Rider Profiles: Fine Artist

Introducing our Rider Profiles series! 

Each month, we feature interesting panda riders from various professions with unique stories to tell. This March, we get to know Lis who is a panda rider and fine artist. 


Lis Li, Fine Artist

Tell us a little something about yourself!


Hi, my name is Lis Li. I’m a foodpanda rider and fine artist.


What kind of fine art do you do?


I paint, mostly. I do a few mediums such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, spray painting, needle and threads, and Chinese calligraphy. The subject can be anything – ranging from landscape paintings and portraits to erotic paintings.


How did you become an artist? Were you always good at drawing or painting?


There were two pivotal points in my journey. The first time I was introduced to fine art was when I was 9 years old in a Chinese calligraphy class in school. The second was when I was 17, during my N levels, through an art class. Funny story though, the teacher graded me with a D meaning that I failed the class. But that didn’t discourage me, I studied other artists’ techniques meticulously and I  would watch Youtube tutorials until I got a little better.


What would you say brought you to the next level?


It’s really painting every day. Every time you paint, you learn something new. With every stroke, you can learn a new technique. There aren’t any shortcuts, most especially in this field. I also joined several competitions in the past such as Art Basel Singapore and the UOB Artists competition. It’s all about practice and putting yourself out there.


For those who aren’t aware, what are the essential tools you need whenever you paint?


You would need brushes, a palette, easel, canvas, rags, paint turpentine and, linseed oil. There are different brushes used for different mediums. I use the brand Rosemary. It’s quite expensive but it’s very durable and it’s used by professional painters. Brushes are usually numbered from 0-12. 0 being the pointiest and 12 being the widest. Brushes with larger fans are used to paint the first layer because they have a large surface area. You can use these brushes for mountains, the sky, etc. Pointed brushes are important for detailing such as the leaves.


Can we see some samples of your paintings?


What are the usual painting techniques you use? Educate your fellow panda riders!


The techniques really depend on the medium you use. Since I do oil paintings most of the time, I normally use glazing and scrumbling techniques. Glazing is when you paint layer, wait for it to dry then paint over it again for a more realistic look. Scrumbling is a technique of removing paint from the canvas.


Do you draw from your imagination or do you need a model? How long does it take to finish a piece?


Both. On some days, I meditate and enter this state of zen and let the mind take over whenever I draw. On other days, I would reference a picture or use a live model. As for how long it takes, it really depends on the size and medium I use. It can range from 1-2 hours to hundreds of hours.


Who are your favorite painters? Why?


Definitely the Dutch painter, Rembrandt. He’s my favorite mainly because of his outstanding ability to depict natural, realistic human figures and his ability to portray deep human feelings, imperfections, and morality through his art.



What are some of the challenges you’ve faced as a painter? What have you learned so far?


As a painter, it is important to have enough space and ventilation because sniffing the solvents can cause headaches. Also, you need to have thick skin and a proper mindset. When you start as a painter, you will receive both good and bad feedback. Don’t let the negative feedback get to you. You need critics in order to improve. Take it as a lesson, not as a setback. The beautiful about the technological era is that you have access to art online, all for free. I learned a lot of techniques online. Choose the artist who suits you the most and treat them as an online mentor.


Is your art for sale? Let us know where we can find your work!


Currently, I am saving up the pieces so I could have a chance to exhibit in the near future! I do commissions on drawing portraits. You can find me on Instagram: tianlis and Carousell: lis_sa


What are some of the important skills you need to become a great artist?


I value these 3 traits: Persistence, passion, and discipline. Persistence is the driving force that allows you to continue even though it is difficult or opposed by many. Passion is what motivates us to create even when you don’t really feel like it. Discipline is key in creating and producing any form of art. One must be disciplined with his time, energy and focus. Discipline is everything. Without it, I find it very hard to stay organized. 


What is your most memorable work? Tell us the story behind it.


It’s a landscape painting of Singapore. I’ve always captivated by the array of contemporary architecture around me. So I took a photo of the landscape when I was in this Chinatown HDB and I decided to recreate it through a painting.


Any advice for aspiring artists? Any school or training recommendations? Where should beginners start?


Visit museums often, study the works of the masters and paint as much as you can. There are also a few local art schools to learn from such as SOTA, La Salle, and NAFA.


How do you balance being an artist and a panda rider? Run us through your schedule.


I work part-time for both foodpanda and my art. I prioritize my foodpanda shifts first, then on free time, I do my portraits. I try to be very relaxed about both professions.


What made you decide to ride with foodpanda? Is there anything in particular about foodpanda that sets us apart from other food delivery companies?


Foodpanda was the first food delivery platform in Singapore and foodpanda is the most known amongst the competitors. Since joining foodpanda, I haven’t tried other food delivery companies. There are certain familiarities and this brotherhood with foodpanda which make me not want to switch. Before joining, my friends would also tell me that foodpanda is a good source of income and that you can have your schedule.


What has life in foodpanda been like? Share us some of your most memorable memories.


Working at foodpanda is very enjoyable. Seeing other Pandas on the toad motivates me to work harder. I meet new people every day and feel this strong connection with everyone. Often you run into friends on the road especially when the traffic light is red. You chat for a bit then bid farewell when the light turns green. It’s those little moments. You know what each other is going through and you feel very bonded with one another.  


On the customer side, I once delivered food to this customer who was an artist as well. We spoke for a while at his gate and he realized that we have art in common. He invited me into his house to view some of his art pieces. It was eye-opening for me to able to view some of the old master paintings that he had and it made me happy to have made a new friend too. It is really memorable.


Do you have any foodpanda rider tips to share?

Tip 1: Check your vehicle before your shift. Do a swift walk-around to make sure your horn, lights and directional signals are working correctly. Check the belt, chain, and brakes. Check the tires for wear and sure they are set at the proper pressure.

Tip 2: Make sure you have had enough sleep and that you’re in a good mood!

Tip 3: Use weather apps to predict weather whenever you are booking your shifts




Know a rider with an interesting profession worth a feature? You can nominate them by sending an email to beatrice.lim@foodpanda.sg with the subject "Rider Profiles Nomination" 


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