Pioneer imparting skills


Print technician in the faculty of fine arts at Lasalle College of the Arts

As an artist, Lina Adam works primarily in the medium of performance, partial to its spontaneous quality and ability to immediately impact the audience.

As a member of Singapore's pioneer generation of printers, however, she has spent more than a decade helping others to create works of art in print.

She was among a handful of Singaporeans picked to train under master printer Kenneth Tyler in 2001 at his workshop in Mount Kisco, New York. She then became a member of STPI's opening team in 2002, which saw her work on the prints of famous artists such as Americans Frank Stella and Helen Frankenthaler.

For the last 10 years, Adam has been running the print workshop at Lasalle College of the Arts, imparting her skills to artists-inthe-making.

Lina Adam, a print technician at Lasalle College of the Arts, trained under master printer Kenneth Tyler. ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Her dedication to print grew out of social-cultural consciousness as she came of age in the 1990s.

She says: "I was interested in pop culture and the DIY movement of that time and print was dominant in many aspects. People would print their own zines and T-shirts and posters were also a big part of it."

Drawn to the powerful way in which print communicates with the masses, she chose to major in it for her diploma in fine arts at Lasalle. Around the time that she was about to graduate, STPI was recruiting staff for its opening and she applied because "it was too big an opportunity to pass up".

She says: "Singapore was setting up a world-class printmaking workshop with talent from New York and everyone around me gave me the impression that it was prestigious to be a printer.

"But we know how humbling our job is. We provide a service to the artists that come."

The collaborative role of a printer appeals to her. She left STPI after three years to pursue a bachelor's degree in printmaking at Lasalle and, after she graduated, she returned to being a printer, this time at the school because where there was an opening.

The mother of two young children says: "You can read all the books there are about printmaking, but to learn and master it, you need somebody with experience to pass on the skill."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 28, 2016, with the headline 'Pioneer imparting skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe