Feast your eyes on these beautifully nostalgic artistic images, all digitally rendered by talented local artist Chong Fei Giap.
The ability to create evocative renderings of Malaysian sceneries using digital art is what made local artist Chong Fei Giap locally famous. His paintings appear to be painted with watercolour, but he doesn’t create them by using a brush and canvas. Instead, he uses a laptop and a digital drawing tablet as his medium, using 3D software to render shapes and Photoshop for the colours and details.
Fei Giap first ventured into digital art, backed by self-teaching and professional training in The One Academy, back in 2009 when he worked full-time as an art director in his graphic design start-up business, Running Snail Studio. There, they had several clients and were kept busy with regular work coming in, but he found he needed his own creative outlet as well.
After visiting his grandfather’s sundry shop in Kuala Pilah, Seremban a few years ago, he was inspired by the kampung scenes there and wanted to recreate it. Thus, his first ‘Colour of Scenery’ series was born. Ever since then, his work has gained a lot of attention, not just commercially but in the online world. His work has been shared and reposted around the world in several countries, crediting him as ‘The Artist from Malaysia’, even on Arabic websites!
However, Fei Giap doesn’t mind in the least that his work frequently gets shared online without copyright permission, and he finds the attention quite flattering.
“The fact that people like the work I do motivates me to keep drawing. It is important to have self-satisfaction, but it’s an even better feeling when other people enjoy it as well. Therefore, I don’t mind that my work is being shared, I am happy that people appreciate digital art,” he said.
Although his parents initially disapproved of his career path, as they didn’t believe he could forge a successful career in design, they eventually realised he had true talent when he won a few design competitions in secondary school and allowed him to follow his passion. Today, his achievements include guest lecturing at The One Academy, co-creating the concept art and poster for the critically-acclaimed Malaysian movie The Journey, and working on the National Day advertising poster for Petronas Malaysia back in 2014.
Anime art are a huge influence in his artworks are, as growing up, he enjoyed looking at the pictures Japanese comics although he didn’t care too much about the storyline or the speech bubbles. He is also an admirer of Japanese film director Hayao Miyazaki’s work, and is a fan of fantasy art. The two schoolgirls frequently featured in his series were inspired by his colleagues Audrey Chew and Jacqueline Koh.
In September 2015, along with co-founder Audrey, his business grew to include Loka Made. The local creative brand presents a display of postcards, books, puzzles, and pop-up cards (dioramas) in a similar artistic vein, showing a sentimental and nostalgic view of typical Malaysian living and culture. According to their website, they aspire to give a different perspective on local elements through their own twist of fantasy and creative imagination.
The combination of Malaysian elements with Japanese-style anime creates these refreshing and unique artistic images which can be appreciated by Malaysians from all walks of life. Due to the rapid growth of development and Westernization in Malaysia, there are many locals who fear a loss of culture and heritage in the coming generations, and it’s artistic pieces like this that remind us of a simpler Malaysia. Fei Giap manages to capture the scenes that are uniquely Malaysian in a beautiful, whimsical, and nostalgic way.
For more information about the Loka Made brand and online store, please visit www.lokamade.com.
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