5 Questions With… Brenda Tan, Designer, Maker & Owner, WhereBilly

5 Questions With… is an initiative to feature local entrepreneurs and give you a glimpse into their daily lives – how they live, work, and play. This week, we speak to Brenda Tan, the Designer, Maker and Owner at WhereBilly.

WhereBilly pieces are often described as ‘strangely beautiful’ that feature intricate designs. Every piece is a meticulously handcrafted with polymer clay and put together in her home studio. She does not recreate exact designs, so every piece of WhereBilly jewellery is a unique piece of art. WhereBilly’s limited-run collections are frequently sold out, and are highly sought after by fans.

5 Things That Are Always In Your Daily Routine

  • Checking my emails and messages in the morning the moment i am awake at 9
  • Getting my daughter ready for the day and squeezing in a quick yoga sesh to start my day
  • Back to work handling administrative and or logistic matters
  • Working in between any spare time or my daughter’s nap time and also performing mum’s duties
  • Working through the night till 1am

4 Tools You Cannot Live Without

Dremel – I use this tool for all my drilling, sanding and buffing purposes. It saves me a lot of time!

Instagram – The platform I use to build my consumer base and also interact with my customers. it is also the platform i use to interact with the art community

Afterlight – My all time favourite to edit my product photos

WhatsApp – All sorts of communication!

3 Artists Who Had The Biggest Impact On You

Frida Kahlo is a great female artist that I really look up to. She was born in a time where women are not independent and strong minded but she is one of the few females at that time who studied medicine. She’s been through so much pain, hardship and bad luck while growing up and the fatal accident made her start painting while being bedridden. Despite all her sufferings from accidents to pregnancy loss, she did not lose her spark. She did not conform to what society expected a woman should look or behave. She is proud of who she is and has been living true to herself. The weird and quirk in her artwork resonates with me a lot. They are deep and it shows her thoughts and what she’s been through in her life.

Gemma Capdevila is a contemporary illustrator based in Barcelona. I have a few of her original artwork hanging on the walls of my house. something about her work calls out to me. I first fell in love with her mermaid series and the use of the colours. When I look at her paintings, I feel calm and at peace. What strikes me the most was in 2017 where she illustrated a series relating to the Syrian refugees named, “OPEN THE DOORS”. I teared up when I saw her illustration because I was following the news so closely. I could feel the pain in her work and the messages she wants to tell the world. It still pains my heart today looking at that series and it made me realise everybody in this world has an equal right to be able to live in peace and harmony. Every living being is important and they matter.

Hayao Miyazaki is one of the greatest animator in the world. Each film in Miyazaki’s films hides a moral in the story that is teaching the audience about courage and perseverance that the character learns throughout the movie. They vary from courage, creativity, true strength, filial, friendship, never to give up, following your dreams etc. His animations are so popular around the world because it resonates with all his viewers on a deeper level through fantasy and imagination.These lessons are the kind that Miyazaki must have learned as he was progressing in his career. Miyazaki has worked really hard by going from one studio to another, honing his skills in order to become the great animator he has become today. To me, he is not only an animator, he is also an artist and a great writer. Some of his movies that i really love, “Spirited away, Ponyo, Castle in the Sky and the Wind Rises”

2 Individuals You Look Up To – And Why

Ellen DeGenres – After she came out as a lesbian, the media crushed her. But she overcame the criticism and focused on making the world a better place. She advocates in the LGBT community. She also focuses on animal rights and humanitarian efforts and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom award in 2016. Ellen DeGeneres teaches me the importance of staying true to myself and continuing doing the right thing. This is also my life motto to “Be Yourself”.

Walter Eilas Disney – His ceaseless hard work and unwavering belief in his dreams despite facing numerous obstacles and setbacks in his business. His failings and never give up spirit helped to make him a great visionary and businessman he became. He is also a self taught artist and suffered from dyslexia, nothing is going to stop or slow him down. He taught me to not only dream big, but hard work and persistence is also the key to great success.

1 Piece Of Advice For Budding Entrepreneurs

Trust your gut. Whether you think you can or cannot, you’re right. If you believe that you can, you’ll find ways through adversity. If you don’t, you’ll just find excuses.

Brenda Tan

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