On Setting Out…
My love for the arts started when I was young and I would get super excited whenever the television show Art Attack came on. Naturally, I gravitated to a career in the arts, and my painting and drawing skills improved dramatically when I enrolled in art school. Art school is an amazing place where passionate people congregate and try to make something with what they love.
“…you have this moving box (public transport) with wheels or wings that can contain the greatest diversity while taking everyone to a common destination. I find that interesting: the notion of going somewhere together.”
On Modes of Transit…
After I moved back from America, I struggled to find affordable space and opportunities to practice art in Singapore. With dwindling interest in traditional arts, I scaled back my ambition and found peace with small work. Sketching during my commute was an act that allowed me to get right back into figure drawing (without expectations or anxieties).
The public transport system is a very unique and peaceful place. To me, humanity seems to strive to unify people with specific values and goals through leadership. Then, you have this moving box (public transport) with wheels or wings that can contain the greatest diversity while taking everyone to a common destination. I find that interesting; the notion of going somewhere together.
As for plein air paintings, I love the challenges of painting on-site. The interplay between changing light and forms spurred me to be decisive and always inspired me to render an impression of what is in front of me. Not being able to afford a studio, it’s also the next best thing.
On the Journeys…
I started traveling extensively about five years ago. Travel and sketching is the best combination.
I travel to distance myself from the anxieties of my own familiar landscape, and new surroundings and cultures allow me to lose myself and to be immersed in the moment. I usually don’t plan too much and will just pick places that I can afford. When there’s an airfare sale to some destination that I haven’t been, I will assess my budget and try to make it happen whenever possible.
Recently, I decide to collaborate with a Bhutan Travel agent (Drukasia) to collaborate on sketching tours. I thought it would be a great idea to offer what I know and share my wonderful experiences with others. So the next destination will probably be Bhutan. I’ve been there thrice before and, hopefully, the fourth time will be with many others who would like to pick up sketching.
On the Road…
When I was younger, I was super focused on the arts and couldn’t do anything that wasn’t art-related. I felt that I had an edge since I was a lot better than most of my peers in art subjects.
Things changed when I landed in the media industry after graduation. I realized how crowded the art industry is and recognized how difficult it is to make it. For a while, I actually tried to transition out of the art world and do something radically different. However, every time I do that, I seem to fall right back into the arts again.
“I travel to distance myself from the anxieties of my own familiar landscape.”
On the Destination…
I wish to eventually become a full-time artist with a studio filled with sufficient supplies to paint, accompanied by one dog, one wife, and enough patrons to support my work. Hmm, that almost sounds like a fantasy in Singapore.
In addition to his art, Lian earned media and peer recognition through his successful crowdfunding campaign and passion project, The Perfect Sketchbook.