Born and raised in the tropical city of Penang, Malaysia, I have always been interested in drawing from a very young age. It wasn't until I was fourteen, that I started formal training under renowned Penang watercolor artists Choon-Ghee Tan and Chuan-Jin Chai. As an active member of the high school art society, I enjoyed regular group plein air sketch outings. The picturesque character of old fishing villages, colorful Buddhist temples, historic streetscapes, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life in Penang, made for a dynamic environment filled with amazing sketching opportunities.
I came to the U.S. in 1995 to pursue my undergraduate studies and was able to make use of my creative abilities in different avenues such as rendering and designing built environments. After graduating, I worked in award-winning architecture firms, before deciding to pursue a Master’s degree in Architecture at the University of Minnesota to expand my design knowledge and skills. Returning to school while working full-time made for many long hours in the studio. Painting and sketching took a backseat to my professional pursuits but I never lost my love for art. In 2017, I decided to make time for my childhood passion again by conducting plein air painting sessions on my own and joining regular sketch outings hosted by the Urban Sketchers-Twin Cities Chapter. Today, I run my own art and architecture studio. I am fortunate to gain insight and mentorship from world renowned watercolor artist Cheng-Khee Chee, who happens to be my father-in-law. I currently live with my wife Yen who's a jewelry designer, son, and daughter in Golden Valley, Minnesota.
My work has a realistic quality, with bold confident strokes in some scenes, as well as soft, more delicate lines in others. My drawing skills have come in handy with my current architecture profession, where I develop design ideas and construction details through sketches. You can see the influence of my past drawing skills, woven into my current work. Through my sketches and paintings, I aim to create a mood that makes the viewer feel as though they were present at the very spot I sketched from. As a storyteller, hoping to share glimpses of other cultures and parts of the world through my art, I've enjoyed attending International Urban Sketchers Symposiums in Porto and Amsterdam in the last few years, where friendships, energy, and the excitement of sketching has made me feel right at home. As one of the former administrators for Urban Sketchers Twin Cities, I have enjoyed organizing sketch outings and meeting sketchers who share the same passion in drawing and painting as me.
2022 Impressions of the Twin Cities in Ink and Watercolor, Hopkins Center for the Arts
Juried Exhibitions and Awards
2020 Audubon Artists 78th Annual National Exhibition
2021 Georgia Watercolor Society National Exhibition
2021 Minnesota Watercolor Society Annual Spring Exhibition
2021 Rhode Island Watercolor Society Spring Online Exhibition
2021 North Carolina Watercolor Society Spring Online Exhibition
2021 MPLS ART Sketchbook Project 2020 Exhibition
2021 Audubon Artists 79th Annual National Exhibition, Frank Webb Award in Watermedia
2022 Transparent Watercolor Society of America (TWSA) 46th Annual Exhibition
2022 Minnesota Watercolor Society Annual Spring Exhibition
2022 Society of Watercolor Painters (SWA) Annual International Exhibition
2022 41st Annual Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors
2022 Audubon Artists 80th Annual National Exhibition, Gold Medal Award of Honor
2022 Hopkins Center for the Arts Fall Juried Members Exhibition, Award of Excellence
2023 Minnesota State Fair Fine Arts Competition, Second Place in Class 3 Watercolor/ Gouache/ Tempera, Minnesota Artists Association Award, Victor Gilbertson Watercolor Award, Don Biehn Recognition Award
2023 Hopkins Center for the Arts Fall Juried Members Exhibition
2021 MPLS ART Sketchbook Project 2020 at Minnesota Museum of American Art
2022 Architecture Minnesota Enter Print Annual