GEORGE TOWN, May 22 — Known for his graphite and watercolour sketches of buildings and streetscapes of Penang, Ch’ng Kiah Kiean’s rise to fame in the art world is one that is almost meteoric.
The 42-year-old has been sketching and drawing buildings since his school days so naturally, he went into architecture and graduated as an architect.
He worked as an architect for a short period before venturing into graphic design for 10 years. Though he only became a full-time artist two years ago, Ch’ng held his very first solo art exhibition back in 2000, the same year he graduated from USM with a Bachelor of Architecture degree.
He held another exhibition in 2002 and by 2009, held another solo at Seni Mutiara Gallery and also published his first art book, Sketches of Pulo Pinang. The book was an instant hit. He is also one of the founder members of Urban Sketchers of Penang and is a blog correspondent of Urban Sketchers.
In 2011, he published his second compilation, Line-line Journey, which was also snapped up almost immediately after its release. By then, Ch’ng already had a large following of fans and started getting invitations to give talks and lectures on urban sketching.
He published two more books, Sketches Diary of Penang published by National Taipei University and Sketches of Asia-Pacific published by Yuan Ze University, Taipei, last year.
This year, Ch’ng showed new works after he started experimenting with twigs and ink paintings back in 2011. He recently held the Ink-Between solo exhibition at Hin Bus Depot Art Centre, his first series of ink and twig paintings of his interpretation of Nature.
Here, Ch’ng shares his story on his love for sketching and painting.