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You may know Chen Xi as a Mediacorp actor or, we’ll get to the obvious, as the son of local actors Xiang Yun and Edmund Chen.
Besides being an artist, Chen is also an artist, as his 35,000 Instagram followers may know.
This guy can clearly draw:
Sold 10 paintings to a local gallery
His Instagram followers aren’t the only ones admiring his talent, as a local gallery recently purchased 10 of Chen’s fine art paintings for around S$1,000-2,000 each.
We can’t reproduce them here, of course, but they are currently on display at the Serenity Gallery in the Bras Basah complex.
Chen sells his prints under The Xi Atelier (aka The Eleventh Atelier, because he loves his puns), where prices for his general uncommissioned pieces range from S$28 to S$78.
“It’s more fine art, but I also wanted to do something cute, something to touch others,” Chen said. Mothership.
This is where Nekolour comes in.
Nekolour offers personalized pet stickers to its customers, but is currently limited to cat and dog designs for the time being as the team continues to grow staff.
Although it is his second side hustle in addition to his main job in the entertainment industry, Chen has obviously invested in it.
And we don’t mean it in a financial sense either.
The day we met, Chen says he spent a few hours cutting out this pile of stickers by hand:
We both wondered if he could have passed the time better, but we didn’t come to a good conclusion.
Chen’s zeal is most evident in his speech, where he groans (a commendable trait in any interviewee, this writer can attest to) in response to my questions.
comfort a friend
Like many start-ups in its infancy, Nekolour’s origins date back to the Covid-19 period.
Chen discovered that her friend was grieving after the death of her pet dogs.
“And then she was like, you know, it’s just sad. But she’s sad for month. So you know, it’s like a spiral that you can’t get out of.”
To help her through this difficult time, Chen gave her an illustration of her pets in the form of a Japanese lucky charm.
“I wanted this [represent] good will, good intentions for the person to heal and recover, and always remember that they are always loved,” he continues.
Prices start at S$68 for two custom artwork, while the largest and most expensive package, which includes a set of pins and blockchain authentication (i.e. NFT), costs S$168. .
But Chen assures me that it’s not about money for him.
“[…] This service is really for people who sometimes [need] healing,” Chen says. “Otherwise, I’m just going to go into fine arts already what,” he laughs.
When asked how business has been since its inception a few years ago, the actor replied that it was “still okay”, although Covid-19 has made it difficult to access the community.
Chen, who personally draws each artwork, juggles between working in showbiz and handling Nekolour commissions.
The actor also has some pretty lofty ambitions for Nekolour, like hoping to one day work with pet-related industries to raise money for charity.
“So I look in a way that may look like Hello Kitty, but from Singapore.”
You can check out the company here, and in the meantime, listen to Chen on the radio at 987FM, where he hosts every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Top image by Mandy How