The Star Malaysia - Star2

Ink- credible illustrati­ons

- By TERENCE TOH star2@ thestar. com. my

Enjoy comics from two local artists before they literally fall off the wall.

It seems that while you can try audiences have to rush to the show ite creators by contributi­ng a minito run away from art, it will always as soon as possible before they are mum of US$ 1 ( RM4) a month. He find you again. all gone,” says Chong, who keeps a now has about 90 backers for his

For certain, it’s good to have work profile on www. instagram. work on Patreon, and works to Chong and Yong back in the art com/ ashingtray. create Artist Crisis comics for them scene. Findars looks like a giant It’s literally an off- the- wall every day. comic book with two big panels approach. Then again, Chong is not While Chong’s drawings are showing Chong and Yong’s comica man used to the convention­al. more slice- of- life, Yong’s works feel style artwork. The gallery is neatly At 24, the high- spirited KL- born more whimsical. divided for this joint exhibition, artist quit his full time job in the Many of her pieces on display with Chong’s art on one main wall printing industry to become a fullfeatur­e fantastica­l, maze- like landand Yong’s work on the other. time artist. Art is not his only callscapes, which are rich in detail.

Chong’s illustrati­ons are distincing card, though. He is also the You can also try to follow her intritive and irreverent. According to co- founder a film production comcate maps of places that exist in the artist, they are drawn as a way pany 2Men Production­s. her fertile imaginatio­n. for him to express his emotions In 2005, he started a project “It’s my own style. They’ve got a about the world around him. called the 30- Day Artist, where he ‘ Where’s Wally?’ feel. You can keep

Many are based on current created 40 paintings in 30 days. looking for things. There’s actually affairs or things in his life. You find From there, Chong released a a lot going on in them,” says Yong. musings on everything, from the graphic novel, The Boy Who Loved “When I share my work on art state of the haze to discoverie­s Clouds ( 2007), and later had his communitie­s, people actually mesmade upon watching movies alone own solo art exhibition ( at Seni sage me and send me screenshot­s to his feelings on the recent Gallery in KL in 2008). of my work, saying they found litdestruc­tion of the Puncak Purnama Travel is also part of Chong’s tle things in my work which they ( Lunar Peaks) public sculpture in interestin­g story. like. It’s nice to have people enjoy Kuala Lumpur. In 2009, he began his personal looking for things in them!” she

Visitors to the exhibition will soul- searching trek in Indonesia adds. notice a few gaps in the comics on and eventually went on to the Like Chong, Yong also had severhis wall. Apparently, during Ink United States, Angola, the Czech al jobs before turning to art. The Crisis’s opening last weekend, a Republic, Germany and Belgium, 33- year old Selangor- born artist combinatio­n of humid weather among others. He financed himself first worked as a 3D animator with and poor adhesive caused some of by doing a variety of jobs. a few game and production comChong’s artwork to fall. However, Chong realised that he panies for five years.

Instead of worrying, the artist missed art and making comics and “I mostly did 3D buildings. I was realises this is a blessing in diseventua­lly returned to Malaysia in working on racing games and I guise, especially since the works in 2014. had to do the ( background) enviquesti­on touched on “sensitive” And so, for the second time, ronment. I made lots of buildings. issues. Chong finds himself having to And I found I loved architectu­re. I

“I’m not planning to put any artmake a new beginning in the arts. loved drawing and modelling work back up once they have fallFortun­ately, he discovered Patreon, buildings, but I didn’t like making en. This is to give a sense of life a crowd- funding platform that them look realistic,” explains Yong. expectancy to this art show, where allows fans to support their favour- “I spent a lot of creative energy WHEN you first hear about Ink Crisis, the latest exhibition at Findars art space in Kuala Lumpur, your first impulse may be to worry. Are we really having an ink crisis? How serious is it? How can we write or draw without precious ink?

As it turns out, however, there’s no cause for alarm. The exhibition’s title combines the two projects on show – Stephanie Yong’s Inksalad Illustrati­ons and Chong Chin Yew’s Artist Crisis.

It’s a cute combinatio­n. The name, however, is fitting for this exhibition. Yong and Chong have one thing in common: they are both talented artists who took long breaks from drawing, before rediscover­ing their passion.

“My story starts way back ... about seven years ago. I was doing comics and art for many years, but I wasn’t making money. So I quit everything, packed my bags and left the country. I travelled for about five years, and never picked up a brush in all that time,” recalls Chong, 35, during a recent interview at Findars.

Yong also mentions that she had other jobs before returning to art.

“I hadn’t picked up a brush in 10 years and I hadn’t drawn for about six or seven years! I did a lot of drawing with a mouse. And that’s click, click, click! To me, that’s not really drawing,” says Yong, an art graduate. on my job. I had no time for my own stuff and I started to burn out.”

She quit the gaming scene and moved into other areas, becoming a pastry chef and then helping her friend in a dessert shop.

During slow days without any customers, she resorted to drawing to entertain herself. This rekindled her love for drawing. Later, she quit the food industry and became a full- time freelance illustrato­r. There was no looking back. Her work can be viewed at facebook. com/ inksalad.

To some, an artistic job can sometimes be challengin­g, but Yong insists that it offers a sense of fulfillmen­t.

“It’s been a huge change, from the old job to this one, in terms of self- improvemen­t, and loving what I do. I needed to direct my talent somewhere more useful, instead of wasting it in the office where I wasn’t enjoying myself,” says Yong with a laugh.

“I’m poorer now, but I’m a lot happier. I feel my long term satisfacti­on is a lot higher now than when I was working in the office, feeling miserable every day!” she concludes.

is on at Findars, 4th Floor, No. 8 Jalan Panggong in Kuala Lumpur till Sept 3. The gallery is open every day except Monday from noon to 7pm. For more info, visit facebook. com/ findars.

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