There is something mystical and explosively intense in Jietwong’s figures. Similar with the late artist, Dzulkifli Dahalan’s funny crooked figures in his cityscapes though the young artist has created a scenery of alienation and the figures rely and interlocks with each other, as if to show that we were born to bond. Without knowing who the artist is, I found his artworks were made with much effort and is inviting, as though pulling its audiences to take part in the visual experience. After years of working in the commercial graphic industry, Jiet Wong is now begining to embark on his artistic journey. Below is my interview with the young upcoming artist:
collective and artist run space.
'Untitled’, a group exhibition at
Findars, an artist
Can you share with us little bit about your background?
I was born on the 17th of November, 1984, I was born in the state of Perak, Malaysia. When I turned 18, I decide d to go by the name of Jietwong. I graduated from the New Era College in the field of Visual Art Communication, I was ready to be a part of the Design and Advertising industry, bearing an Associate Degree in Art & Design. I yearned to go to Taiwan to further my education however, due to my lack of experience I decided to put that plan on hold temporarily. Time went by and I managed to accumulate a good seven years of experience as a graphic designer in the industry.
Finally I decided to put down the digital tools and replace them with something slightly traditional... an actual paint brush. This transition allowed me to return to one of my long forgotten interests which I did not have the opportunity to pursue at a younger age, namely to express my personal visual language through drawing and painting. My favorite 'tools' these days acrylics, ink, canvas, paper and my paintbrush. My artworks can be seen on my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jiet.art
Performance by Weijun Loh & Jietwong at Jietwong’s Art Exhibition
launching at New Black Coffee Lab, 12 August - 10 September 2012
Besides art, what do you do after quitting
your full time job?
Besides being an artist, my main bread and butter comes from being a graphic designer and the freelance jobs I get from clients from countries like the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Germany, to name a few. Most of the freelance jobs that I tend to undertake revolve around branding designs and revamping existing brands. I also have my own brand known as "Didimalao", which I am very proud of, as it enables me to create a character representing myself whilst spreading joy and a bit of cheekiness to people all around. My recent Didimalao collection can be found in stores, details of which are available on www.facebook.com/didimalaofun.
Besides, I also work part-time as a lecturer at E-able Training & Management Sdn. Bhd. Here I have the opportunity to tutor disabled students who are actually quite good with computers and even basic graphics designing. I do this with the desire that as they grow up, they will be able to earn a living and be proud of the fact that their disabilities have not prevented them from becoming the best that they can be.
What informs your art practice and who are your main influences?
I have never had any prior technical training in the area of fine arts. To be honest, I never really knew how to draw on paper or canvas. As time went by, a lot of practice, trial and error brought me up to the level at which you can find me at today. Most of my inspiration came from the different experiences I had in life, some good, some bad, but each one had something new to teach me. As time went by, I realized that my art can be presented in anywhere, on any medium and at any given time and place, allowing my art to be quite flexible and adaptable.
Besides my artworks, I also believe that it is good for one to give back to society. Everyone have their own way of doing this.
So far, has it been worth it?
For something to be worth one's effort is quite subjective. To me, whatever I decide to invest my time in, I do so whole-heartedly. At times the end result is good and at times bad; however, each experience has something new to teach me. This easily translates into my artwork. The eagerness of my disabled students to learn is also greatly inspiring. So it is safe to say, yes, everything I do is worth the effort. Answering that question with a "no", would be quite ignorant of me, I believe.
Was the transition difficult from from doing design to fine art?
Being a designer is more of a mechanical job for me now. I know what to do, and what not to do. Being an artist is now finally a dream becoming a reality. As an artist I get to take my creativity to a whole new level, one where the only limits that apply are those that I set for myself.
Jietwong’s Art Exhibition at New Black Coffee Lab, 12 August -10 September 2012
Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
There is so much to do but not enough time. Would be nice if I had more of me in order to fulfill all of my dreams within the next 5 years!
One of my aspirations these days is to take my art everywhere with me and change people's perspectives on things in life. It’s all about breaking old boundaries and expanding one's horizon. Getting the chance to show off my artwork at various coffee shops is a start.
One thing that I know for sure is that nothing comes easy in life. We all need to persevere and take time out with genuine dedication in order to achieve our desired goals. Following which, there is no way but up!