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Tech allowed me new ways of thinking: Top Malaysian artist

Hong Kong, Dec 14 (IANS) Leading Malaysian architect-turned-artist Red Hong Yi, who paints with unconventional everyday objects and not the regular paintbrush, believes that without technology, she wouldn’t be able to produce and experiment fast enough as technology allowed her “new ways of thinking”.

Initially into paintbrushes, the 32-year-old artist embraced technology in her art practice when she confronted it during her study of architecture.

“Architecture made me think in 3D. When I was in architecture school in 2005, in my first year, everything was hand-drawn. But two years into it, they introduced computational software(s), laser cutting and more. It was a shock to us.

“So we had the choice to embrace it or go the traditional path and I realised if I didn’t embrace technology, I’d be behind. I wouldn’t be able to produce fast enough, and experiment fast enough. It allowed me new ways of thinking,” Red told IANS on the sidelines of the unveiling of her unique artwork “Aurora” here earlier this week, which takes inspiration from Alaska’s Northern Lights and 2,000 glass-backs from Honor smartphone.

A reflection of the fast-converging world of art and tech, “Aurora” was commissioned by the Chinese tech company Honor — removing barriers between what are perceived as two different spheres altogether.

Red, who has exhibited pieces at the World Economic Forum (Davos), Anchorage Museum (Alaska), Design Miami (Miami) and the Asian Art Museum (San Francisco), also believes that technology makes the process of creating art smoother.

Asked if more artists are taking to tech, Red nodded in affirmation.

“I think tech makes execution a lot easier for artists. For example, murals on walls don’t need to be free-handed. Now you can project something on the wall and paint on it. We have projection art as well,” she said.

Referring to the famous oil painting “Girl with a Pearl Earring” done by 17th-century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, she reiterated the controversy that the painting often faces.

“There was controversy when people said he might have cheated because he projected his subject’s face using mirrors as reflectors. People said his proportions are exactly the same and questioned its possibility.”

If true, it could have been a traditional form of early projection art, she said about the painting.

Red also highlighted the use of virtual reality (VR) devices, that allow a digital tour to places, in spreading the art viewership.

“VR is another field where art and tech meet. If I am living in my hometown in Malaysia, I can actually walk into any museum through VR. It transports you to different experiences,” she explained.

She also cautioned against relegating artworks and artists to the number of followers and ‘likes’, while speaking about artists and social media marketing. “If that happens, we’re going to go into shock factors, wherein the ‘next big shocking thing’ will generate more numbers.”

Red’s installation “Aurora” is open for viewing here till December 23.

–IANS
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