Work beyond the arts

22 January 2017
The Sunday Times, Life, Page C3

Advertising graduate turned game designer
When Mr Ian Gregory Tan graduated with a diploma in visual communications (advertising) from the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa) in 2011, he had at least six job offers, mostly to be a copywriter or product designer. He chose to be a computer game designer. In his second year at Nafa, the bachelor co-founded local game company Witching Hour Studios with some friends and the company has since created three gaming mobile apps and one PC game.

Mr Tan is creative director in his company, which has 13 full-time employees, including concept artists, programmers and animators. He says: “Creating a game is not different from running a creative ad campaign - both use skills in applied psychology and communications. “For example, when designing games, I need to convey ideas very quickly through visuals and I picked up this skill while creating advertising campaigns in school.”

Using music skills for therapy
As an undergraduate at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Nafa), Ms Michelle Low often charmed audiences with her skills on the pipa. She was a freelance musician at the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, chairman of the Nafa Chinese Ensemble and a pipa instructor at various secondary schools. She can also play the guitar, violin, piano and guzheng.

But in her third year at Nafa, she took a module in music therapy, which broadened her outlook on her career options. The 27-year-old says: “In the past, I assumed a music degree will automatically lead to me becoming a performer. But I realised music can also be used in other ways, such as helping patients improve their physical and psychological well-being.” The Singaporean eventually became a music therapist at Singapore General Hospital, after graduating from Nafa in 2011 with an honours degree in music performance and from the Southwestern Oklahoma State University in 2015 with an honours degree in music therapy.

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Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.


Michelle Low, NAFA alumna

Ian Gregory Tan, NAFA alumnus