Featured Prints Artist Interview with Artgerm

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Featured Prints Artist: Stanley Lau


Stanley Lau a.k.a. Artgerm is a busy child as an illustrator, designer, concept artist and art director. Born and bred in Hong Kong, he soaked up his creativity and interest in arts early on and trained his artistic skills and knowledge ever since in a never-ending process. Filled with creative juices to the top of his head, Stanley is active all day with various projects at his Imaginary Friends Studios designing art and concepts for computer and card games companies, animation houses or comic publishers. He is also founder of his own advertising & design agency and a t-shirt label, and when Stanley is not working on any of these, he can be found playing video games across many platforms or the occasional karaoke session. We are proud to feature Artgerm as our Prints Artist of the Month in a very interesting interview.


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Q Hey Stanley, we are glad to have you. For a start, please introduce yourself.

Hi everyone. I’m Stanley Lau, aka Artgerm in the art community. I was born and bred in Hong Kong, and migrated to Singapore 15 years ago when I was 17. My native language is Chinese and I speak Cantonese, Mandarin and English. I love games of all platforms (pc, ps2, psp, xbox, arcade), and I am currently playing DOTA and Ghost Recon III. My favorite games are Bubble Bobble and Katamari Detamacy. I also play basketball, tennis, and occasionally karaoke. I am a Christian.

Q What got your artistic journey started...

I've loved drawing since I was a kid. My mum used to buy me stacks of coloring books and sketch pads. I could spend the whole day drawing and coloring and soon, that became my favorite hobby during my childhood. My interest in art developed further in Primary and Secondary school days. I was known as the “drawing guy” in class. My text books (as well as my classmates’) were filled with doodles and flip book animations. That was fun! Gradually, I made a name among the classmates and teachers and was recommended to handle some publication designs for my school, as well as putting up my first personal art exhibition in the school library. That really got me started thinking about being an artist as a profession.

Like the rest of the Singaporean guys, I have to fulfill 2 years of National Service in the Army. In the 2 years, I was appointed as the lead designer for my camp to produce publicity materials like banners, T-shirts, wall murals, posters etc. It was fun and kept me in tune with who I am; at the same time, this earned me extra off days. After my NS days, I was even more determined to pursue Art & Design as my career. Although I faced resistance from my dad, I was able to convince him with my determination and confidence in success in this industry.

"My text books were filled with doodles and flip book animations. That was fun!"


Q ...and how did you obtain your education and skills?

    After NS days, I took up a diploma course in Visual Communication in a local polytechnic – Temasek Polytechnic. Honestly, the course did not help much in improving my technical skill. However, it built up my discipline in design and expanded my network with potential clients. Also, I got to know a bunch of good friends who also became my team mates upon graduation. Those 3 years in a design environment, with no distractions of boring subjects like Physics & Mathematics, helped me to focus on improving my design knowledge. Most importantly, I spent most of my free time in the school library reading up all kind of publications beside Design books. I believed and still believe that ideas come from everywhere.

In general, 80% of my design knowledge and skills are acquired through self-learning via books and Internet. I like to challenge norms and general perceptions, which help me to find out theories behind things. Being curious by nature, I question about everything. For example, I can spend time to check out every command in Photoshop, to find out its very function… Think about the exact color of a tree’s shadow under a clear sky compared to a stormy one, in different times of the day.
"For example, I can spend time to check out every command in Photoshop, to find out its very function…"

Q What sparkles your creative juices?

    Magazines, Mangas, Movies and Animation…. Most importantly, by being sensitive to things around me… To me, creativity is revisiting the old things with a new perceptive that people can relate to.

"To me, creativity is revisiting the old things with a new perceptive that people can relate to."


Q Do you have any experience in traditional arts?

I used to work with color pencils, chalk pastels, watercolors and acrylics (See question #2).
I love the feel of traditionally mediums as they are random and imperfect, which is hard to reproduce digitally.

Q What made you join deviantART and how was your experience with this site so far?

I knew about deviantART many years ago. I didn’t join as a member then as I didn’t see how I could benefit from DA. Fortunately 2 years ago, I brought in Kai (ukitakumuki) as my intern in my previous agency. He was an avid DA member and he aggressively encouraged me to put up something on DA and use it as an online portfolio. I submitted 30 pieces of my artwork one night and my journey with DA started then.

The experience is fun and rewarding. I managed to get in touch with artists from all levels internationally and get feedback of their perception of my art. On top of that, I’m motivated to keep my page alive with new artworks, despite of my insane busy schedule, which eventually kept my sanity. Also, DA became a good channel to source for suitable talents for my jobs after Imaginary Friends Studio was set up. (www.imaginaryfs.com)

"I managed to get in touch with artists from all levels internationally and get feedback of their perception of my art."


Q A lot of your pieces have that futuristic yet retro sci-fi style to them. What is the general fascination about mixing these two?

Honestly, I didn’t realize that at all. Guess it’s unintentional. Now that you mentioned, cool!

Q One of the most remarkable aspects of your dA gallery is the fairly popular Pepper Project. Please enlighten us, what's behind it?

