PHUNK is a contemporary art & design collective based in Singapore.
Founded in 1994 by Alvin Tan (b. 1974), Melvin Chee (b. 1974), Jackson Tan (b. 1974) and William Chan (b. 1973) when they were still students in Lasalle College of the Arts, they developed a novel approach to collective art-making based on the collaborative aesthetic of a rock-and-roll band, and informed by a shared interest in urban subcultures.
Described as “The Champion of Singapore’s Graphic Scene” (Creative Review, UK), “Asia’s hottest agency” (Computer Arts, UK), “one of the world’s foremost cutting-edge design collectives” (Asia Tatler, Hong Kong) and “iconic representatives of the new wave of young Asian creators” (Get it Louder, China).
They have propagated a visual signature that seamlessly blends and reinterprets their diverse influences such as traditional Chinese craft, philosophy and folklore, Hong Kong wuxia pulp fiction, Japanese manga and otaku subculture, Western popular culture, art and design movements into a singular creative thought that reflects their multi-cultural identity, background and environment.
Labeled “Creators of modern urban mythological tales” (Chinese Contemporary Art News, Taiwan), PHUNK has created a visual universe densely populated by ancient gods and modern creatures, to depict universal tales social satire, humanity morality, rock n’ roll ethos, contemporary culture and PHUNK’s unique witty sense of humor. The concept of ‘universality’ in the age of modern globalization is a constant theme in their works.
They constantly challenge the conventional notion and definition of the ‘artist’ and ‘commercial design studio’ by constantly blurring the boundaries between both, mixing Neo Pop Art ideology with Post-Modernist design sensibilities. Their cross-disciplinary approach is best described as “an aesthetic collective consciousness” focused on experimenting with new approaches to visual expressions. Their expansive scope of projects spans across art, design, publishing, fashion, music, film and interactive.
PHUNK has collaborated and worked with international brands and artists such as Nike, Nokia, MTV, Daimler Chrysler, Herman Miller, Uniqlo, Levi’s and The Rolling Stones. Their works are featured in many international publications and awarded in various design award shows. One of their artworks titled ‘Electricity’ was cited in the book, ‘Graphic Design, A New History’ as “Instances of truly global graphic design”. They were awarded ‘Designer of the Year’ in 2007 by the President’s Design Award, the highest accolade for designers in Singapore.
They have exhibited and lectured extensively around the world. They launched their solo artist exhibition, ‘Universality’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei in 2007. They represented Singapore at the Gwangju Design Biennale 2005 and the London Design Festival 2006. The Singapore History Museum hosted their 10 year retrospective exhibition ‘A Decade of Decadence’ in 2005.
In 2014, PHUNK worked closely with the Fukuoka Asian Art Museum where they were the headline artist and created the branding for the 5th Fukuoka Art Triennale. In 2017, PHUNK was commissioned by Rolls Royce Singapore to produce an artwork to celebrate its 20th anniversary with Singapore Airlines, which showcased PHUNK’s unique tearing technique, a groundbreaking collaboration which combined a gritty art approach with a sleek corporate sensibility.