MY BAG

Illustrator Sarah Mok's dark obsession

ST PHOTOS: YEO KAI WEN

Illustrator Sarah Mok believes one should not judge a book by its cover. The 22-year-old owner of lifestyle brand Sarah Thursday favours black clothing and drawing skulls and Japanese animal spirits.

"People think my work is very dark and Satanic," she says with a laugh, "but in actual fact, I'm a Christian."

The visual communications graduate from Temasek Polytechnic started her brand on Halloween in 2013, a few months after graduation. She picked the date as it was "easy to remember" and had "Thursday" in the name because that is her favourite day of the week.

Thursday is also known as mokuyobi, or Day of the Wood, to the Japanese, she adds. "I love wooden textures and nature so it links."

ON HER BAG

I had my eye on this Dr Martens leather backpack for two years, but bought it second-hand from Carousell only a few months ago for $150. It costs US$202

(S$287) on drmartens.com. I love leather and I like backpacks and tote bags. I like that it is durable and can accommodate my laptop.

I bring a lot stuff around every day.

The bachelorette started by selling stickers, framed prints and bookmarks related to her final-year student project, which was about promoting art in Singapore and balancing science with art.

  • Things in her bag

  • SPACES MAGAZINE

    This is my favourite magazine.

    It is about Australian artists and their homes. It makes me believe that it is possible to pursue illustration full-time and have a beautiful home like them. I do not carry this every day - only when I know I have some time to kill.


    IPHONE 5S WITH PHONE CASE FROM MONOCHROME, HER SECOND COLLECTION

    This is my new phone. I am still transferring photos from my old phone to this one.


    RED PORTABLE CHARGER FROM ONLINE SHOPPING SITE TAOBAO

    I do a lot of advertising for my business on my Instagram account and it drains my phone battery, so I need this.

    I have had this for almost a year.


    SPECTACLES

    This is from a small spectacle shop in Ang Mo Kio. I like the frame because it looks vintage. My degree is very high. I wear contacts, but I bring this in case

    I need it.


    JOURNAL WITH A VINTAGE-BOOK LOOK

    This was a Christmas gift last year from someone special. I like it because it looks gothic and is black. I get things done when I write them down. I also write in it my goals and ideas for my next collection.


    LONG BLACK PURSE

    This cost $10 and I bought it when I was in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, last year. I like how big it is. I keep my stickers, Polaroids and cards in here, along with my cash.

She has released four collections, with the most recent Hallows launched on Oct 31, which Halloween falls on every year. The range features merchandise such as stickers, T-shirts, tote bags and phone cases with illustrations of the human anatomy, bones and florals. Prices range from $15 for a pack of five to seven vinyl stickers to $58 for a sweatshirt.

The products are sold at www.sarahthursday.co and The Local People markets, where Ms Mok is a regular vendor. Her customers are mostly Singaporeans.

Most of her work - which is monochromatic, as she feels "colouring my work would spoil it" - is done digitally on software program Adobe Photoshop.

While business has picked up since the early days, it is still not enough for Ms Mok to do it full-time. She also works part-time at a cat cafe and freelances with Pop Illusion, a company that does photography and instant-print photo booths at events.

She is the youngest of three children and her parents are divorced. She lives with her mother, 53, who works in customer service. Her father, 56, is remarried and runs a papaya farm in the Philippines.

Determined to continue with Sarah Thursday for as long as she can, Ms Mok says: "I am lucky to have parents who are very supportive of what I do."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'Things in her bag Dark beauty'. Print Edition | Subscribe