As computer graphics software transformed arts from sketches and strokes to pixels, canvas to screen, visual arts has acquired a new horizon. The almost infinite possibilities for expression, given the ease of customizing various brushes, ink and effects on a digital palette aside, digital is perhaps the best medium for discursive artworks about the current era. The attraction has moved some conventional artists to embrace digital in their practices: British painter David Hockney’s series “The Arrival of Spring” (2013) was executed on iPad, while American conceptual artist John Baldessari’s “Engravings with Sounds” (2015) blurs the line between digital painting and printmaking. Similarly in the local scene, noteworthy artwork has been created by an emerging class of artists educated in traditional techniques and has professional background in graphic illustration and animation. Their work synthesizes the sense of the contemporary and the ageless appeal of paintings. Top 10 of Malaysia takes a look at its random list of the nation’s top ten digital artists who are taking arts to a new dimension.
Muid Latif began his career as a multimedia designer, working in web agencies and design companies since 2001 after graduating in Fine Arts, University Technology MARA (UiTM) and was the Multimedia Specialist for the pre-production team of the 2011 International Emmy nominated ‘Saladin, The 3D Animated Series’. His works are an exploration into the essence of culture and heritage elements such as musical instruments, traditional fabrics, the nature and female portraiture.
He participated as a digital artist at local and international exhibitions in Malaysia, Singapore Indonesia, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Germany and UK. He was the first digital artist in Malaysia to perform live digital art with the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. A part of being the Lead Project for Creative Commons Malaysia and the Behance (an online art platform by Adobe) Malaysia Ambassador, Muid who was recently certified as ‘Creative Industry Expert’ by the Malaysian Ministry of Human Resources under the Department of Skills Development and MSC Malaysia to assist and encourage greater creative standards among Malaysians especially in the education and creative industry.
Poodien (Shaifuddin Mamat)
A contemporary artist with vast experience in fine arts, Poodien started working with digital medium to create works that comment on the evolution of language and image making in modern era. As with his creations in fine art, Poodien’s digital artworks feature themes such as representation, originality, reproducible reality, symbolic meaning and political and economic issues. He is known for Long Live Food, originally produced for a commission by Publika but went into exhibitions locally and in Singapore. The Great Hyperreality (showcased here) continues the exploration on the subject matter of symbolism and reality.
He attended the Universiti Teknologi Mara Sri Iskandar, Perak, Malaysia where he received his Diploma in Fine Arts. He has exhibited his work in exhibitions throughout Asia, among those the Kuala Lumpur 7th Triennale’ at MAP@Publika in 2013 and the Buka Jalan International Performance Art Festival’ at National Visual Arts Gallery of Malaysia in 2011. He is also a recipient of the Malaysian Emerging Artist (MEA) Award in 2009.
Chong Fei Giap
Chong Fei Giap has worked in the creative industry for over 8 years after graduating from The One Academy. His works are often recognizable by a deep background with fine details and occupied by characters that are anime-like yet familiarly local. He is the co-founder of Running Snail Studio, an illustration production studio and in the span of 3 years, garnered commissions from Petronas, AmBank, Astro, Lexus and Toyota. He is also the creator of the brand Loka Made which manufactures items designed with arts and local culture in mind. Chong Fei Giap is selected as one of the judges of Nando Arts Initiative 2016.
Tang Yau Hoong
Tang Yau Hoong graduated with Mechanical Engineering degree in Universiti Tenaga Nasional 8 years ago but went straight into designs and illustration full time. A self-taught digital artist, his work is conceptually surreal, open-ended and abstract. His favourite elements are optical illusion and negative space delivered with simple lines and hand drawn touch. He works with various clients from advertising, editorial, and many other design projects. Among his long list of clients are Nike, TED and various foreign publications including Harvard Business Review and The Observer.
When he is not doing commercial work he enjoys making art and immerses himself in his personal projects to create images that inspire people to see things in a different perspective.
Charis studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design and has a Bachelor degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Brown University. Her approach to digital art is versatile but grounded in the priority of the subject matter. She enjoys taking on a wide range of projects, adapting her visual language and style to fit each subject and to create images that tell stories.
Upon returning to Malaysia after graduation, she taught in public schools for two and a half years before leaving to pursue freelance illustration. She has worked on editorial illustrations, book covers, children’s books, posters, character design, and game art. Her clients include Esquire Malaysia, MidValley City Sdn Bhd, Magicbird Publishing, BorderPass Inc., and the Brown University Science Center. In 2015 she won the Doodict Collisions live-doodling competition at Publika as part of CAFKL, and her ‘Scientraits’ series was recently recognized with a Merit Award from the 3×3 International Illustration Show.
Valen Lim Chong Chin
Valen Lim graduated from the One Academy with a major in Advertising and Graphic Design. His digital artwork is characterized by geometrical forms, clean-lines, colorful and texture-rich.
He started out working as a tutor in a college and selling his personally designed badges, sticker and postcard at flea markets and exhibitions in Penang where he was born. After a short stint as part time designer at China House, the “longest cafe in Penang”, Valen’s work started attracting attention and he soon received commission work from other companies. In the span of 3 years after graduating Valen has worked with Ritz Carlton and Fahrenheit Suites, Esquire (Malaysia) magazine, MAS inflight magazines Going Places, and WWF Malaysia as well as foreign graphic illustration studios. He is also one of the collaborators in Loka Made by Chong Fei Giap.
Valen is a recipient of notable portfolio award from Behance at its Georgetown Review Night.
Vince Low came to public attention through his portraits of famous personalities who are dyslexic, rendered with his signature scribble style. To date his “scribble” art has been featured in The Daily Mail and Huffington Post and exhibited in Singapore. The unique style aside, Vince Low strives to fully capture the spirit behind the faces of his “scribbles” be it famous figures or animal portraitures.
He graduated from the One Academy and has worked in various agencies as graphic designer and creative director. He has produced award winning artwork for campaigns such as Fluff and Stuff Cookies. Vince believes that spectacular art can be created digitally and society should take digital art more seriously.
Maghfirah Rifaad graduated from International Islamic University of Malaysia with an architecture degree but decided to leave the architectural world to pursue her dream of becoming a children’s book illustrator. Her artworks are characterized by whimsical, innocent, dream-like and warm imaginary. She has participated in the SCBWI Children’s Book Festival Exhibition 2011 and published a children book which she illustrated.
She has worked with various publishing houses as well as the Ministry of Education as a textbook illustrator. She currently works as a storyboard artist at Les’ Copaque Productions Sdn Bhd, an animation company in Malaysia.
Zharif Safian graduated from Universiti Teknologi Mara in Graphic Design & Digital Media. His artwork is retrospective and texturized in order to convey mood and feelings. Often Zharif draws inspiration from the evocative power of film imaginaries as well as by storytellers such as Neil Gailman.
He has produced commission work for various organizations including the National Cancer Council Malaysia (MAKNA) and TNB Energy Services and currently working as freelance book illustrator and mobile game animator.
Tan Yong Lin
Tan Yong Lin is still a student at the Multimedia University but his photography and digital artwork has already garnered a long list of accolades. Among the prizes he won are the Sony World Photography Awards 2015 (Youth Photographer of the Year) for photography, Shortlist of Nando’s Arts Initiative Award 2014 and the Grand Prize of Nando’s Arts Initiative 2015 for digital arts. At the tender of age of 20, Yong Lin has already produced a commission work for GIVI Asia.
His digital artworks are inspired by Surrealism with heavy photo manipulation, brush and paintings effects. He believes that making art is to bring something to life and deliver a message which could move the audience.