Some say I’m living a dream. I work at my own pace, do the things I want to do, I learn the things I want to learn.
I sit here in my studio all day at any time I want, to paint, to practice, to learn, to listen to music, to watch documentaries, to read, to take courses, to catch up with friends, to watch birds hanging out in my tree, or just day dreaming, doing things I appreciate and enjoy, in a setting where I breathe lush forest and wide sky in a quiet neighbourhood at the corner of a suburban city.
The view outside my balcony.
It was never use to be like that.
I was always fond of art and design when I was younger. Making handmade cards to sell in school, making paper dolls so that I can design my own dresses, volunteering to paint to school murals, while my academic studies was just, average.
When I finished high school and it was time to decide on the field I would like to pursue, art and design was on my mind but was quickly out of the picture because of hefty course fees my family couldn’t afford. I remember my father said the field in design cannot make money, don't do that. So, I took up a decent course in hotel management and thought it would be a fun thing to do, talking to guests in a resort like how it seems to be from a Korean drama I happened to watch when I was finishing high school. I only lasted a year working in a hotel and soon found interest in something else.
I was once that young adult, the one that was ready to serve the world, like any other average youngster, being educated just enough and get a decent job so that I can start paying my own bills. If you ask me, sure, I gave my all when I was doing jobs, but it never really last long. I was a wandering soul while my friends are climbing up the corporate ladder driving expensive cars and thinking about which property to invest.
But I was always searching for the next thing to do.
That’s how life supposed to be, isn’t it?
I worked for 8 years in four to five different commercial industries before I decided to take that leap of faith. I wasn't fulfilled as an employee and I didn't know where was I going. I quit without a plan. I had few things in mind, I had an immense faith in my project idea I could do, overtime it worn out because of the lack of know-how and it is probably something I did not want to do for long (though it is with my truest intention I want to do great), but none of them really worked out. I burnt all my savings while trying to figure things out, even taking up a personal loan to help me through the toughest time, going through a short phase of depression and no one really knew what I was going through. How did I end up doing art? I remember I was using painting and drawing as a form of escape when I find it so stressful at the office. I looked forward to go home and paint and do something. My friends find it surprising that I could draw and gave me support that I should take this seriously, I never thought it would be possible. Art couldn't make money and I do not have any formal education. After I leave the corporate life, things started to fall into place. I use my time creating paintings, I started to get jobs and commissioned art projects the following year. I was slowly gaining back some confidence and money, and I survived all of it somehow.
If there is one thing I would say about this is that I get the calls I get because people have faith in me, and that is all there is. They see it in me, and they believed me.
I did it because of the people who believed in me. I gave my all, and I do not want to disappoint them, whether is freelance jobs, commissioned jobs, or a friendly collaboration.
I was lucky to be invited for a Pecha Kucha PJ 2017 presentation on my work. I recalled a part where I said...
People say: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail. In my case, failing to plan, gave me so much flexibility to allow anything to happen to me.
I let it flow on its own.
So far, it has been great.
When I look back at my work, I realise the uncanny resemblance to my actual life:
bits and piece of things mash up together, A beautiful mess.
When I look back at my work, and the kind of visuals I gravitate towards,
I cannot explain why I like the things I like.
Maybe art isn’t for people to understand, BUT TO FEEL.
Sure, I didn't know why I did what I did. I just like it and I was attracted to it. I'm still trying to find it out.
Seth Godin is my kinda guy. He made a lot of sense to me: People like us do things like this
It has been almost four years now. I have worked with several brands including Urbanscapes, Redbull, L’Officiel Malaysia, Heineken Malaysia, fitness brand locally and internationally, and a few others, every big and small project are huge to me. It took me ten years to find myself and be where I'm at today, and I do not regret the path I took because of how it shaped me for who I am today. Still, I was always searching for something outside there. Something more complex, something more meaningful.
I came to realised that I shouldn't be looking so far. I was there all along and I couldn't see it. I couldn't see myself. Green is not always greener on the other side if you know what you stand for and believe in your values.
On my next project, I want to do it for people like me, the people who value the meaning of home like I do, as I present to you my visuals I made for home spaces. Coming soon in Feb 2019.
This is not yet my destination. My destination is HOME. I'll write it in my next entry. I am always on the next project, I just keep on going, and be uncomfortable.
Some say I’m living a dream. I think so too. :)
If you ever feel like you are lost, that's okay because it's not for long. Own Your Story. A dear friend of mine written beautifully about her story in her first book.
See you on the next.