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Adam’s artistry

Visionary young painter Adam Phong believes everyone should be able to own and collect art without paying an arm and a leg

03 Jun 2021 / 11:41 H.

ADAM PHONG is a firm believer that creativity is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.

His edgy talent and hard work can be seen in the impressive pieces that the Kuala Lumpur-born artist has shown on his Instagram account.

It is not surprising that the young creative, soon to turn 19, has already been receiving work commissions from followers.

“This year, I have been so lucky,” he said.

“I would not say I am financially independent yet. I still rely on my parents for money. But I have disposable income to spend on things I want.”

Currently, he is taking a diploma in fine arts and plans to further his studies in art overseas.

Seated Figures.
Seated Figures.

Do you remember the first time you fell in love with drawing and painting?

Yes. I was 14. My drama teacher wanted us to draw our friends without looking at the paper (blind contour drawing). My teacher loved what I produced.

What motivated you to be a painter?

What drew me to painting was the striving to learn more about myself. Creating art has always been an act of discovering my sensibilities. I have always wanted to learn more about myself.

I find that I am most honest when I paint. I do not hold anything back when I paint. I expose myself to the canvas. Through painting, I learnt to accept my strengths and weaknesses.

Who are the painters you admire?

There are two. The first is Lucien Freud. I love the way he scrutinises the human condition and human forms. He had spent two years on the same painting. He would have the same model posing for him for the two years. His portraits are very precise. They can be beautiful and at the same time, they can be tragic and grotesque.

The second is Nicholas Uribe. I love how he demystifies a painting.

He shows his painting process on YouTube. I love watching them and learning from them. I get to understand the working processes of the people I look up to, and get inspired.

The Other Girl.
The Other Girl.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I always believe in working for my inspiration and not waiting for it.

I just do not like sitting around and waiting for the right time to paint.

Oftentimes, I would sit in front of a blank canvas and start painting and see where it takes me. The process can be scary and inspiring at the same time. I trust my process and imagination.

What are your future plans?

I have plans to further my education and career in the United Kingdom. I have been to London a couple of times and have fallen in love with the city.

I feel the UK has an interesting art scene and some good art schools. Many interesting art galleries are popping up there. As an artist, I want my work to be in demand and recognised. I think that is what every artist wants.

Hunched.
Hunched.

How do you plan to be different from other artists?

I find whenever an artist tries hard to be different, his work always comes out as contrived, and the artist becomes detached from his intuition and approaches. They end up becoming someone else. I want to focus on articulating my thoughts, my ideas and my emotions faithfully on the canvas. Being different is not my priority.

What is the biggest change you would like to take place in the Malaysian art scene?

I would love to see art become more affordable and accessible to everyone. I believe everyone should be able to own and collect art without paying an arm and a leg.

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