Chong Fei Giap is a Malaysian illustrator, as well as a creative director in a company called “Loka Made” and a part-time teacher at the One Academy of Communication design — an award-winning arts and design institute. His illustrations reflect streets of Asia and probably someone’s daily life. These illustrations are mysterious and nostalgic, however, very realistic.
Chong, could you tell us more what your illustrations are about? How do you think art impact people nowadays?
My illustrations are greatly inspired by our unique culture and its people. It’s a mixture of real world and fantasy which explains why the things I draw like ancient buildings are always equipped with a hint of animation/manga and movie. With my illustrations, I hope they serve as a subtle reminder that this is our home. Despite having grown up and living in a big city of hustle and bustle, I want my audience to be reminded of their past, everything to them that were seemingly insignificant growing up can trigger nostalgic memories. Generally, I think art has the power to remind people of the things that they’ve never taken notice of.
How would you describe your environment? Have you ever thought of living somewhere else?
The place where I currently reside in is blessed with a variety of cultures and races. A place where I find most of my inspirations from. About living elsewhere, I haven’t really thought about that.
What is your inspiration and what is the key message of your artwork?
A lot of my artworks are inspired by my childhood memories. Growing up in a Chinese retail shop, I’ve had a lot of interesting experiences. Instead of holding on to those memories, I’ve decided to turn them into visuals. Not only do I get to draw things that I like, I get to share them with people who would share the same sentiments. I don’t draw them as they are, a lot of imagination is infused into my drawing. The biggest influence in terms of art concept to me would be landscape artist, Imperial Boy where I was inspired to infuse a whole lot of fantasy and imagination into the environment that I draw. I live by this quote: “Imagination is everywhere. You don’t have to watch movies to have imagination, it is close to everyone”.
What kind of technique do you use when you create art prints, is it animation technique? Do you have also fans worldwide, for example, from European countries or are they mainly from Asia?
The technique that I use isn’t really anything special. I work fully digital and with programs like Photoshop to paint and occasionally Google Sketch Up for architecture 3D modeling. Like I mention earlier, imagination is the key to a lot of things! Technique doesn’t really matter. I would say that most of my fans are from Malaysia. I also do have fans worldwide. With the existence of social media sites and how they’re easily available at one’s fingertips, it’s easier for my artworks to reach people of different areas. I think it’s evident when I post my artworks on Deviantart and Facebook.
Some of your artworks seem very nostalgic. On some, you illustrate a girl…is it a girl with a story from your life or is it a fictional character?
Fictional character. I chose to illustrate a young girl in a school uniform because it closely represents Malaysia. This girl is seemingly on an adventure of discovery, traveling from places to places that are filled with local elements. But the thing is she’s not alone. She is also taking us/the audience to different places along with her on the adventure.
Have you ever thought of creating your own animation film and what are your future plans regarding art?
Yes! But unfortunately, I do not have that kind of resource. My team and I are not experts in animation. However, I do hope that one day I would be able to work with the professionals in animation industry to bring my concept and story to the screen. With my brand “Loka Made”, I no longer work as an individual artist, we are now an ever growing team that is looking forward to experimenting with a wider perspective and a variety of elements and artworks but still staying true to the local accent. We are also possibly branching into a new direction like infusing illustrations with designs in producing lifestyle products.