The journey of pursuing art is never been an easy one, as there has been a stigma saying that art career does not guarantee a stable income. However, some still hang on to their passion for arts and they are determined to show you their world of arts. Here’re two renowned local artists and their intriguing stories about their art journey.

Ken Ooi

Ken Ooi Chee Kang, who is commonly known as Ken Sir, is a penang-born visual artist. Having huge passion for arts, Ken is keen in pursuing arts after he finished his high school. However, due to his family financial constraint, He worked in electronics firms and supermarkets for a year to earn for his college fees before he enrolled in Penang Art Institute in Penang. His perseverance and determination led him to his graduation in the Advertising Graphic Design Department and the Department of Pure Art. He had won the Best Student Award in the Advertising Graphic Design Department.

His journey of becoming a full-time painter was never been easy. After graduation, Ken had also worked as an illustrator for children’s books for eight years. Credit to his persistence, Ken started to gain more attention in the arts field. His works had earned him some awards such as the Gold Award from the Penang Outstanding Young Painter, Excellence Award in the National Watercolor Creation Awards of Malaysia, and the first Shida Outdoor Art Jury Prize.

Besides that, his works was also awarded to galleries such as the Penang Gallery, private galleries, Bangkok University Hospital, Xuelong Chaozhou Guild Hall and private collectors and institutions in various countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, China, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. His works were also featured in the Penang Gallery Permanent Collection, the Penang’s masterpieces and also as the back cover of the Hong Kong Literature Magazine.

1. Blooming Flower Series- Merriment (Oil On Canvas) – Photo credited to Raymond Gallery
2. Night Serenade (Oil On Canvas) – Photo credited to Raymond Gallery
3. A Nice Day (Oil On Canvas) – Photo credited to Raymond Gallery

Ken had also participated in more than 40 joint exhibitions locally and even abroad such as Singapore, Thailand, China, and Taiwan. Throughout his 30-year career, he had also held two solo art exhibitions: The Colours Of Imagery in Penang and The Colours Of Imagery II.

Ken, a member of the Penang Watercolour Society and Penang Art Society, constantly shows great optimism through his artwork. Here’re some of his artwork that illustrate his skilful play of colour and composition.

Tang Yeok Khang

Tang Yeok Khang is another penang-born visual artist who specializes in painting and he is expert in designing. Since young, Tang’s potential in arts has been recognised. At the age of 14, his art work was collected by an art gallery’s owner. At the age of 16, he was awarded as one of the winners of Penang Top 10 Young Artist Award. At the age of 19, his art work, ‘Malaysian Scenery’ earned him an award in Public Finance Art Competition and it was sold to the Malaysian National Art Gallery.

Though he was born in Bukit Mertajam, he has been based in Kuala Lumpur over 15 years to study Interior Design in Malaysian Institute Of Art. He was awarded The Best Student Award of Interior Design Department by Malaysian Institute of Art. Instead of starting as an interior designer after his graduation, Tang dabbed into illustrations while working as a freelancer. He had established his own landscaping designer firm afterwards. In the year of 2010, he became a full-time artist who started to exhibit, travel and paint in
some of the Asia and Europe regions recently.

Being a skilful artist, it is indisputable that Tang had won some awards along his art career. He had won an Honourable Award in the Castelli Design Award (Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore) and the Laman Merit Award in the The Malaysia International Landscape & Garden Festival 2006. He also earned himself a consolation prize in the 2nd Putrajaya National Water Colour Painting Competition and also a Platinum Award in the 2 nd UOB Painting of the Year Competition.

Furthermore, his art works were collected by some respected institutions, including Malaysia National Portrait Gallery, Petronas Gallery, Penang State Art Gallery, Malayan Banking Berhad and United Overseas Bank. He had also held his solo exhibition in the year of 2010, namely ‘Urban Stroller’ in Kuala Lumpur.

Digging deeper into Tang’s art career, you will then realise he never stops to explore other alternatives to arts. Since 2011, he started arts activities that aimed to promote the public interest and welfare of the community. For instance, the 2016 & 2017 George City World Heritage Festival, the 2014 Charismatic International Art Festival, the 2011 Shashalan International Art Festival, and nonetheless the 101 Lost Kittens street art project which is quite well-known among the locals and also the foreigners.

Photo credited to Mural photo citation: http://escapology.eu/2013/10/17/street-art-and-cat-frenzy-in-penang/

Tang is certainly one of the local artists you should never missed as he uses a variety of medium such as charcoal, watercolour and acrylic to portray different circumstances of human being with some sense of surreal and mystery. Here’re some of his artwork.

  1. Bedtime Story (Acrylic on Canvas) – Photo credited to Raymond Gallery
  2. Memory of Tomorrow (Acrylic on Canvas) – Photo credited to Raymond Gallery
  3. A Distanced Love (Acrylic on Canvas) – Photo credited to Raymond Gallery

If you are interested in any of these artists’ art work, you can always go online and search for Raymond Gallery. Raymond Gallery is a virtual and digital art gallery that aims to provide an online platform for the local artists and to allow more people around the world to expand their horizons about art.

Address: 12, Tingkat Mahsuri 1, 11900 Bayan Lepas, Pulau Pinang.
Operation Hours: Mon to Fri, 9.30am to 6.30pm, off on Sat and Sun
Website: https://raymond.gallery/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Raymond-Gallery/

Photo credited to Raymond Gallery
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