AQUATIC SCULPTURES GIVEN A KISS OF LIFE: PRESENTING 3D HYPERREALISM AT ITS BEST: INTERVIEW WITH KENG LYE

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1. Keng, what is art to you? How would you describe your personality as an artist ?

Art is self-expression via a creative channel. My personality as an artist is quiet and reflective.
 

2. What initially inspired you to create these photorealistic 3D paintings of sea creatures? And, what attracted you to the unique combination of acrylic paint and resin ?

In 2011, my photographer friend, Gerald Gay showed me a video of Riusuke Fukahori’s “Goldfish Salvation” and I was hooked. I had never seen anything like it before and I was attracted to the story behind Riusuke Fukahori’s commitment to his craft, spending 7 long years, painting only goldfish. I am moved by Riusuke’s total dedication to perfecting his craft. His passion and hard work continue to inspire me all the time.

3. Do talk us through your creative process. How long does it usually take? What is your favorite part of the process ?

I start by pouring resin into a container then covering with plastic wrap to keep out dust and leave it for at least 8 hours to completely dry. Once dry, I use acrylic to paint on the surface of the hardened resin. I will paint parts of the object first; the fins or the tail of the goldfish after which I will pour another thin layer of resin, then wrap and wait 8 hours to dry. Repeat until the object is complete. It could take anywhere from 10 to 45 days to complete an artwork. My favorite part is figuring out how to make the object come alive and seem fluid and realistic.

4. Do you have any personal favorite piece? Why is it so special ?

My favorite is “Live and Let Live” because it conveys calmness and happiness. Creating it was particularly challenging as I had wanted to capture the playful movements of the terrapin as it chases the small fish. 

5. You were actually accused of animal cruelty given your creations are so realistic. How do you feel about that? Is this the most surprising response you have ever received ?

Most people are amazed to find out that my artworks are paintings. I usually leave my works all over the house. One day a friend came over and asked me why I have dead fish in a bowl in the bathroom.

" Many have commented that I am cruel to keep live fish in a tiny bowl or believe that I have poured resin over the live fish. I am not sure whether to take these comments seriously or not. "

6. Learning is an ongoing process. What is the most recent thing you learned when it comes to your practice ?

Yes, I agree that the learning never stops.

" As I continue with my art, strangely enough, I discover more things about myself and human nature."
 

7. To what do you attribute your success ?

I am not sure you can call me successful. How do you measure success? I am more interested in striving to be a successful human and I am so grateful to have been blessed in many ways, especially to have the opportunity to create art and share it with so many.

8. Tell us a thing or two about yourself that might surprise us.

I am an ordinary person...maybe my weird sense of humour??? 

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