Singapore-based artist Joelle Enver brings her loveable characters to life with a distinctive candy-like colour palette paired with whimsical rhymes. Each piece is effortlessly quirky; a true extension of Jo’s infectious personality. Under the online pseudonym, Rufflemyhair, she’s been delighting the masses with her illustrations since her days studying digital animation at Nanyang Technological University.
“To me, my art is about storytelling and the evocation of emotion. If something could resonate with my deepest self, my core… then I would want to create it and hopefully convey that same feeling to other people,” Jo says.
“Growing up, I spent almost all my time doodling and drawing. It hardly mattered what or where – it just came naturally to me.” Jo’s pursuit of a career in art almost did not happen. She was on the way to pursuing more stable professional fields, such as economics and geography. In Singapore’s academically driven society, the young artist never thought that her hobby could become a viable career until a friend approached her with a pamphlet from Nanyang Technology University. “In large, commanding letters, the pamphlet read: ART, DESIGN & MEDIA FACULTY. I just went, ‘this is it’.”
When Jo’s final year in NTU came around, she was tasked with creating an original short film. Her creative process was riddled with constructive critiques from her professors, who tore into nearly every aspect of the film. “When you invest your whole heart into your work, such scathing critiques definitely hurt. You’re brutally forced to wonder what you are doing in this field in the first place.” Her mentor, Professor Hannes Rall became a beacon of support throughout this entire process; his encouragement allowed her to condense the criticism into the tools that she needed to map her way through to a finished product. “Filter through the criticism, but stick to what I felt was right. Bit by bit, my magic world took its form. My characters came to life.”
In 2015, Jo’s short film Fly With Me won the top gong for Best Animation at Singapore’s 5th Short Film Awards. Her submission was motivated by the purest of intentions – to bring joy and laughter into the lives of her audience. After a rigorous production process, she was rewarded with a win that saw Fly With Me screened in over 15 countries. “It’s an exhilarating feeling, knowing that not only did my film bring a moment of light and happiness into the lives of viewers, but that experts in the field also thought that it was worthy to win Best Animation. It profoundly cemented my desire to be an artist, to give people something to take home with them, be it a small laugh or warmth in their hearts.”
Singapore’s creative scene has made a progressive movement in recent years, as locals slowly begin to shake off the shackles imposed by a largely conservative society. Whilst Jo’s personal work is light-hearted and often doesn’t toe the line on controversy, she sees so much importance in the development of the local arts scene and encourages openness.
“Singapore has, for the longest time, been criticised for its rigidity and lack of creativity. The country is often fixated on minimising controversy, but I think we’re is trying very hard to step out of our boundaries. With major events like Singapore Night Festival (of Arts and Culture) gaining massive popularity, I would say that we’re definitely heading in the right direction.”
Currently, Jo is working on the sequel to her award winning short film, aptly titled Come Home With Me, which will feature a slightly different style and tone to the original Fly With Me. She remains focused on her journey as an artist, embodying the purest form of love and passion for creation.
目前，Jo正在筹划其获奖短片作品的续集，名为《Come Home With Me》。这个续集作品在风格和基调上与第一部《Fly With Me》都有所不同。她依旧专注于探索作为一个艺术家的漫漫长路，在创作中展示爱与热情的最纯粹表现方式。
“I feel incredibly lucky, and I can’t imagine doing anything else. I hope I will be remembered for just that: my passion and love for my craft, and how I wanted to use that to tell people stories.”