“Somehow it is now my full-time job – nothing was really planned but life just happened in a way where everything slowly fell into place!” – Cyann
In commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Imagine The World is back with our second edition of the art market – Cosmos Creatives Art Market, embodying the spirit of life and a hope to flourish. Cosmos Creatives Spotlight discover unique brands and the inspiring creative minds in their journey towards their pursuit of their passion. Follow along Cyann’s journey from HEYCYANN’s humble beginnings practicing their craft in cafes to becoming her full-time job and having her own studio!
I’m Cyann, a multi-disciplinary artist, although I’m most well known as a jagua tattoo artist. Jagua ink is a natural dye derived from Jagua fruit (Genipa Americana). The jagua gel used is made from scratch using the highest quality ingredients, directly imported from South America, so you can be sure that there are no harmful chemicals or impurities that will come in contact with your skin. When applied to skin, the gel deposits a stain that lasts 2-3 weeks.
How did you get into the craft?
I’ve always loved drawing and painting as a child, and was always drawn to creating with new mediums! I stumbled upon jagua some time around 2016-2017, and picked it up as a hobby at first. Somehow it is now my full-time job – nothing was really planned but life just happened in a way where everything slowly fell into place!
How has the brand grown from when you first started?
Most of my appointments are usually in the late afternoons or evenings, since clients tend to come after work/school. Because of that I get to have a lot of me-time in the earlier half of the day. If I’m not sleeping in, I’m usually spending that time preparing materials for upcoming events, or working on a secret subsidiary brand that’s on the way (hehe). I’ll then go for appointments, have dinner with my neighbours at Pearl’s Hill Terrace, and maybe do some more appointments. Depending what time I finish, if the night is young I’ll go and have supper with my friends before going home to meditate and rest!
What is your source of inspiration?
I’m greatly inspired by the works and artistic processes of dead and famous artists. My favourites are mainly Marcel Duchamp, Rene Magritte, and Salvador Dali. While none of them are tattoo artists and their work may differ greatly from mine (in a visual sense), the thought processes and concepts behind their work are what inspire me the most. Even if these influences may not be present in all of the work that I do – since jagua can be a very personal experience and I do prioritise doing work that my clients can resonate with – they are usually what drives my art when I’m given complete freedom.
What is your favourite aspect of your craft?
The temporary nature of jagua! As a jagua artist, I love being able to change up my look/style in different seasons of life, or as a medium of self-expression! These are things I hope I provide for my clients as well!
How has starting your craft impacted your life?
Well, for one, it’s now my full-time job and I’m very thankful to be able to do what I love for a living (both the art part and the building a business part, and it’s satisfying and therapeutic to be able to do this for myself). I am also blessed with a team now, and my natural motherly instinct finds a lot of validation in taking care of my team and being able to provide them with the experience of doing art as a job, that they might otherwise not have had in this lifetime!
What has been the best experience/opportunity your art has given you?
I’ll be at ARTBOX in Kuala Lumpur in November – I think this is something that I’ve been planning alongside my team for a while now but haven’t announced the news publicly yet. It’s going to be HEYCYANN’s most significant overseas event till date, and a huge milestone for the brand. The event hasn’t happened yet, but already the planning and behind-the-scenes work that goes into it has been a very fun and exciting experience in itself! I’m looking forward to it very much!
Has there been any challenges that have made you almost give up on your craft?
COVID19 really hit hard for sure. Back then I didn’t have my own studio yet, and I was mostly meeting clients at cafes to do my appointments hahaha (humble beginnings!!). When lockdown happened, and restaurants were closed, I practically had no chance to practice jagua. I was lucky that at the time, jagua was not my full-time thing, and I was doing design jobs on the side. It helped me to tide over the period!
How are you involved in the local art community in Singapore?
I think being “involved in the art community” can mean something so different for everyone and that’s the cool thing! In many ways, I find a lot of joy in mentoring budding artists and creatives, empowering the next generation of the local art community. And because I’m surrounded by lots of creatives, I also love how we get to bounce ideas off each other and inspire one another over meals together – it’s a very raw and “unscripted” way of moving the community forward in small ways, but it’s what I find most fulfilling and authentic. And of course, supporting other local artists and creatives by either buying or sharing their work goes a long way! I also pride myself as being the “go-to” person to ask in my friend groups when people are looking for creatives in certain fields etc!
Do you have any advice to share with others who might be interested in learning a new craft, starting a side business, or just getting more involved in the local arts scene in Singapore?
Do it! Do it young, do it old, make mistakes and bounce back from them. Life is crazy and you’ll never know how things will pan out, taking that jump could be the first step to a completely new life ahead of you!