Singaporeans are increasingly seeking out meaningful, skilled labour, amid a growing push for better recognition and pay for such professions. TODAY’s Voices section is publishing first-hand accounts of young people who have chosen careers in manual trades — and are thriving.
Here, Mr Eric Ng, 41, shares his unconventional journey to becoming a professional airbrush artist. Despite lacking a formal art education — and the painstaking work involved — Mr Ng’s passion for his craft has led to projects for Malaysian royalty and other celebrities.
My innate love for art since young is the reason why I am an airbrush artist today.
As a child, my eyes would light up at the sight of colours, and I spent hours with crayons, filling every piece of paper I could find.
My aunt knew that something extraordinary was happening when I started sketching detailed scenes on paper. She then started to sign me up for drawing competitions. I remember getting third place in one at the age of five.
I did not have the opportunity to study art or drawing as my family did not think it was a promising career, but I continued to draw in my free time.
I graduated from ITE (Dover) with a Higher Nitec in information technology in 2001 and completed a diploma in sound and audio engineering at SAE Creative Media Institute in 2004.
I then got a job as a video editor with a local media production company.
During my employment, I chanced upon videos about “Orange County Choppers”, an American company which specialises in custom-built motorcycles, and started to gain interest in airbrush painting.
Out of curiosity, I bought an airbrush painting starter kit and started picking up skills via YouTube.