KY Huang is a Singaporean, born in 1948.
While he was an undergrad at the National University of Singapore, KY Huang used to help Singapore’s renowned artist, Lee Man Fong, by manning his exhibitions. From this grandmaster, KY Huang learned the finer points of sketching and composition, not realizing the early awakening of an interest that would in later years become his passion and calling. Upon graduation, KY Huang treaded down the corporate path. Notwithstanding a promising and busy corporate career, his love for art prompted him to attend art workshops on a regular basis.
It was only upon retirement from an eventful career which included some ventures into business that KY Huang answered the call of his passion and started an art gallery. His first challenge was to build up a stable of reputable and good artists who would substantiate his gallery. As he set about his search for artists, he noticed that while many artists claimed to have formal training and techniques, they lacked the most essential qualities – an eye for good art and the feel to create them. Ever the enthusiast for good art, he taught some of them what he had learnt from his teacher, Lee Man Fong. The resulting works of the artists he tutored went through incredible transformations. Encouraged by the amazing results of applying good technique and style in art, KY Huang decided to delve into creating art as well. Hence began the fulfilling career of KY Huang as an artist.
While he began as a sketcher and painter, KY Huang was drawn towards sculpting. He felt challenged to shape and mould material into inspiring forms; to imbue energy and motion into inanimate forms and to ‘breathe’ life into them, as it were. KY Huang cites Rodin and Jui Ming as his inspiration but he knew that his works should not merely ape those masters but be distinctively different in feel and form. His debut as a Sculptor sponsored by NatGeo Singapore, NAC (National Arts Council) and People’s Association of Singapore in December 2011 was well received. His first works was entitled ‘Having Fun’, sculptures of men in acrobatic stunts on ropes and trees, through which he adds the elements of cheekiness and lightheartedness. An instant hit, this exposure led to several orders and commission works and effectively established him as sculptor.
KY Huang is a child of nature and much of his works draw inspiration from the humblest of nature’s treasures. He picks a twig or a fallen branch and transforms it into dignified sculptures that grace boardrooms and mansions. He sees the fish in the oceans and captures their graceful movement as a shoal. His inherent wit shines through in his internationally acclaimed Zebra Barcode paintings which play cleverly on the black and white lines of the zebra’s body and the barcode. KY Huang’s approach to art is simple. He believes art should delight the heart. If his art can bring a smile to a person’s face, he has achieved his goal.
From Reluctant To Inspired
Becoming an artist /sculptor never crossed Wei Huang’s mind although he inherently displayed an inclination towards the profound and the beautiful. He had always been creative and had an eye for detail. Even as a child, pottery, woodwork, object making and carpentry were skills that he excelled in. When his father, KY Huang, had to undergo a series of heart procedures, Wei Huang took time off of his corporate career to help his father at the studio, fulfilling commitments to customers. It was then that Wei developed skills in sculpting and discovered his penchant for conceptualising artistic ideas, designing and creating. Most of Wei’s works are based on memories, encounters and experiences while growing up. All his sculptures, processed creatively as well as intellectually, are iconic in their resonance with deep social and historical relevance. He uses an intellectual and conceptual approach in his creation process. His works are often described as having strong and meaningful concepts, iconic and striking themes, pleasing yet balanced compositions and objects of exquisite beauty.
He did, after all, come from a lineage of talents. His maternal grand-uncle was the renowned and successful regional artist, Lee Man Fong, while his father is a sought after local sculptor and artist. When some of Wei’s prototypes were shown to the Bruno Art Group, they made an instant impression. Bruno Art recognised his raw talent and included one of his works in their exhibits for an upcoming art fair. The response to his work and favourable public reaction signalled the start of more exhibitions in destinations like Jakarta, Manila, Seoul, Singapore, India, Israel and the USA.
Making the transition to the world of art, especially sculpture came naturally to Wei albeit with some understandable reluctance. He had to switch smart business suits, back-to-back meetings and the buzz of corporate talks to casual tees, sculpting tools and equipment, studio production schedules and the chatter of foundry shop talk. However, he managed the transition gracefully and successfully.
He had always been creative and had an eye for detail. Even as a child, pottery, woodwork, object making and carpentry were skills that he excelled in. All these attributes of his personality are visible in Wei’s horses with their exquisite majesty, strength and beauty. The Knights series shows the sculptor’s love of chess. However, the jewel in his series of works are the teddy bears. He involves both sculpting and painting in this outstanding series. The sculpture becomes a canvas for a variety of motifs and stories spontaneously added. It is a series, yet each teddy bear strikes a different pose and tells a different story.
Says Wei, “I am gifted with intuition in any given situation, whether encountering a rare orchid bloom or confronted with something ultra-scientific. I use this gift as a guide towards understanding how the object is designed and created.”
In the beginning, Wei might have been a little reluctant, but now he is a sculptor who is inspired to express through his art and narrate and relate to his audiences.