Architect uses fellow passengers as ‘models’ for his sketches while taking the MRT

27 Jun 2021

Lianhe Zaobao, 27 Jun 2021, 建筑师搭地铁画素描 乘客成笔下“模特儿” (translation)
When he takes the MRT every day, as long as there is someone in front of him, the pen in his hand never stops moving! A dozen or so passengers have become his ‘models’ over the last half a year. He hopes to lead the local "observation art" trend, and also wants to use this to spread positive energy and bring joy to passengers.
For the past five months, every morning on the train from Simei Station to Tanjong Pagar Station, there is a 24-year-old man “mixed” in among the commuters. He would carefully observe the expressions and behaviours of the passengers around him, and depict what he has seen using a pen and paper.
A new entrant into the workforce/society, Hendriko Teguh (design architect) is from Indonesia. He received an ASEAN scholarship to study in Singapore nine years ago and while studying architecture at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), he joined 'Urban Sketchers Singapore', and they would go to different parts of the island to sketch every weekend.
After graduating with a master's degree, he started work in the Tanjong Pagar Station area at the start of this year, and decided to bring this observational drawing onto the MRT.
Hendriko said: “I found that when I take the MRT to work every day, everyone just looks at their phones. Same for me, and I also don’t pay attention to the people and things around me. Since I have to take the MRT daily, I want to make the time I spend here more meaningful.”
So he took out a drawing book and pen, using pencils, pens, crayons and different drawing tools to depict the ups and downs of life on the MRT train. He can complete a character sketch in only seven to 10 minutes, and can always accurately depict a person’s characteristics. He compiled these MRT sketches into videos and posted them onto Tik Tok, which have received a lot of praise. He has now become a well-known local Tik Tok painter.
He said: “I found that after putting down the phone and picking up the paintbrush, the experience of riding the MRT has completely changed. I saw many interesting people and things, such as a man wearing the Arsenal football team mask, an amusing snoozing passenger, warm interactions between couples and between family members, etc., I painted them all.”