HER heart has been in art since childhood. But as Yong Hui Lin grew up, her mind told her that it could not offer a stable livelihood.
Realistically, she decided that her talent in art should be her hobby instead of a profession.
She started giving lessons in science and maths for a living, but could not give up on her dream.
“My life is incomplete without art,” she said.
Three years ago, she enrolled in the Malaysian Institute of Art and obtained a diploma in Fine Arts last year.
Within a short span of time, her works have scored awards at several art competitions such as Usaha Tegas Heritage Art, Live Sketch Art Decor and Art Against AIDS.
“For me, every award is the best compliment on my work,” she said.
“They motivate me to fulfil my ambition to be an artist.”
Most of her works highlight Malaysian Chinese culture.
“I grew up with a strong Chinese tradition,” said the 31-year-old Johorean.
“I went to temples and watched opera shows. I am drawing what I witnessed growing up.”
She loves Chinese traditional architecture, that seems to vanishing.
“There are so many memories and stories attached to such buildings.“
She hopes to immortalise them through her paintings and show Malaysians, especially youths, the beauty of Chinese culture.
Describe your family.
I come from a big family, with five sisters. We slept in the same bedroom.
So, we are very close to one another. My father is a cemetery builder and my mother is a housewife. My parents support us unconditionally, no matter what profession we choose. This is an important factor that pushed me to become a painter.
What is your long-term goal as an artist?
I am still teaching while doing art part-time.
I love teaching. But I would love to be a full-time artist, solely focusing on my art.
I have been told that earning a steady income by painting alone can be hard.
I have not given up. I am working hard towards making this dream a reality.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a painter?
I am patient.
I enjoy the process of adding details step by step to the work, which gives me a full sense of achievement.
My weakness is I need absolute concentration. If I get distracted by other things, it is hard for me to get back to the art I was working on. As a result, I would take more time to finish my work.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Anything can spark it. I can get inspiration just from a conversation with people or playing sports at the park.
My best inspiration comes when I have sleepless nights. I get up and start sketching something. After drawing, I feel I can sleep with ease.
What do you do when you are not painting?
I love travel within Malaysian. I love driving to different places and watch the cultural atmosphere there. I feel lucky to be Malaysian because we have a multi-racial society. The different cultures give me inspiration for my paintings.