Staff Reporters
4 days ago

Creative Minds: Beyond the studio, Jessica Tan's ideal day involves massages, mysteries and Marina Bay

When not crafting excellence at Design Bridge, this visual artist dreams of scaling new heights and planning her next big Himalayan trek.

Creative Minds: Beyond the studio, Jessica Tan's ideal day involves massages, mysteries and Marina Bay
In Creative Minds, we ask APAC creatives a long list of questions, from serious to silly, and ask them to pick 11 to answer. (Why 11? Just because.) Want to be featured?

Name: Jessica Tan

Origin: Singapore

Places lived/worked: Singapore, London

Pronouns: She/her


Digital creative director, Design Bridge and Partners, Singapore, 2023 – current
Digital creative director, Superunion, Singapore, 2021 – 2023
Digital design director, Superunion, Singapore, 2019 – 2021
Senior motion designer, The Mill, London, 2015 – 2019
Online Producer, Walt Disney, London (2014 – 2015)Freelance Motion Designer, Various Companies, London (2008 – 2014)

1. How did you end up being a creative?

Honestly I kind of fell into it. My entry point was film—I studied communication studies and filmmaking at NTU and Ngee Ann Poly, directed a couple of short films, then decided I liked the post production process better. I was then mesmerized by the world of motion graphics. While working in London as a 2D motion designer, I upped my game by one dimension and started playing in the world of 3D design, then complex simulations and finally now creative technology. I suppose there was no real beginning or end point—just a continuous journey of playing and exploring ways of being creative.

2. What is your favourite piece of work in your portfolio?

My favourite work is the ident I worked on for BBC2. It was really momentous to be part of the iconic branding project—it was the first rebrand for BBC2 in decades. The ident I worked on also involved complex smoke simulations in Houdini. I really enjoyed creating it as I find the beautiful shapes in nature are the most entrancing forms of art.

3. What is your favourite piece of work created by someone else?

China Duty Free from Superunion on Vimeo.

Cheating a little here—but Surreal Island for China Duty Free was on of the jobs I worked on in terms of directing the animation. However I really loved the beautiful illustrations that were painstakingly created by talented Peru-based illustrator Paolo Torres.

4. What's on your bucket list?

Trek more mountains. I trekked Annapurna and Mt. Everest base camp and would love to do another Himalayan trek. Take a holiday and go on The Orient Express, cruise on the River Nile and visit all the locations of the greatest Agatha Christie novels. Eventually become a full-fledged artist where I make art just for the sake of making art.

5. Who is on your dream guest list (alive or dead)?

L-R: Authors Richard Dawkins, Naomi Klein, Nick Lane

Richard Dawkins—I have read most of his books and tried my best to understand them. But in my never-ending lifelong pursuit of trying to understand what is the meaning of life, his books have done the most in helping me understand evolutionary biology. Understanding how we got here, has gone a long way to helping me understand the values I want in my life. Also Naomi Klein and Nick Lane—authors who have inspired me greatly.

6. What career did you think you'd have when you were a kid?

Fashion designer. I would constantly work on making these sketches. It took a while for me to realise I didn’t care at all about fashion. I have a few outfits I keep wearing, so most days I pretty much look the same. Also, I really object to the amount of waste—both in terms of physical, material waste, and wasted attention, ambition, energy that is demanded by and spent by the industry.

7. What really motivates you?

An unending sense of inadequacy, an unceasing drive to continue to do better work. I see the projects I do in my day job as my life’s work—and within each one of them if I can achieve a level of craft and art that keeps improving I will be pleased with how I have spent my time.

8. What would you do on your perfect day?

First a massage, then a swim, and playing mystery board games with my sisters and my kids. Finally cycling with my family to the Marina Bay area, and round to Gardens by the Bay, ending with a delicious dinner at Lau Pa Sat. Perfection!

9. What is your favourite book / film / TV show of the past year, and why?

One favourite book of the year so far is Heat by George Monbiot, which gives hope in a really bleak time—a fresh perspective on how we can stop climate change with social change. I’ve also powered through the entire series of Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries by Louise Penny—I’m blown away by the characters and world she has created.

10. Tell us about a cause or charity that needs more attention.

I’m currently reading a fascinating book called The Ransomware Hunting Team—about how a group of cybersecurity specialists got together informally to help cybercrime victims by cracking ransomware for free. In a capitalist world where large swathes of people have no qualms about holding hospitals, schools, governments and individuals hostage, it is truly inspiring to see people put their genius skills to help people for free and stand against crime.

Also, Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP)—an organisation of journalists that report on corruption and crime world wide, including recent exposes on people who hide their money in Swiss banks. I feel corruption holds back progress on a lot of other important social causes like action on climate change and therefore organisations like these are really important.

11. What app could you absolutely not live without? What app do you wish to delete?

I wish I could delete Instagram. I loved it for sharing work and looking at other artists’ work but now it’s full of ads. I could not live without the Find My app—it’s what I use to find my kids and make sure they’re safe in school.

Related Articles

Just Published

4 hours ago

China unveils Web3 ambition, signalling the end of ...

Paving the way for innovation, Beijing's Web 3 vision indicates a softening stance. The news comes amid Hong Kong's opening of retail crypto trading from June 1.

4 hours ago

Asia-Pacific Power List 2023: Eugene Lee, McDonald's

Lee’s rise to the top of the golden arches has been nothing short of remarkable. With a keen eye for innovative marketing, the newly promoted International CMO is a force to be reckoned with.

5 hours ago

The CMO's MO: Abdul Sani's superheroic marketing ...

He could've been a commercial captain, but ended up as a CMO. Get to know this Malaysian marketing genius' data-driven and CX-obsessed journey.