Only 17 and she’s already a renowned artist in her own right with a following of more than 7,000 followers.
See Tian Huey, a self-taught artist in Malaysia enjoys making everything aesthetically pleasing. She describes herself as “the weird girl doodling in a corner while making faces at everyone”. In her mind, she’s the eccentric artist type with royal blue hair wearing a distressed jacket covered with patches and paint. Tian Huey’s art is a definite eye candy and has a loyal following of over 7 thousand people (and counting) on Instagram. Without a doubt her journey as an artist, documented in pictures and Snapchat videos, is a source of inspiration to many.
“Art has been constant and it has become a part of who I am. It is my main outlet of expression. Loving something and being good at it are two different things, but loving something means being willing to always make it better”
Crayon stained hands and paint spattered clothing has been a constant from the day Tian Huey was born. Her debut was at the age of 5- rebellious art in the form of circles drawn repeatedly on pristine white walls. Unfortunately, her parents didn’t appreciate the genius behind this piece of artwork and quickly supplied her with paper.
A huge part of Tian Huey’s inspiration lies in the collective mass of creativity from social media. She’s influenced and inspired by fellow artists, both older and younger than herself and the visuals she discovers on different platforms. It is also a form of motivation as her aforementioned 7 thousand plus followers push her to produce great artwork and constantly improve her skills.
What’s her favourite artwork? That’s a cruel question to pose to Tian Huey because it’s impossible for her to choose her one and only all time favorite. However, she’s amazed at Monet’s water lilies and quite likes Andy Warhol’s soup cans- not just aesthetically but in the way it celebrates the importance of consumerism in an artist’s career.
Tian Huey isn’t just limited to her pens and paper. Since the debut of “Circles”, her repertoire has expanded to painting with watercolors, portrait drawing, sketching, sewing, digital art and more. She fearlessly charges headfirst each time she picks up something new and believes that trying is the best form of learning because “in art, there are no cliff notes or hacks. It’s okay to make mistakes because you will make mistakes.”
Her favorite themes revolve around drawing people especially their faces. As hard as it is to get the proportions right lest she becomes the next Picasso, Tian Huey feels there is something about bringing these faces to life which really connects her to these absolute stranger she will (probably) never meet.
“One trick pony” is the last way anyone would describe Tian Huey. If her mile-long list of artistic mediums she has mastered isn’t validation enough, she also has a strong affinity towards writing. When she’s not in the mood for art, she’d let words, not shapes, flow out of her pen. It helps calm her and accent her artwork – what a creative bug.
Her journey as an artist has not been all rainbows and butterflies either; in fact, she experienced many moments of self doubt- from the start till the end of an art piece. But this is something Tian Huey finds normal as an artist because art is creating something out of nothing, thus there’s a great deal of pressure to convey her message and vision properly. She overcomes this by pressing on- albeit hard but crucial. Sometimes she reminds herself that the work she produces is her own and for her eyes only unless she chooses to reveal it to others. Therefore, the only critic you have to please is yourself.
Her biggest challenge however was being proud of her art and its worth. “How can you not be proud of such amazing talent,” you might ask. Well it’s because of that age-old stereotype- that pursuing science is much more respectable than pursuing art as a career. It nagged at the back of her mind that many would view an “A” in math as “better” than an “A” in art. Tian Huey felt caged knowing that her passion and heart was in art but there would always be some preconceived notion that she was stupid or dumber than her science stream peers surrounding her.
“Art is seen as a lesser subject- which is quite sad. People don’t realize that artists have shaped and molded their everyday lives. The beautiful cars they drive, the homes they live in, the expensive designer clothes that they lust after. People are blithely unaware of the fact that artists created all these out of nothing”
However, she has stayed true to her heart by choosing the arts stream in school and this decision is something she doesn’t regret. She’s grateful that more people are becoming aware of the false stereotypes surrounding art students.
At the moment, Tian Huey is interested in pursuing a double degree in both Communication Design and Marketing. Don’t get her wrong, she loves art but she also has an aptitude for business (is there anything she can’t do?) thus leading her to be interested in the commercial side of art. However, her ultimate dream would be to own a magazine publication- not unlike the glamorous life and career of Miranda Priestly. Well, if she were to make that dream a reality, I’d definitely subscribe to her magazine.
*Photo Credit: See Tian Huey