Steve Lawler, also known by his moniker, Mojoko is a quirky, multi-faceted artist who has worked on quintessential projects such as Kult Magazine, which used to line the floors of Far East Shopping Centre. His visually arresting aesthetic takes cue from his obsessions from B-movies and trash cinema, all whilst pushing boundaries of the ‘underbelly of the Singapore art scene’.
This year, Mojoko will be helming an exclusive silk screen mashup booth for Affordable Art Fair which marks its 10th year of returning to Singapore’s shores with a fresh slew of works from 80 galleries and 600 artists.
Popspoken: How does a normal day of work look like for you?
Mojoko: Everyday is different. But I try to have a routine and carve out as much of the day as I can to actually do Creative work. I don’t think I have ever had a routine. It certainly keeps things fresh, but it makes it extremely hard to plan things in advance. I started a creative agency called The Unusual which is growing so that requires time and attention too.
Popspoken: How did you get into your current line of work?
Mojoko: I studied graphic design at university and became obsessed with visual culture.
Popspoken: What is the biggest challenge you face as a creative in Singapore?
Mojoko: Don’t particularly like to focus on the negative, but if I have to I would say there is a relatively small audience in terms of art and design, although the community has grown a lot over the years, it is still a very small percentage of the population. So there is a need to grow appreciation amongst newer audiences and this is the challenge. To make art interesting and appealing in a very saturated pop-culture landscape.
Popspoken: What is your biggest creative pet peeve?
Mojoko: When people refer to artists as artistes. It sounds like they are trying to be posh but its factually incorrect. Artistes is a term reserved for musicians, singers, actors etc.
Popspoken: Do you have any advice for aspiring creatives?
Mojoko: Research, research and do more research. Know your domain. Keep your eyes open, look for what’s not there, and don’t follow what’s already there. Be inspired but don’t imitate or recreate. Practice, practice practice and don’t be so quick to publish.
Popspoken: Favourite travel destination and why?
Mojoko: I would say new places, it doesn’t matter where, but repetition kills creativity. If you are smart you can extract inspiration from any place. It’s about reframing what you are seeing and appreciating that ‘new scenes trigger new thoughts’ which is the backbone of creativity.
Popspoken: What are you most proud of?
Mojoko: Having Bjork sing into one of my installations.
Popspoken: Is there anything you want to promote?
Mojoko: EYEYAH! It’s a fun magazine for kids, teaching them the big bad world explaining things like cookies, trolls, and chatrooms etc and doing it through interesting eye-catching visual language. It’s a finger wagging book that’s delivered in a fun approachable way.
Popspoken: What inspires you?
Mojoko: Normally I look to history, film and science fiction books. I look to the past through the lens of today.
Popspoken: Are there any blogs or books you would recommend?
Mojoko: So many good blogs and websites out there, but I will recommend a few books that let their mark on me: “A Smile in the Mind” by Beryl McAlbone and “Graphic Design as a Second Language” by Bob Gil.
Popspoken: How would you like to be remembered?
Mojoko: I want to have a pizza named after me. The MOJOKO pizza.
Creatives In The Lion City is a series hosted by Sheryl Teo on Popspoken. Read exclusive interviews with artisan souls in Singapore, as we get behind-the-scenes with the dreamers and doers in various artistic spheres and creative disciplines.