The actor and filmmaker on adding “gallerist” to his resumé. What inspired the launch of your online store/gallery Neon Sauce? I started off as a collector of vintage movie posters, but as I went along, I found myself asking, “What is Malaysian pop culture? What does it look like?” The goal of Neon Sauce is not only to come up with posters or art pieces that Malaysians can get excited about and be proud of, but to also expose Malaysian artists to people from other places. The biggest misconception about Malaysian art. That local art is elitist – which isn’t true. There are many kinds of art, and there are many levels of pricing. A lot of people just assume that any art exhibition is full of pretentious people talking about abstract expressionism. Sure, there is that side of the art world, but that only makes up a fraction of it and I’m not interested in that. Some people assume that we don’t have awesome artists here, that we don’t have the talent. Which artwork has stolen your heart, and why is it hard to sell it? I had favourites while I was helping the artists develop their pieces. There were a couple where I thought, “Yeah, I’m getting
by Kenji Chai this for myself.” But by the time it got to the exhibition, my relationship with each piece had evolved and it started being about finding the right home for them. I have my favourites, but the fact that I had a hand in their existence means a lot more to me than actually having them on my wall. What is the greatest challenge in starting Neon Sauce? When you’re venturing into a new territory, it’s almost impossible to gauge how much there is to do. No matter how hard you think it’s going to be, you’re rarely prepared for the reality of it because you have no frame of reference. Plus, we’re a pretty small operation, Much of the groundwork was just my wife and I. I couldn’t have done this without her. What can we expect from Gavin Yap this year? Aside from Neon Sauce’s first batch of releases, there are two more art shows planned. I’m working on my second book, a sci-fi comedy called Not From Here. I also have two films in development – one is a low budget comedy, the other, a Malay horror movie. Besides that, I don’t know ... we’ll have to wait and see, which is always fun.
by Sandra Khoo
by Michael Chuah