Time flies very fast and perhaps sometimes we don’t stop or pause to asks ourselves ‘What do we really want to do in life?’
That was the case for me. But as much as I try to ignore it, it never really stops bugging me subconsciously and eventually I could no longer ignore it anymore.
Did You Always Know?
I did a lot of things before this – I was a sales promoter, real estate agent, a makeup artist, I was a project manager in the entertainment and event management line, I did corporate sales for big and small firms… It’s a long list to be honest! I tried a lot of things right until I became an entrepreneur and ran several different businesses, which did I enjoy as well.
But I always knew in my heart that I wanted to be an Artist, I knew it for more than 20 years…
How Did I Know?
Growing up, our family were in constant financial difficulties for as long as I can remember. I know it wasn’t easy for my parents and they really did their best to raise us. As as child, I went though some very painful and difficult times and art was my only escape.
I can make art from just about anything – Give me a pencil and I’ll start sketching. Give me crayons or magic pens and I’ll create something fun and magical. Give me papers and I’ll make collages. Whatever the medium was, I can make art from it!
I love arts because it makes me happy. Art takes me to a different place where life was full of joy. It’s really magical. It completes me. It’s my home…
When You Love It, You'll Naturally Be Good At It!
Some old sketch I made before…
(Photo Ref: Anne Geddes)
For what I can remember, whenever there’s a drawing or colouring competition in school or even outside of school, you can be sure I will enter them.
I wish I had some photos of me entering these competitions, but I don’t really have a lot of photos taken of me when I was young.
However, I do remember winning a few art competitions like the one from Arab-Malaysian where I won RM200 KFC voucher (I think it was for ‘Savers Gang’) and Mamee Monster where I won a Mamee Monster wall clock). I was also chosen by the school to do a big sketch of Tun Mahathir to be submitted for some event and my artworks has often been selected to be pasted on the class wall for best artwork.
Why Didn't I Do It Earlier?
Just before I graduated high school, I was sure I was going to major in arts in some college or university. And so when I got my Finals results (which I didn’t expect to do that well because I only quit my after-school-job 5 months before the Form 5 SPM exam), I did get Grade 1 though and I told my parents I wanted to study arts.
My parents only wanted the best for me, they wanted me to have a bright future and they couldn’t see how arts can put money on the table. We had a chat about it and I agreed with them. I guess when you’ve faced financial difficulties for the most of your life, it’s quite hard to believe that you can actually make a decent living from doing something like arts.
And so I applied for TESL and accounting instead and I got scholarship for both – one for a university in the UK and another at a local university. I knew I didn’t want to do either one and I turned down both offers and had to pay for my own college education later on.
I'll Do It, Someday...
I never stopped creating artworks even after school. I have created many artworks for people throughout all my life.
I’d drive around with my sketch book always ready in my car boot (until one time my car boot got flooded and my artworks got destroyed!). I’d always have some new painting lying around at home and sometimes my friends would come over and I’d give them away. I love to see how excited other people get when they see my artwork and so I keep making more.
Some old sketch I made before…
(Photo Ref: Source Unknown)
Then sometime in my 30s, I thought about this question a lot “What do I really want to be known as?” or “How would I like to introduce myself?” And there was only one answer – “An Artist.”
So I start telling myself “I’ll do it someday”… And then I also said “When I have enough money”… These 2 sentences were the recipe that held me back for years, formed by my own self-limiting beliefs, derived from my life experiences and I had quite a few of them actually (my self-limiting beliefs that is).
And the truth is, the longer you wait, the harder it is to actually do it…
The Turning Point
A few years back, I had actually sold off my business as well as an apartment I bought for investment. Let’s just say I had more than enough money to be an Artist (It’s not that you need that much money to be one, but that was one of my requirements remember – “When I have enough money”).
But at that time, I said to myself “I need to make more money before I can start, I’ll do it after that”. And so I invested the money into something else instead and I ended losing all my investments and it took me one year to get back on my feet again.
Then it hit me “Why didn’t I do it then? I had money and I even had time!” This was the moment I realized that it wasn’t about not having enough money or any other ‘excuses’ I told myself.
Once I realized this, I knew I had to go and find the answers. And when Covid hit us in 2020 and the world went on lockdown, just like many people, my business was seriously affected and I too had to deal with isolation. The surprising thing was, the isolation actually gave me room to think and reflect back about my life and made me ask myself question like “What Do You REALLY Want To Do In Life?”
To answer these questions I had, I went on a self discovery journey to understand myself and what actually was stoping me from pursuing my true passion all these years.
It hasn’t been an easy journey but learning about myself, facing my fears and battling my self-limiting beliefs has been one of the best things I did.
So in January 2021 (Yes, just this year), I decided to go all in as a full time time Artist and let go of everything else. It has been nothing less than amazing!
Everything Happens For A Reason
I’m proud to call myself an Artist today. But if anyone ever asks – Do I regret not doing it earlier. I honestly can’t say that I do…
Don’t get me wrong, of course I would love to have started earlier. And I’m sure I could have achieved so much more as an Artist if I did. But I am who I am today because of the things that I had gone through in life and what I have learned from it. These are the fundamentals of what I create, this is how I am able to evoke emotions and conversations through all my artworks.
And you see, although I didn’t become a full time Artist, it wasn’t my career nor did I make a living as one before, I’ve always been an Artist. That part of me has never changed.
I look at my life this way – I went on an adventure, doing many different things and helped many people around me along the way. I also learned a lot things and even picked up many different skills too. So how can I regret any of that?
Of course now that I’m doing exactly what I was born to do in this world, there’s no turning back for me. What else is there to say – I’m an Artist and I love what I do!