Art became a means to connect with my Father.

I was born in Penang to a family of hawkers. Growing up I seldom see my parent and instead it was my grandmother that cared for and brought me up. Everyday, my parents will have lunch at home prepared by my grandmother and it is during this precious 1 hour that my father will help me with my homework.

I did not like art and drawing initially. 1 experienced that changed that was when my homework was to draw a “Goldfish”. I hated drawing as it is so difficult. That day, my father spent a few hours teaching me to draw. He and I was so happy drawing that he was late for work. By the time we had finished, it was already 6.30pm and my father decided to rest that day and took me out for a ride and we spent the rest of day together. This was 1 of my happiest memory. This experience changed my interest and planted a seed of passion in art in me.

Art became a means to connect with my father.

I started helping my parents in the noodle stall since the age of 12. I learn to cook and serve “Wan Tan Noodle” and during my free time, I will take out my sketch book and draw. I would draw anything and mostly artistic representations of Chinese words like “Loong” (Dragon). My father would still help me as I perfect the art of drawing sketches.

At the age of 17, my parents sent me to college to study advertising. Upon completion, I joined one of the biggest advertising agencies in Penang and over the next 25 years in the profession, I won numerous awards. My last position was that of an Art Director. Somehow, deep inside me, although the career was flying high, there was a missing part. I left the corporate world to find that missing piece in me.

So I went back to help my parents in their noodle stall. One day i sent my daughter to Madam Cheong's gallery to learn jewelry making. It was then that Madam Cheong saw me drawing on a paper cup with a black marker while waiting for my daughter. She liked my style of art and encouraged me to draw on canvas using only black and white acrylic. Thus begins my new life in art.

Having my own solo exhibition is a dream come true and I am truly grateful and thankful for the opportunity to have been able to do this.

Although art will never be as popular as football, the growing interest in the local art market is helping local artists to flourish and my vision is that everyone who brings home a piece of my art bring home with them a masterpiece that is symbolic of my life.
Gary ChuahC