UOB Painting of the Year 2022: Highly Commended
As children, we remember our first artistic endeavours as free-spirited and wilful, unbound by expectations. As adults, we are often unable to recapture that same playfulness and spontaneity, instead focusing on how our art will be perceived, valuing mastery and execution.
The question is: How can one capture the playfulness and spontaneity of a child who is learning to paint for the first time? With artist Karina Delicia Simon, we meet somewhere in the middle of the two approaches.
It did not take Karina long to become interested in art, but it took a long time to pursue a career in it. Initially believing that an art career would be too fragile and uncertain, she chose to pursue a 4-year bachelor's degree in Fashion Retail instead, eventually running her own successful fashion company for five years. It was after Karina moved to Singapore that she realised that, along with the change of country, she also yearned for a change in her career, for her passion for art was not being fulfilled by fashion.
A period of half a year followed in which the artist exclusively concentrated on drawing. The result of this was the development of a following after her artworks were listed and sold on both art marketplaces and social media. Eventually, her contact with galleries and curators increased, and she began receiving invitations to exhibitions. Her refreshing approach to what a contemporary artist could do through experimentation was one of the main reasons why the art scene was so quick to recognise her. It was initially based on exact observations that Karina was influenced to draw as she embarked upon her journey into photorealism. However, she wished to create something more imaginative, less predictable, authentic, and creative in her work.
Aiming to emulate a child's love of having fun and willingness to experiment, Karina mimics playful smears of acrylic paint. With the medium being highly mouldable, it can be applied easily and quickly, allowing for freehand motions. Then, in a process that could take her days to complete, she elevates her piece further by meticulously copying the original out with colour pencils. Despite the tedious process, she believes that in the end, the time spent helps her to connect deeply with her art. The result: The spontaneity and wonder of a child, balanced with adult control and precision. Her contradictory elements make what appears to be a simple artwork much more intricate than it might seem.
Her artwork winning the Highly Commended Award for the 2022 UOB Painting of the Year Singapore's Established Artist Category, titled: Tree, was created out of a desire to have an artwork that was understood and appreciated by both young and old. A tree was chosen as the subject because it is an object that can be recognized by everyone and yet is appreciated by each individual in their own way.
A highly realistic sheen is evident in this piece, as well as in her other pieces. Having already experimented with paper origami, the artist plans to experiment further with a variety of materials beyond acrylic paint. At present, she is considering fabric as well as metal as a potential option. This latter material, which already exhibits chromatic properties, has the potential for her to produce a reflective finish even more vivid than what we've seen thus far.
Throughout the years, many of her artworks have been shown in international exhibitions in Italy, France, and Indonesia. In 2021, she was awarded the XIII Florence (Italy) Biennale Lorenzo il Magnifico Bronze Award, Drawing Category, as well as MUSA International's Woman Art Award 2022. In addition to being exhibited at Puri Art Gallery in Indonesia, she will also be exhibiting at Tokyo Tower Art Fair from 10 to 12 March 2023. A solo exhibition will be presented to the public shortly thereafter by the artist.
Registration for the 42nd UOB Painting of the Year competition is now open. Visit and submit your entries through the website: