What do you do?
I make colourful and playful abstract paintings.
What's your background?
I was born in Penang, Malaysia. I am a second-generation Malaysian of South Indian heritage. My mother tongue is Tamil. I received primary and most of my secondary education in a government-run Malay-medium school. I completed secondary education in Australia with a Victorian High School Certificate under an international student exchange programme. I went on to obtain a bachelor's degree and professional qualification in the United Kingdom. I worked and lived in Kuala Lumpur before moving to Melbourne in 2005.
When did you start your career in art?
I've always been creative and dabbled in making art throughout my life. As a teenager, I was keen on pursuing a fine art degree, but family obligations took me in a different direction. About 7 years ago, I threw caution to the wind and gave up my chosen profession to go on an inward journey of self-discovery and to fulfil my teenage dream of making art full time.
Have you had any formal training in art?
I am primarily a self-taught artist. I have had a modest amount of instruction during a short course at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne.
Why do you make this type of art?
The artworks are an integral part of my quest to discover 'Who am I?' beyond the body, mind, and emotions. Each piece captures a moment in time along the journey.
What inspires you to paint?
Mostly, inspiration comes from within. Sometimes, I am moved to experiment by artful images or interesting works by other artists.
What would you like to say to the audience?
The artworks are intended to speak to the inner child in the audience. I would be pleased if those who come into contact with my work took a little time to contemplate these three questions without over-thinking: 'Does this art engage my attention?'; 'What do I see?'; 'How do I feel?'
What art do you most identify with?
I love all forms of artistic expression. The artwork could be realistic or abstract; it's not so much the genre or level of skill, but how an artwork speaks to me that really matters. I like some artworks for their aesthetics and others for their imaginative or intellectual content.
What is your attitude towards creativity in society?
Creativity is woven into everything that we see, hear, and do. Art is creativity in its purest form. By making time for art, one can find relief from the tedium of everyday life and seek balance in a world unduly focused on material success.
How do you name the artworks?
The artworks are untitled and referenced by sequential numbers, for example, S261/2018, S262/2019 and so on.
Why don't you give the artworks a title?
Most people have a tendency to view artworks through the lens of the artist; often, they are influenced by names and titles. By abstaining from descriptions, I invite my audience to have subjective visceral experiences and arrive at their own conclusions as to what they see and feel.
What is the purpose of repetition in your work?
In my work, repetition represents theme, rhythm, and movement in what otherwise might be considered random juxtapositions of shapes, colours, and lines. Some artists might find any form of repetition a challenge because they consider it uninspiring and boring. However, I am of the opinion that it's not possible to explore the furthest depth of creativity without keeping your focus in one direction.
What’s integral to the work of an emerging artist?
I believe it's consistency. Artists who consistently produce artworks that exhibit focus, personal voice, and aesthetic sensibility show a strong commitment to their practice; they have the potential to gain a devoted following and pique the interest of serious collectors.
What’s your favourite memory of childhood?
I grew up in Taiping, Perak, a small town that is known for its natural surroundings: tropical jungle, hills, rivers, waterfalls, and lakes. We lived in a working-class neighbourhood where most parents could hardly make ends meet; so, children were left to their own devices for fun and entertainment. My fondest memories of childhood are mainly of times spent outdoors playing and having all sorts of adventure. Those who are close to me know I am still a fun-loving, playful, and mischievous kid at heart.
How has your lifestyle changed since you began this journey?
My lifestyle has not changed much. I still enjoy all the pleasures that life has to offer and have my ups and downs like everyone else. My beliefs and outlook on life have become much simpler after embarking on this journey. I do not believe spiritual awareness leads to a stoic path in life; on the contrary, it has the potential to liberate us from the shackles of misconceptions and renew our sense of freedom and playfulness.
What's your approach to a happy life?
Everyone is creating their own subjective reality either consciously or by default. There is no such thing as objective reality because two people at the same place and time could be having completely different experiences. There is no way of getting into the head of another to verify what they see, hear, and feel. What we perceive as here and now could be another place and time for someone else; therefore, existential reality is unique to the perceiver.
Happiness comes from within and not without—it's a state of being. Attention is what keeps something pleasant or unpleasant in our personal experience. Pay little or no attention to unpleasant experiences and they will either morph into something pleasing or be removed and replaced by something different altogether. We cannot change unpleasant experiences by force or resistance. We also cannot avoid unpleasant experiences because contrasting experiences are an inherent part of life, but we can certainly reduce their gravity or impact by turning our attention away. Attention is the key to managing happiness.
What does being an artist mean to you?
To me, being an artist is experiencing inner peace, joy, and contentment through creativity and self-expression.
What are your aspirations and goals?
As an artist, I hope to consistently produce and exhibit new works. Personally, my aim is to be inwardly focused and simply be myself - warts and all - through the ebb and flow of life experiences.
Click HERE to read Artist Statement & CV.