Making it as an Artist in Singapore, from a Software Engineer by Dianne Capulan of Souldeelight
We first met Dianne when we worked in the same company in Cebu City. We did not really get a chance to know her well while we were both working. It was when we moved to Singapore that our paths crossed again, apparently living in the same apartment for awhile :) It was kind of brief but somehow we connected. She was there when challenges in relationships and settling in a new country was difficult. We remember how bubbly and positive she always has been.
We are so proud and happy with what she has accomplished so far. We witnessed her starting up her business in Singapore and how it has fully grown into what it is now.
Thank you Dee for allowing us to interview you and for sharing your thoughts with us :) We learned a lot. Continue to inspire the world with your art and heart.
From a software engineer working with data protection to calligraphy, watercolour and design - what was the thing that was surprisingly easy or hard during the transition?
(dee) Like everything else, anything worth doing is never really easy. They require work -- hard work -- because they are worth it. I think the hardest for me was getting over the fear in my mind that I walked away from a stable, good paying job to pursue art full time. The mind
truly is the battleground. Once I’ve settled that in my head, shifted my mindset, the rest just seem a bit more doable. Not easy, but doable. lol. But it definitely is worth it.
What’s easy? When work feels like play most of the time. :)
How do you make it as an artist in Singapore?
(dee) Find your style but don’t get pigeonholed by it. Never be afraid to adapt , to pivot , to widen your boundaries. You can do all this and still remain true to what is innate with you as an artist.
Dee in one of her workshops
What are some of the values and missions that you are driven by?
(dee) three things I want to share :
To always check my intentions on my I do things. Does it solely feed my ego or does it have a deeper, lasting and more meaningful purpose.
I know that word gets thrown around easily nowadays. But really I rely on it to check myself.
Second, I live by what I allow in my life. Good or bad. If I allow it to set foot, take up space and grow in my life-- That is me giving it my permission to stay. And I will live with it. I live with this code in business, love and friendships.
And lastly, that there is more to art than just pretty things. I have my works commissioned by clients all over the world. But what I think really excites me is when I do my workshops and see firsthand that look of wonder and tranquility --- and peace -- in my students as they discover what they can do with their hands. This is the core of Souldeelight, to create not just pretty things but to use art to bring us to a peaceful place within ourselves. Even for just a few moments. This is why I got myself certified as an art therapist in Australia, because I have seen how art helped some of my clients who were going through some tough times in their lives.
Without knowing the full stories, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the list of achievements that people might have online, especially looking through a social media lens. Could you please share some of the personal or professional challenges that you have experienced?
(dee) Learning and navigating the business side of it. People think I spend my days just sitting in my studio painting the days away. Haha, how I WISH that’s true. The business side of running your own studio is a whole other ballgame. And most of these things you can only learn through experience (and mistakes). And you learn and be better. And when you know better, you can do better.
But yes, I do block off days in my calendar so I can recharge and just paint the days away. lol
What brings you joy in a day to day life?
(dee) So many things. Meeting my students on my regular workshops. Prepping the supplies. Cutting paper. Honestly, the mundane things bring me joy. And it helps to have a To Do list and you tick a few items off it. That brings me joy too.
How do you think about yourself when you are by yourself?
(dee) Hmmm Interesting question. :) I think I’m brave. For so many reasons, not just about venturing into being a full time artist. And I want to continue to be brave and continue to be grateful for the big and small things that life throws my way.
I have to ask - how are you feeling in the midst of COVID-19 crisis? What do you want to share to people who are feeling anxious about this whole thing?
(dee) Honestly, I’m good. For a moment there when the lockdown happened I was a little bit worried because a big chunk of my events, wedding clients, classes, collaborations, partnerships got either postponed or cancelled. So it’s very natural to think what can I do now, how do I make this better.
For people who are driven, I think it’s very natural to go into problem solver mode when faced with a situation. We want to turn our lemons into something productive, something good. That is not inherently bad, but not if it causes us anxiety in the process.
But really, there is nothing wrong in admitting things are just beyond our control. And it’s ok to just be. And it’s ok if the best thing you can do at the moment is breathe…. and eventually let go of the reins. It doesn’t mean giving up, it just means giving ourselves the grace, for a
moment, TO DO NOTHING.
And finally, whose story would you want to read about on here?
(dee) I would love to read more inspirational stories. God knows we could use more of that. :)