Gloria Keh | Singapore
Painting is my life and i paint 100% for charity. I believe that art must have a purpose and in painting to help others, I also am fulfilling my soul’s purpose.
I began painting as a child, my late father, the oil painter, Martin Fu, was my first art teacher. He encouraged me to express boldly. To experience freedom and joy through art.
In 2008, I founded Circles of Love, a charity outreach programme, using my art in the service to humanity.
Having particpated in over 50 exhibitions, both internationally, as well as in my home country, Singapore, my first overseas solo was at the Gallery Steiner in Vienna, Austria. Am also blessed with 11 international art awards.
Contemporary Art Station: Tell us about how you got started. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
My late father was an oil painter. I grew up with the smell of turpentine, surrounded by his art. We were very poor, and i started to sell my little artworks in the mid 1950s for $3 an artwork. I was like 6 years old n at that time, $3 was a princely sum. Since childhood, i wanted to be an artist.
CAS: What is your process like, from initial idea to the creation of the piece? Do you usually develop the idea for a project before you find the "canvas", or vice versa?
I keep several art journals of various sizes, and paint/draw in my journals daily. These serve like a meditation for me, and are important as a means of preparation for the actual work on canvas. I also make mandalas for focus, and strengthening of the mind.
When it is time to paint on the canvas, i just have a ritual with paints, and then i go for it. I paint by intuition. The colors guide me, and eventually the painting paints itself. I am only its servant, to hold the brush and take instructions. The painting knows better than me. I am just the midwife, on hand to deliver the art-baby.
CAS: What do you love most about your creative process?
The element of surprise.
That i have been blessed to be part of the creation of a painting.
CAS: What role does art and the artist play in the broader social conversation today?
I am much of a loner but enjoy talking about art and hearing what others have to say about art. People seem to talk alot about art. Sadly some make sweeping remarks without sensitivity and understanding; but thats when it gets interesting at times, as one learns alot when this happens.
CAS: Name a few of your favourite artists and influences.
Gustav Klimt - i found his art so magical.
Yayoi Kusama - so avant garde and i always loved polka dots and circles.
Hokusai - there’s something so endearing about his work. It just does not seem old to me at all.
CAS: What is the best advice you received as an artist?
To be fearless
To express boldly yet gently and always with respect.
CAS: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
Around 1997/1998 when i began a life long affair with mandala art and symbolism.
CAS: What advice would you give to emerging artists trying to find their own?
There is a voice within each of us.
Try to find that voice and listen to it.
Practise practise practise.
Take time to be silent and still.
Become a friend of silence. For it is in that silence, when you will hear your inner voice. When your heart and soul will speak to you, guiding you along your art journey.