An international art journal, Wallflowers gives a beautiful platform to up-and-coming artists working in visual, auditory and literary fields. Its ambition is to feature unconventional works of art. Its interviewees range from 17-year-old Singapore singer-songwriter Samantha Rui to Taiwanese artist Mike HJ Chang to graphic designer and baker Raquel Ang. Founded in 2012, the journal is helmed by a creative team of Singaporeans. Its founder and chief editor Lixin Tan kindly responded to a few questions that Singapore Poetry put to her.
SP: The internet is filled, some say saturated, with online journals. Why add another one?
LXT: Personally, I don’t think the number of journals matters. I believe that every journal has its own direction and each caters to a different audience. All the art journals online form a kind of a community, I think, and our common goal is to get more people to be interested in the arts. If someone doesn’t enjoy Wallflowers, that’s all right, because they will be able to find another journal that will keep them connected to the arts and I think that’s what’s important. I also think that it is great if there can be even more journals because each journal is also a different avenue or platform for artists and every one is an opportunity (since not every journal will be keen to feature just everybody or showcase any work sent to them).
SP: Wallflowers is also “an advocate of animal welfare and feminism.” An unusual pairing. How are the two concerns related?
LXT: Besides animal welfare and feminism, some of the team members behind Wallflowers are also concerned with LGBT rights and other social issues. However, we listed animal welfare and feminism because MOST of the team members are advocates of these issues. I am an advocate of animal welfare (I am a volunteer at an animal shelter and support causes for stray or abandoned animals) and a feminist, and so are many of my team members. Both issues are related to compassion and humanity, even if it [editor: the relationship] is not obvious sometimes, and this is what my team wants to raise awareness of.
SP: You are also a published poet, the author of Keeping Skeletons (Math Paper Press, 2013). Do the roles of poet and editor inform one another at all?
LXT: I guess I get to read a lot of works by all kinds of people with different styles while I’m the editor. Even if it is not poetry that I’m reading, it is interesting to see how each writer expresses their thoughts. The sub-editors in the team also comment on the articles and they will provide suggestions for improvement. As such, there is always something to learn from each article and I love how I get to see from a fresh perspective every time. I think this helps me to approach my own writing from new angles.
It took me a long time to put together Keeping Skeletons. It wasn’t easy, and I think I learnt a lot from the constructive criticism I received while writing the collection. Of course, I am still learning and improving, but I try my best to share what I have learnt with the other writers. This applies even if I am not editing creative writing. As long as you are a writer, I believe that you can always learn from another writer no matter how different they are.
Team Wallflowers (images from website)
Lixin Tan, Founder and Chief Editor
Chelsea Tan, Sub Editor
Jollin Tan, Sub Editor
Shreeya Valentina, Sub Editor
Jingqing Goh, Chief Designer
Pearlyn Soo, Creative Director
Racy Lim, Writer
Joey Chan, Writer
Gracia Ting, Writer
Kia Yee Ang, Writer
Joey Aziel Tan, Writer
Rachael Ng, Writer
Eunice Koh, Writer
Kristie Ng, Writer
Shannen Ho, Writer
Shannen Tan, Writer
Mel Teo, Writer
Shyen Lee, Photographer and Writer
Fatin Iesa, Photographer