Vanishing frames - portraits of Mr Neo Chon Teck

Mr Neo Chun Teck, Singapore's last surviving billboard artist is a humble man, who paints all his billboards in his HDB living room in Telok Blangah Heights. He was in the media spotlight recently for having painted the mock-movie bilboards that were integral to Ming Wong's award-winning Life of Imitation. He is human after all. At 60+, he turns his attention towards the domestic for joy and fulfillment - his family. With his daughter delivering his newest grandchild of the family, he's going to have his hands full on the baby more than his other baby - his craft.

We (SINdie) approached Mr Neo to ask if he could paint a billboard for the Singapore Short Film Awards 2011. This golden encounter took us halfway around the globe. The lead for his contact began with Ming Wong, based in Berlin, who referred me to Mathias Ortmann, also based in Berlin. Mathias threw a link back in Singapore to Michael Kam, whose movie poster (below) was painted by Mr Neo. Finally, we got in touch and in a serendipitous turn, Mr Neo lives a few blocks away from my apartment in Telok Blangah.

The piece we wanted was a moderately sized billboard which which used images from Sun Koh's 'Dirty Bitch', last year's Short Film Award winner. As it turned out, Mr Neo revealed (and we lament) that this billboard will be one of his last. We document here (with necessity) soon-to be-rare snapshots of Mr Neo at work the Awards billboard.

A seasoned palette

'Life of Imitation'

His 'living room' workshop

A self-painted mural on his living room wall - kitschy yet timeless in its perfection

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