DELEGATE: Tell us more about yourself
I started drawing since I was 5 years old. During my early years, I usually painted colourful things that I experienced or visually stimulated me, especially flowers, nature, animals and landscapes. I’ve had 8 Major Solo Art exhibitions and painted over 400 paintings, the most recent one was held at ion Art gallery in 2017. Apart from the sale of paintings, I’m currently running a resin jewellery and ceramics business. I’ve also recently started building a home ceramics studio.
D: How did you start your business? What were some adversities you faced when you first started out?
When I was 5 years old, my family (parents and I) signed up for a mission trip under a program run by St Andrew’s Cathedral, called “Children with a Mission”. I was the youngest out of 10 children and with our parents, we went to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to visit poor and needy children who are ill or terminally ill in hospitals.
The objective of this trip was for Singaporean children to raise funds so that we can provide free surgery for very poor cleft-lip and club-feet Vietnamese village children. My mother took my drawings and made into bookmarks to be given to donors who donated to support the surgery.
Being so young at 5, one of the hardest hit impression and unforgettable moment was that of seeing young cancer patients, burn victims (as the villagers use kerosene lamps and accidents occur), blind children, babies with tumours whose heads were thrice the size of a normal adult’s head due to water retention, cleft-lip and clubfeet children during my mission trip in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
I remember crying at the hospital because I was so shocked and traumatised. I had never seen such deformities in Singapore. It not only made me value what I have…to be able to eat normally and enjoy food, but it honed a sense of compassion and desire to help the disadvantaged. This trip was life-changing.
Through charity art auctions and giving, I have raised and donated almost S$500,000 for the vulnerable and marginalised.
Painting not only takes up a lot of time, it is also very expensive due to high-cost materials. There were times that we felt like giving up as it was very difficult for my parents to support this talent. Many times, my artworks were sold at much less than what I felt the painting was worth, due to the time and effort that I spent on it. However, my philosophy is just to let go and translate the paintings into funds that can constructively feed the poor, or provide education or provide medical assistance that could make a great difference to their lives.D: What aspects of your personality can we see in your work?
When I paint, create jewellery or ceramic pieces, I put my heart into it. It gives me so much joy to know that people can see this, especially when they tell me that my pieces are alive, or that they can feel the personality of it. The past few years of working with paint, resin and clay have enabled me to explore forms, shapes and the expanding science of the mediums. My works were becoming more defined by the time, discipline and effort I put into each clay work. Art has become my mentor and my humbler.
D: How would you describe your personal style?
My style is classified as the abstract expressionist, but I do dabble in fauvism and am inspired by Kandinsky, Joan Miro, Wu Guan Zhong, Tang Da Wu and Jackson Pollock. When I paint, my pieces reflect a subtle sense of orientalism that is contextualised in contemporary strokes and colours.
D: What are your hobbies and passions outside of work?
I have many hobbies which include ceramics, resin jewellery making, glass engraving and sculpting. These hobbies teach me patience and perseverance, especially when I’m self-experimenting and have to figure out the processes of drying time, preparation and creation of the artworks.
I started becoming involved in ceramics 3 years ago and fell in love with the process. Resin art involves drying flowers, placing them in resin and crafting them into jewellery or coaster moulds. I’m interested in all forms of creative art and I try as much as possible to sign up for workshops because I want to develop the depth and breadth of my skills.
D: Any future plans in the pipeline?
I am planning on having exhibitions overseas for the next 5 years, hopefully in the UK or USA.
D: One quote that you live by
I strongly believe that I am blessed to be a blessing.
D: Where can we find out more about you and your business?