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FIELDTESTED | FARISIA THANG, CALLIGRAPHER AND PHOTOGRAPHER

A photographer and calligrapher by choice, Farisia inspires people with her visual storytelling by making mundane beautiful. She’s also has multiple collaborations with us - the artist behind our Monday Quotes on Instagram, and the photographer for our latest edition #MonochromeKangura

You recently moved back to Singapore from the great country of Canada. What do you miss most, and what surprised you about coming home?

There’s a lot I miss about Vancouver, it’s a place that has grown to become my home. There, no matter where I was I could always see the mountains; on my way to class, through the kitchen window, at the beach. It’s the illusion of being so close to something so majestic that I miss most. Moving to Singapore was a difficult transition, it sounds strange but I was worried that I wouldn’t be inspired to photograph anything here. But I think sometimes I learn to love a place more after having seen it through my camera, and that change was true for me when I took a walk through Little India and saw rows and rows of colour. I found myself constantly taking photos, unable to take my eye away from the viewfinder; camera snapping, eyelids flapping. There is beauty here, and there is inspiration here.

You have a way of making the mundane beautiful. What influences your photography and aesthetic?

I read this book a couple years ago, in the first page there was a series taken by a photographer (whose name I can’t remember) who went around the street approaching strangers and took photos of them after telling them “you are beautiful”. I think about this a lot. I believe there’s beauty in authenticity and that’s how I want to approach my photography. At the heart of it all, I’m inspired by the process behind a picture: the thought that comes into someone’s mind before they capture a photo, and the story behind why that shot matters to them. I think photographs tell stories and my desire has always been to shoot with that in mind.

What motivated you to take up calligraphy, and how would you describe your individual penmanship style?

I started dabbling in calligraphy when I was visiting my family in Shanghai over Christmas. I was in a creative slump and wanted to feel inspired again, and so my way of doing that was to confront it head on and pick up a new skill. It took me a while to figure out what my individual style was, but I guess it’s something along the lines of casual and effortless, something like a more legible version of a doctor’s handwriting.

What guides you through life?

My hope in Jesus. In every point of my life where I feel like I can’t go on anymore, He is the light that leads me and the love that holds me close.

Tell us a story that showed you where you want to be in 5 years.

For as long as I can remember, my mom has always been a creative. She helped me with my art projects as a kid, came home with Chinese calligraphy brushes and rolls of canvas paper tucked in her bag, encouraged us to take sketching and painting classes. She worked as a model, took baking classes, opened up an antique shop, learned the basics of make up, worked at weddings, and is now a make up instructor. My mother has always been open to learning more and picking up a new creative skill. She doesn’t believe in limiting herself to just one thing and I’m realizing how important that is. I don’t really know where I want to be in 5 years, but if I am still creating, still learning, still finding awe in this process, then maybe that’s enough.

Ultimate travel essentials that you never leave home without?

My camera, journal, writing tools, lip balm, and some kind of snack. 

We are proud to have Farisia as a Fieldtester, a group of inspiring friends who regularly test MATTER products in their workplace and travels. Farisia wears The Sunday Overalls + Kangura Charcoal in Size 1.