Q&A with Travers Smith's CSR Art Programme artist Alvin Ong

Q&A with Travers Smith's CSR Art Programme artist Alvin Ong

Tell us a little about yourself

I’m currently based in London, but I was born in Singapore. Growing up in the suburbs there, which I found rather banal, drawing became a window into another world. I then did my BA at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford, followed by an MA at the RCA.

Music is a huge part of my life here. It’s a very visceral thing. In a similar way, because my process is so improvisational, music helps me connect the dots in my own work.

Tell us more about your work?

I don’t work with a blueprint. I prefer to allow the figures to be borne out of themselves; Parasitic at times, informed by design and accident, wrestling between a mark and an image.

I also don’t really dictate how my paintings should be read. As a painter I am often reminded that paint has a life of its own, and I am just the medium.

How did it feel to be selected to take part in this year's CSR Art Programme? How do you think being featured will help you in your emerging career?

It was a great surprise indeed! So, once again thank you! It's really exciting to see them up at the office, to see my canvases embarking on their own journeys outside the studio. I also feel that this programme adds something quite different to nurturing artists at these crucial junctures beyond art school, as opposed to a conventional gallery show.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m currently opening my solo at Yavuz Gallery during Singapore Art Week. Then in mid February, I will be showing with a group of UK-based Singaporeans in London. Concurrently, my gallery will be bringing my work to Art Fair Philippines and Art Basel Hong Kong. When I’m back in London I will work on an edition of prints to be shown at the RA in April, then a solo in London at Nunnery Gallery in October.


Alvin was one of our 2018-19 artists. Read about more of our Art Programme artists here.

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