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Turbulence: The Art of Storm Lion

For those looking to find something that’s (pardon the phrase) Uniquely Singapore, look no further than Storm Lion. Calling itself an “international transmedia entertainment company”, it launched “Turbulence: The Art of Storm Lion”, a compilation of artwork from the various creative minds in the company, to commemorate their first year.

The official book launch was held today at Kinokuniya’s main store, and was there to capture the excitement firsthand.

The two editors of the book, JY Yang and Melvin Yong hosted the event, with five of the eight in-house artists present in a panel to talk for a bit about the artwork featured in the publication.

The presentation began with Zid, who is also Art Director, who revealed his cover art for the comic-book adaptation of the upcoming first-person shooter Blacklight: Tango Down. Described as a cross between Black Hawk Down and 28 Days Later, the one-shot is expected to be out in July.

Zid also spoke quite a fair bit about his other works, Demi Kala and Inipati, which demonstrated how he tried to infuse his art with aspects of his own identity, including his leap of faith upon leaving Malaysia to be based in Singapore. In responding to one of the questions posed by the audience, Zid revealed some of his many influences, including Adam and Andy Kubert, and Joe Madureira, which brought a big smile to this Geek’s face.

Following the presentation were Numioh and Chris De Joya, both of whom humbly described their art as less cerebral than Zid’s.

Yet there is nothing truly simple about Numioh’s work, which evokes a startling collaboration between the organic and the mechanical – one that subtly creeps up and catches you unawares. This Geek particularly like the understated nature of Uproar in Heaven, which, with its blood red hues, presents a stark, jarring contrast to the usually bright caricature of Sun Wukong, the Monkey God that most of us are familiar with. Numioh also spoke a little about Mantis Warrior, which he said was created in the era of the videogame franchise Gears of War, when everyone had “extremely elaborate armour”.

Chris De Joya was also inspired by video-games, and one of his works, Desert Rose, was a direct extrapolation of his character in Fallout 3. He explained that part of the gameplay would be carrying loads of different clothing from loots and then selling them in the towns, and he took that to its extreme.

Of greater interest was a recent work, Kudeta, which was inspired by his childhood years in a restless Manila, which included the People Power Revolution marking the end of martial law. Chris’ work often depicts the contrast between the very human and the entirely grotesque, which makes for an interesting reflection about humanity in general.

The final artist to speak about his work was Mahendra, who revealed that he was the most junior of all Storm Lion’s in-house crew. Nonetheless, he was also unique in that he worked with 3D modelling, and his art tended to focus heavily on the mechanical – no surprise with his engineering background. Mahendra’s earnest, unassuming nature (that I personally find extremely appealing about the Indonesians I’ve encountered) came across even in his artwork, which featured dogfighting aircraft, extremely realistic mechs, and even a stylised cross between monster truck, racing car and Transformer that he called Yellow Downer.

All this while as his fellow artists were speaking, at the edge of the table, was Noah, who was demonstrating his skill on the Wacom Intuos2. He was so popular that this Geek never got a chance to actually stand behind him and catch his genius at work. Fortunately, the pages of Turbulence contain many of his unbelievably esoteric artwork, which both impress and inspire.

The rest of Turbulence not only includes art from guest artists from the region and beyond, but also has a showcase for some of the other Storm Lion staff including photography and art from designers Stacy Tan and Kristal Melson respectively. This Geek in particular was very intrigued by Stacy’s work and is glad to be able to see them in print.

Of course, credit and recognition must go to the man behind Storm Lion, founder and CEO Edmund Shern, who has done much to pave the way for creative minds in Singapore and the region to make a name for themselves on an international stage. Edmund Shern will hosting a 2-hour event “Creating Comics from Script to Print” as part of YFest and the Esplanade Presents: Bitesize series in August.

Storm Lion will be debuting Turbulence: The Art of Storm Lion on the international stage at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con and HereBeGeeks is looking forward to see them there.

Turbulence: The Art of Storm Lion retails for $31.99. There is also a deluxe edition of the book that comes with a hardcover slipcase and 8 exclusive wall-posters. You can find many more of the Storm Lion artists’ work online at their online gallery.

Peter Lin

His teenage years spent nursing a giant man-crush on Steve Rogers, the first Captain America, Peter naturally found himself drawn to many other heroes who depicted strong, manly qualities, including the honour-bound warrior Worf, first Klingon in Starfleet, and the muscular rock hard abs of The Thing.

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