What's the Tea? - Keng Wai Lee for Bagman and Robin
The Fringe is England’s largest Art Festival. This year we are featuring 5 artists, the first one we start with is Malaysian born artist Keng Wai Lee.
Keng Wai tells us that the artworks for this exhibition are a subtle hint of what he is delving about the state of our isolated being. He enlarges living organisms, avian beings, flora and fauna etc and juxtaposes them into something fun, amusing, a bit political, dangerous, and mysterious.
Using “The Wizard of Oz” he figures how to have courage, heart
and brains. Keng Wai comes to the conclusion: all of us at some point,
would know who we really are, and then metaphorically will
be at HOME with ourselves. He considers we do not really need the man
behind the green curtain for advice as he turns out to be a fraud.
By creating a story, Keng Wai gives the viewer a lasting impression,
inspiring and evoking memories.
Keng Wai was trained in Fine Art and worked as a Visual Merchandiser, Freelance Visual artist among other things.
He spent his childhood in the Far East, where as a teenager was fanatical about goldfish [he had 7 large and small tanks]. His dad kept numerous chickens in the yard before it was outlawed. Keng Wai used to make up stories for them, imagining what they would be thinking, doing chores etc. The background was usually a metaphor /story of his journey
Next, some Q&A with this fabulous artist.
Art5: Where do you live?
Art5: Since when have you been an artist?
I had a proper go at being an artist in 2008.
Art5: What would you call your style of art?
Art5: Did you study Art or are you self-taught? What did you study?
Art5: Is painting a full-time job or do you do another thing? If you also do
something else, what is it?
I have a company who designs and make bags and accessories with a shop in London.
Art5: Favourite or most inspirational place?
Art5: What are your hobbies?
Art5: Where do you paint?
In my work and live workshop
Art5: What mediums do you work with?
Mostly acrylic on canvas
Art5: Professionally, what is your goal?
Have a niche enough market to make a living
Art5: Does personal history work its way into your practice? How might who you are
be reflected in your current work?
Identity is a great part of my work. It is about fitting in and that's why I use subject matters that is alien to my culture.
Art5: What are you presently inspired by— are there particular things you are
reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
I like looking at the minute or smaller things around me, hence walking in the woods or rainforest (whenever possible)
Art5: How has your style changed over the years?
I am slowly experimenting with looser and more expressive style
Art5: What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition?
Art5: What makes you laugh?
When people talk rubbish loudly on the bus on their phone
Art5: What is art for you?
It is an extension or a creative process.
Art5: Three things in your bucket list.
Art5: Where is your favourite place in the world?
Any island with a huge forest
Art5: Who are your favourite artists?
Mark Ryden , Ryan Hewett, Alberto Bustos among the many
Art5: What is the most challenging part about being an artist?
Art5: What is the best part about creating art?
The manipulation of color
Art5: What is indispensable in your art studio?
Music or talk radio
Art5: What’s your favourite website?
Any plant websites
Art5: How would your best friends describe you?
Big potato and an idiot.
Art5: What do you worry about and why?
For me this a tomato or tomato question
Art5: How do you define success?
Making a living with art, have someone you love and a pet doggie
Art5: What does family mean to you?
There is a biological family and friends that I treat as family and I love them all
Art5: Who has inspired you in your life and why?
My partner for being understanding and supportive.
Art5: Your favourite book or author?
To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee
Art5: What is your favourite food?
Pleeeease , I just love FOOD
Art5: What is the most interesting thing about you?
My super power ability to be a wallflower
Art5: What are you the most grateful for?
For having the gift of managing to do things with my hand.
Art5: What words of wisdom would you pass unto your childhood self?
Learn how to clap back faster
Art5: How do you want to be remembered?
There are quite a few of my work around, they will probably remember me a bit, nothing grand.
Art5: Do you have pets?
Yes, Rosie, a smelly Jack Russell.
Art5: What’s your fondest childhood memory?
The beach and roadside food stalls
Art5: What music do you listen to? Do you paint with music?
Soppy easy listening
Art5: What makes you cry?
Art5: What is “home” to you?
Wherever I am at the moment!
Art5: What motivates you to succeed?
Focus on your own journey and not look at your neighbours.
Art5: In what ways are you the same as your childhood self?
Art5: How long have you been with ART5? How did your relationship with ART5 start; we contacted you or vice versa?
A little more than a year. I was introduced by an artist friend Vivian Borsani .
Art5: What are your favourite mediums to work with?
Acrylic on Canvas
Art5: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Just keep your head down and WERK