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Striking images and colours

Talented visual artist Jordan Wong Kui Shang speaks about his art

12 May 2020 / 10:32 H.

BORN and bred in Sabah, Jordan Wong Kui Shang shares his peculiar artwork on his @A_tas.art account on Instagram.

Though he spent his early life living with family, moving into a hostel until he graduated from university helped him to be an independent person, Jordan claims. It’s a trait that subtly bleeds into his atmospheric art.

“I remember when in the stage of choosing a course before starting my college life, it was difficult for me to choose either fashion design, performing arts or visual communication. It was because I have a lot of love and passion for these [topics]. Then I found out visual communication was more suitable for me to unleash what I am good at,” he said when theSun reached out to him.

Growing up with the vivid colours and expressions in the popular Dragon Ball manga and anime series left a mark in Wong’s art style. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang
Growing up with the vivid colours and expressions in the popular Dragon Ball manga and anime series left a mark in Wong’s art style. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang

How did you get into art?

“It was something my mother told me. She said that before I got into kindergarten, I had already started drawing. The wall, paper, photobook and everything [else] were my canvas.

“I strongly remember a feeling I had when I was five or six years old. We were having an art exam and I was enjoying it, even though I had few crayons, but I liked the moment.

“I can’t describe the satisfaction, but I think this is what is called happiness. It makes me love art and it will never have an end.”

A sample of Wong’s artwork. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang
A sample of Wong’s artwork. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang

As the @A_tas.art Instagram account is relatively new (less than one year old), what is its purpose? Because some of the art in the same style is in older posts on your main IG account.

“A_TAS is a brand of mine where I share my artwork. I had this idea in my mind, year after year, and then finally I started it last year.

“I wish to make A_TAS a creative brand which is not only involved in illustration or painting, but to also be related to streetwear, toys, music, sneaker culture, photography and cultures that I like in the future.

“Who knows, right? Therefore I need to prepare myself, create more art and bring the happiness through my art journey.”

A sample of Wong’s artwork. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang
A sample of Wong’s artwork. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang

Can you explain the meaning behind A_tas.art and the style that you use (especially the rolled back eyes)?

“The name of A_TAS is an abbreviation of the sentence ‘a something tells a story’. I wanted to make it sound local, while in another way, look international.

“I guess everyone or everything has their own stories to tell. Through A_TAS, I’ll tell mine.

“About the eyes, here is a story of this character back in 2017, before I pursued my degree.

“I was helping at my parents’ kopitiam business and one day, I was being rushed by a fussy customer. Due to her negative attitude, I tended to roll my eyes in my mind.

“It inspired me to create this character. If we try to see things from the point of view of others, the world will be better.

“I am someone who suppresses himself. In real life I usually say little, but all my words have weight. So this character best describes my inner personality, thoughts, emotions.”

A sample of Wong’s artwork. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang
A sample of Wong’s artwork. – Courtesy of Jordan Wong Kui Shang

What is your art inspired by?

“Definitely the anime series Dragon Ball. It inspired me a lot since I was a kid. The story behind it, the character designs and art direction.

“I think [Dragon Ball creator] Akira Toriyama is such a great artist. The characters are still memorable worldwide after more than 30 years. I hope one day my art will also be remembered for life.

“Currently, I am starting an art project named INTERIOR MOOD, with 100 pieces [depicting] what happened in my life, what I am expecting in the future. It is kind of documenting me during this period.

“The reason why I am using the indoors as an element, is because I think it is a lifestyle, and it can reflect someone’s personality and inner beauty.

“Therefore, I want to create my own vibe in my art and share what I love through this.”

Besides A_tas.art, what else do you do as an artist?

“Besides A_TAS, I customise sneakers, apparel and also paint murals. I am a freelance graphic designer. Maybe I will start a Youtube channel to share the process of my art, or fun stuff about art, in the future.”

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