A Learner’s Journey: Q&A with Errol Tan

"Like muscles being pushed and stretch at the gym, you're only growing when you feel the burn. Embrace being uncomfortable."

Hi Errol! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’ve been a creative in the advertising arts industry for the last 16 years. At some points in my career, I’ve headed up a design team at a trans-media agency dealing with content creation for games, film, and comics. I’ve done a bit of merchandising design for Razer, founded an indie music label in Singapore, and dabbled with screen printed gig posters under my art moniker, invisible. I’m presently freelancing as a creative at Saatchi & Saatchi.

What are you passionate about?

Music, art & design, and really good coffee, in no particular order.

You are a Label Manager at KittyWu Records as well. How does that tie into your passion?

I see the label as my creative gym, a place where I can bring together my two passions of music and design. Coupled with my experience in advertising, the label endeavors to bring Singapore music out to the world through producing, marketing and promotion. So far it’s been an adventure around the world; touring bands to SXSW, Canadian Music Week, Reeperbahn Music Festival, Culture Collide in LA and regional tours to Japan and South East Asia.

In your opinion, what is the biggest need that creatives have to address in today’s changing and digital world?

We’re being inundated with new technology and services at a blindingly fast pace, it’s getting harder to keep up. In my view, technology has opened up our window of thinking and imagination, but a lot of creatives tend to lean on technology as a crutch. It’s a double-edged sword. Beyond being the shiny bright thing in the room, we really need to see technology as a tool or enabler to change human behaviour. This was what brought me to Hyper Island; learning to see the bigger picture and understanding digital’s application and implications on culture and society as a whole.

How has your experience at Hyper Island been so far? Has anything changed?

Hyper Island has been eye-opening, to put it mildly. The programme has really made me push my thinking as a designer, and I wished I could have done this programme sooner.


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