Updated: Mar 8, 2019
Eleventh edition of the "Who's Next?" Initiative features:
Tsang Yuet Lam
This interview shares with us Yeye Tsang's incredible journey of self discovery and how she found her way to becoming the artists she is today!
Q. For someone who is new to your work, please tell us what you're trying to express through your paintings? What are they about? What message are you trying to convey?
A. What I aim to do in my artwork is to capture the subjective imagery in my mind from my visuals. I always recognise virtual images that come from my imaginations point of view. They are hidden in nature, in the city, in my life, and in my canvas. My paintings change as my mood changes, my work is like a mirror, reflecting my inner mood and my perception on the world.
In this day and age, people believe that the real world is what we see in our eyes. But is this the case? We will never know because we are in it. The message I want to convey is: Everything has their own meaning, even if it seems illusory, because our world view, is ever-changing dependant on our will, emotions and attitude.
Q. What is the best thing about being an artist?
A. The best thing about being an artist is that I can speak through my art. My art has also helped me understand myself on a much deeper level.
Q. Tell us about your journey and how you became a painter?
A. When I was a child, I was a magical person. Then growing up I slowly became an ordinary person. Parents spent money to let me go to school, then I worked to earn money to support them. Ever since I was a kid I've always loved to paint. Then I became a seasonal product designer. Had drawn design layouts for more than ten years in order to make products which can sell.
After my daughter was born, I decided to stay at home and take care of her by myself. When my daughter was about two years of age, she showed me a drawing. There were three different sized ovals and each one have two dots and a row inside, and three hairs that were sticking out on top. I had an urge to cry when I looked at her drawing. I was aware in that moment that something was missing in my life.
My life is like a pack of scattered jigsaw puzzle pieces. I pick them up piece by piece yet the whole image still could not be formed because the most important pieces were gone.
So I restarted to create my art. I just followed my heart and painted. I had no idea how to become a painter.
Change, sometimes comes from an idea that suddenly arises. One day, I was drawing something to decorate my home with. At that moment, in the winter of 2013, I made up my mind that I will not give up creating art for the rest of my life. I know I want to be a painter, always have. I started putting my work on an online gallery and getting some attention. After that, I applied to exhibit my artworks at public places, and quickly received positive response. This was the beginning of my journey in becoming a painter.
Q. Does Hong Kong inspire you? What are some other things in your life that influence your artworks?
A. Everything in life can be my source of inspiration, and I live in Hong Kong, so Hong Kong has definitely inspire me. In my world, everything is connected to the power of life. Entity, shadow and air, they are the containers of the soul.
Once in an exhibition, a lady asked me why there are some small creatures in my painting’s background? What do they mean? I told her that those are the audience. Just imagine, if all the elements on Earth had an independent life, then the effect on you is : There are always some friends in your way no matter where you go.
When I was a little girl, every night, the light was turned off as I laid down on my bed, some strange creatures started to appear one by one. It was because during daytime, a jacket was being hung up, however it looked like a monster in the dark. I understood that it was nothing but a shadow, but as a little girl I was very scared. Gradually, I came to realise that the only way to move them away is to change my mindset. If I feel fear, I will see some terrible things from it; if I feel happy, I will see interesting things from it. Inspiration, very often comes from ‘how you see things”.
Q. Why did you choose to use Acrylic paint?
A. I used to struggle when using acrylic or oil paints. I created many artwork using oil paint and used acrylic as my paintings bottom layer during these last few years. But today, I mainly use acrylic. I often paint by overlapping and glazing skill. My artwork has so many layers. The fast drying characteristic of acrylic is very suitable for me. I don't have to calculate the ratio of thinners and oil in each layer, and don’t need to estimate the possible chemical effects when pigments penetrating the bottom layer. So acrylic is a lot more flexible for me to use. I love it.
Q. What advice can you give the younger generation of artists?
A. Never forget why you want to create art from the beginning. When expectation, identification, valuation, population are going to enter into your artistic career, don't let those things interfere with your potential, and turn you into a mediocre artist. Don’t forget your original intention, never forget this and it will lead you to the right path.
It was Geneyclee Gallery's pleasure interviewing Tsang Yuet Lam
Do make sure you follow her journey by following her on social media
Next Who's Next? article - 20th December 2018.