Artist Charles Fazzino sees Singapore in 3-D

Titled Celebrating The Enchanted Island Of Singapore, the $88,000 ‘pop-up’ work by Charles Fazzino has been sold. -- ST PHOTO: PAIGE LIM
Titled Celebrating The Enchanted Island Of Singapore, the $88,000 ‘pop-up’ work by Charles Fazzino has been sold. -- ST PHOTO: PAIGE LIM

American pop artist Charles Fazzino relied on a travel guide and fliers, among others, for his 3-D work of Singapore

Not many people can paint a picture of a place without having visited it at least once.

But American pop artist Charles Fazzino did just that with Singapore.

He has created a 3-D artwork featuring many of the country's iconic landmarks and symbols - all from the comfort of his art studio in his native New York.

He was finally here in Singapore for the first time last week to open his solo exhibition, The Colors Of Singapore: A 3-Dimensional (3-D) Artwork, at The Bruno Gallery in Tanglin Place.

The highlight, titled Celebrating The Enchanted Island Of Singapore, is a 1.45m by 1m "pop-up" map which includes sights such as the Merlion, Gardens by the Bay, a "No Gum Chewing" sign and the country's famous cocktail, the Singapore Sling.

On how he created the piece, Fazzino, 59, says: "The gallery gave me many materials such as a Lonely Planet guide on Singapore, maps, sketches on Singapore, books and fliers from the Singapore Tourism Board."

The work, priced at $88,000, has already been sold to a couple who are oil and gas consultants.

Smaller versions of this piece are available too. Featuring the same Singapore views, one version depicts the cityscape in the day and the other at night.

Apart from the Singapore works, other pieces featuring places such as Manhattan, Broadway and Paris are also on show. They are priced between $1,600 and $42,000.

Fazzino is known for his colourful 3-D artworks on major cities.

He first sketches out the scene and the drawing is placed in a printer which generates silkscreen prints.

These prints are then painted, cut, assembled and layered on top of one another by hand, before being embellished into the finished artwork.

The product is a textured surface with details that pop up at the viewer.

Over six months, a team of 50 helped him to create the Singapore work.

With his father an Italian show designer and mother a Finnish sculptor, Fazzino had been exposed to art since young.

At age 15, he displayed his first artwork - a sketch of New York City in pen and ink - at a show where his mother was exhibiting her pieces in New York. He began experimenting with 3-D pop art in 1981 and has stuck with the form ever since.

Has his perspective of Singapore changed now that he has seen the nation?

Fazzino admits that if he had a chance to start over, he would emphasise "the people and the food" of the country.

He says: "Singapore is made up of many ethnicities and I would like to bring that cultural part to my artwork, which maybe I haven't done."

The spread of sumptuous local specialities he has seen on his trip here has also impressed him.

He says: "I have yet to eat chilli crab and that's not in the artwork either."

paigelim@sph.com.sg