Firstly, I will like to thank the people who like Pepper. Her popularity is out of my expectation.
Pepper Project is a self-initiated project as a mean to explore different illustration styles with a unified subject. It has no criteria, no restrictions, no rules and no deadline. Basically it is an on-going project for me to consistently push my limit in the area of digital art.

I like to challenge myself and to strive for consistent breakthroughs. I always want to do things differently and based on my personal preference. Unfortunately, commercial designs are often driven by clients' objectives and perspectives, which can be a little too boring, and I may risk building a comfort zone around me which may slow down my progress. Pepper Project fills this gap and provides me with a good channel to explore new things, to be a constant reminder to move out of my comfort zone, to be bold and adventurous…

"...to explore different illustration styles with a unified subject."


Q Name and tell us about up to 5 persons that greatly influenced you as an artist.

1) God – He, who created the heaven and earth, gave me the talent to create beautiful things.
2) Parents – They nurtured my artistic talents since young and were ever supportive & encouraging.
3) My Girl – Being the best fan & friend, always there to support me & to believe in me
4) Creator of Doraemon – The legendary comic of creativity since childhood
5) Position still available!

Q What is the range of services you have to offer?

Personally, I offer illustrations, concept art, character designs & digital imaging services.
With IFS, the above can be done in a much bigger scale.


Q What is the job of an Art Director like; what are your daily tasks?

Basically, my job is to oversee all artworks that are churned out by IFS team and to give inspiration and artistic directions to them. Occasionally, I will conduct workshop for the team to strengthen their art foundation.

Q Walk us through a typical busy day of yours.

Let’s take today as an example.

10am – Wake up
10.30am – Reach IFS @ 10.30am as my studio is 10mins walking distance away which was my intention. Hah...
10.30am to 1pm - Receive updates from Edmund (my studio manager). Edit the linearts of “King of Fighters” submitted by my artists. Work on the linearts of my chosen character of KOF (Lien Neville)
1pm to 1.10pm – 3 Rounds of KOF – Maximum Impact 2 with fellow colleagues.
1.10pm to 1.45pm – Eat & chill.
1.45pm to 2pm – 3 more rounds of KOF – Maximum Impact 2 … better digestion.
2pm to 3pm – Walk around the studio to check the progress of individual artists.
3pm to 3.05pm – Watch some video clips downloaded by Edmund. (A new PS3 controller!)
3.05pm to 4pm – Work on the 2nd piece of linearts of Lien.
4pm to 4.05pm – Watch another clip downloaded by Kendrick (kunkka)
4.05pm to 5.15pm – Work on the 3rd piece of linearts of Lien
5.15pm to 6.15pm – Touch up artworks submitted by my artists.
6.15pm to 7.30pm – First Game of DOTA.
7.30pm to 8.15pm – Dinner
8.15pm to 10pm – 2nd game of DOTA
10pm to 11.30pm – Did 20 pieces of quick sketches of KOF as references for my artists.
11.45pm – Home Sweet Home… and sweet time with my girlfriend.


Q In the words of deviantART, what are your tools of the trade?

A pair of aesthetic eyes, confident hands, accompanied with the knowledge of Photoshop and Painter.

Q Do you sometimes have creative blocks where it seems nothing would spring from your creative mind? If so, what do you do to try to get around them?

Yes…sometimes. A few rounds of King Of Fighters will usually get me around.


Q From which areas of the industry are your clients from?

Computer & card games companies, animation houses and comic publishers.

Q In your artistic career so far, would you like to share some highlights with us?

• Founder of Paprika – An advertising and design agency. (www.paprika.com.sg)
• Founder of Animal Square (www.animalsquare.com) - a T-shirt label
• Founder of IFS (www.imaginaryfs.com)
• Creator of Pepper!

Q Where do you see yourself in five years time?

5 years older! Probably married with a lovely wife. … with kids bugging me daily.
Still running IFS which by then will be fully matured and known internationally.
Ever so passionate about Art.
Getting ready to start a school to pass on my knowledge to the next generation of artists.


Q To come to an end, would you like to give our readers and aspiring artists any sort of message or advise?

Be curious. Do not settle for anything less. An elite artist is not someone who waits for things to happen but one who actively seeks for knowledge though every mean. Have an international vision, know where you stand internationally and what you can offer to the industry. Lastly and most importantly, never see Art as a subject or job. It’s a lifestyle we choose to live for.

"An elite artist is not someone who waits for things to happen but one who actively seeks for knowledge though every mean."

Interview conducted by MidnightExigent. Thank you Artgerm.


Previous Interviews

Marion Herrmann - Nykolai Aleksander - Anne-Julie Aubry
Justin Maller - Daniel Conway - Bobby Haynes - Tegan Coddington
Directors Cut - Dan Meyer - Bradley W Schenk - Jason Engle
Tom Wilcox -  Phillip Prescott - Stephanie Dodson - Rick Pirman
Joseph Arruda - Tobias Zeising - Nicholas Rougex - Lia Saile

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MalaFarron's avatar
Playing Dota in 2006? Wow, and i only started in 2009