are all essential, in our respected field of expertise.