Strokes of femininity

MOST creative people are fuelled to create because they have this inherent desire to express themselves. And it is no different for fashion illustrator Celine Wong, or better known as Lihuà.

“Art captivates me because it gives me the space, freedom and ability to express my thoughts and feelings. I can pour my innermost emotions onto the canvas and expose myself completely, yet I can hide behind the image and remain almost anonymous and that is truly liberating,” said the 26-year-old.

Fascinated by women’s curves, “beautiful features” and human gestures, Wong uses mixed mediums such as traditional Chinese ink, watercolour and digital tools to create. She, and hence her work, is influenced by calligraphy as “it helps to capture the natural flow of the female form”.

“I have always had a passion for art. It was why I pursued my education in it and built my career around art. I used to work as a fine art lecturer and I’m now a passionate illustrator.”

Through an email interview, theSun caught up with this highly talented illustrator who recently graduated and is now working on her graduation showcase in Birmingham, United Kingdom.

You have 10 years of experience in traditional Chinese calligraphy. How did you get started with this art?

I was exposed to it since young because learning calligraphy is somehow a tradition in my family. I didn’t fancy it at first because I had to sit quietly at the desk for two hours to practise – for a five-year-old, that’s akin to a torture sentence!

Nevertheless, I stuck to it, developed my skills, and by the time I reached college, I started using it as a form of meditation.

Which of your many projects are you most proud of?

Every project has given me a different sense of achievement hence they have their own special places in my heart. Piece by piece, they have shaped my skill, direction and vision that made me who I am today. Therefore, it would be unfair to give any project more gravitas than the other as they all serve an equal role in my – personal and professional – development.

Compared to when you first started, has your illustrating style changed?

I wouldn’t say it has changed per se, but it has evolved. In the beginning, I learnt by emulating the works and styles of other artists. Once I’d nailed their techniques, I’d incorporate other styles into my work and eventually create my own voice. I feel that I have created a unique brand by learning from other styles.

Why are you fascinated by women’s curves, “beautiful features” and human gestures?

Every individual has his/her very own form of gestures and curves, and these quirks tell stories about them. Shapes portray attitude, gestures portray personality; what could be more interesting and challenging than this?

Art is a subjective matter; some may like your work and some may not. With this in mind, have you ever gotten any criticism and how do you deal with it?

Of course there will always be people who don’t like your work, and they’re entitled to their opinions. Being an artist in the public domain is a great exercise in patience, and it helps you to understand your self-worth too. I know my weaknesses and I know that I can always improve, thus whenever I’m criticised I’ll put a smile on my face and say thank you for the advice.

What do you think is most important in art?

To feel alive. To be alive. To create and have a positive outlet to channel my energies.


Best vacation: Amsterdam

Dislike: Raw tomatoes

Hometown: Kedah

Instagram handle: @artoflihua

Projects: Esmod KL Fashion Show, Chanel, Steel & Jelly and more