Being an artist seemed like a luxury to Lucinda Law when she was growing up. And rightly so, as she was juggling between two day jobs and university.
When I decided to interview her, it took me a while to understand her extremely versatile background. She started her career as a music journalist and lifestyle writer, then moved on to edit and write for travel magazines.
She also has experience in teaching design, fashion and communication for almost 14 years. But how does she pool all this experience into what she does today?
“They all come from my core interests in music, reading, writing, teaching, arts and nature,” Lucinda tells me.
“I love this quote by Anne Dillard that says, “how we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives”. I’m led by what makes me happy, books and narratives seem to be the common denominators in everything that I’ve done.”
From An English Major To An Artist
Owing to the conditions in which she grew up, Lucinda never thought that she was going to make art for a living.
“I just knew that I had always enjoyed conjuring and making connections between different narratives and images, and solving what may seem like problems. So instead I studied my first love — books and literature,” she says.
It is because of this undying love for narratives and creative visualization that she decided to major in English Literature. Eventually, she became a writer and a travel editor, while also teaching.
However, Lucinda has always been interested in botany. She tells me that her very first influence was a book of botanical illustrations called Magic and Medicine of Plants. She was hardly 17 when she read it and decided to “become something” in the field of botany. On the other hand, she simply enjoyed painting.
Eventually, she decided to teach herself for three years.
“I’ve enjoyed myself so much while painting, I remembered thinking to myself then (which was almost a decade or more ago) that it’ll be really cool if I could paint orchids for a living one day.”
From Her First Exhibition and To A Posh Clientele
Today, Lucinda is a brand in herself.
She has more than 16, 900 followers on Instagram and a clientele consisting of the likes of Chanel, Blvgari, Uniqlo and Fullerton Hotel. She also does extensive commissioned work for independent clients and conducts exhibitions frequently at prestigious locations.
But, of course, all this did not happen overnight – it took a decade long struggle to reach here. Lucinda recalls her very first exhibition back in 2011, where she decided to pursue a career as a botanical illustration artist.
“It was a small show called One Perfect Complex held at Tri Space, Lasalle School of the Arts,” she says. She had just graduated from the Masters of Fine Arts course then and majored in installation art.
“From that exhibition, I knew I wanted to focus on my art practice while leaning towards the use of natural materials.”
Today, Lucinda is the first artist to be appointed as the Art & Graphic Ambassador for Faber-Castell Singapore and also the first whose artwork has featured on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore.
Hardships, Inspirations and Highlights
Evidently, the journey to success was not an easy one. When I ask Lucinda about the obstacles she has faced, she explains that the initial challenge was to figure out a work-life balance.
“It is still difficult to cope sometimes but I try living a holistic life,” she muses.
I am curious as to what is Lucinda’s personal favourite moment; after all, she has worked with big names.
“One of the most memorable experiences in my career is a commissioned work I did for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was an A3 size painting of an orchid, Dendrobium Sihamoni, named after the King of Cambodia,” she remembers fondly.
The ‘Light to Night Festival 2018: Art Skins on Monuments’ was yet another amazing experience for Lucinda.
A recent work that she believes to be another high point in her career so far was her collaboration with Changi International Airport. “My latest illustration and design campaign for Changi Airport Group for T1 Arrivals has been a real high for me.
I enjoyed the creative process of painting the key iconic botanical subjects found in the garden of the airport terminals, and translating them into the paintings, installations and wallpaper hoardings,” she says.
After dedicating so many years of her life to art and botany, Lucinda decided to give her work a name.
She founded Within – a nature-led creative studio that focuses on education and art/design commissions. The company was established in 2016 and in just two years, they have garnered a rich clientele of over 45 government and private bodies.
They also conduct frequent workshops and also offer courses at Within. Lucinda believes that painting is a great form of meditation.
“Our objective is to offer the experience of holistic art grounded in nature. People living in city experience greater need to be in nature and to cultivate hobbies in creative arts.”
“At Within, we teach and help cultivate a sense of mindfulness and a holistic art practice grounded in nature.”