I was pleased to witness Sharon’s very first solo exhibition. The invite came through text, with several bossy messages later informing me that the private launch was on the 25th September NOT the 24th. We , Penangites, don’t like to read, we’re usually too lazy to scroll to the bottom, the fine print is way too tedious. We’d rather throw the information back and demand “when you need me?” It really is what we want to know, ” I’ll be there when you need me, just tell me when..” because we’ll be here for you til the very end, it is just island mentality.
There are a few things you need to know about Sharon SS Kow . If you’re lucky enough to know her and to know what makes her one of my favourite soul on this island, it is really the LOUDNESS in her actions, her thoughts, her laughter, her love , her opinions, her caring nature, her concerns, her expressions. Nothing in her essence is half-arsed , timid or wishy-washy. I rarely see her in pastel, or frilly dresses for instance…
Which leaves me in awe when I see her work. Through all the years I’ve known her I imagine her transferring herself into one of her coloured pencils, and all that dynamic energy is focused into that very fine lead point, and once it makes contact on paper, the concentrated energy produces rays of colours that form into pictures and objects while she herself is staying ever so perfectly quiet and STILL, like delicately balancing on a tight rope in your stilettos.
Sharon’s work from Left to Right “Interconnectedness” , “Focus” , “Regeneration” , “Liberation”
The exhibition started with a warm opening speech by the General Manager of GHotel , Mr. Michael Hanratty , and a brief introductory of her works by Sharon SS Kow herself. It was good to see familiar faces and sharing the pride of knowing her with mutual friends and family cheering her on. “Still” is proudly her very first solo exhibition. I urge you to enjoy each art work, use the quietness in yourself to absorb the colours and stillness of these images. We have been “still” these past few months during lock down, it has been hard for many and yet if we tune in really silently, the beauty will be shown all around us, just as Sharon has captured here on canvas.
A French writer and an art critic was once was quoted ,“That which probably hears more nonsense than anything else in the world is a picture in a museum.” – Edmond de Goncourt . For once, let the art do the talking, be still, be quiet, be enlightened, and best of all be lost in the strokes and colours.
“Still”, the art exhibition by Sharon Kow will be on display until 21 December 2020 , G Art Gallery, Link Bridge at Level 1 , The GHotel on Gurney Drive. Her artworks are all available for sale and for those who wish to purchase, may approach the reception counter on the ground floor for assistance.
What was your first memorable drawing and why?
It will be the portrait of my late father. Being the only person who believed in my art during my early days, he suggested that I draw a portrait of a wrinkly person. As it was difficult for me to find a suitable model for it, he volunteered to be the one. For that, he really scrunched up his face so that I was able to draw out every line. Sadly, he didn’t get to see the actual piece before he passed on. It is now hung in my family home.
Why color pencils ? And what age did you start?
To tell the truth, I am hopeless with anything to do with brushes. Just could not handle them as well as I can with colour pencils. Colour pencils has been my favourite medium ever since I was a kid, probably around 4 years old? And it was also the medium that I have used for all my arts during my high school years, even for the SPM exam, which I got distinction for it.
Who is your super hero artist ?
The super hero artist that I really admire is Malaysian artist, Ahmad Zakii Anwar . I love his loud, ‘in your face’ and very engaging kind of art expressions. He is rebellious with his style of art and does not conform to art trends. Realism being my favourite genre and as I am still learning and evolving with every piece of my artwork, his artistry expression inspires me to really push myself and strives to take my art to the next level.
Where is your favorite spot to do your drawings ?
My one and only proper place to draw is my little tiny studio at home. It is where all my art stuffs are and when I’m inside, I’m shut off from reality of life.
Do you have a favorite color?
I don’t have a specific favourite colour. All colours appeal to me. Being a realist artist, I strongly believe that there is no such thing as just one colour. Everything you see around us are made of multitudes of harmonised or clashes of tones.
What is your morning routine before you start your day?
I normally wake up around 7am, have a huge mug of instant coffee(too lazy to wait for brew coffee), that’s my breakfast. Feed my 2 English Bulldogs then proceed to do some household chores and cooking, which is not very often.
I will try to finish up the chores latest by 11am and after all that, it is time for serious work in my studio until late in the evening.
What 5 dishes are you proud of? (These are for me , because I am a foodie)
My special roasted chicken and vegetables. Self-made pasta sauce. Nasi lemak. Sambal Petai with prawns. Assam Pedas fish.
How did you meet Eric (husband) ?
We were introduced by a colleague of mine when I was working in a tour agency in Penang back in 1991. He was then still working in New York City and will make a yearly trip home to Penang during his summer holidays.
What was your first impression of Eric and that was totally different from what you know today ?
I thought he was quite a bit of a snob, really. He has that air of a city slicker. But today, he is 100% typical Penang guy.
What’s 5 things important to you and for your daughter about being an adult?
To always have compassions for fellow beings and animals. Be humble. Respect for others for their personal opinions no matter what age they are. Staying true to herself and not change for the sake of others. And most importantly, be an independent woman.
How did you cope with lock down?
Surprisingly, it did not affect me as an artist, since I am always working in my studio anyway. I am sort of a recluse most of the time. The lock down in fact gave me lots of time to start working on several commissioned pieces which were put on hold for more than a year. Even sold several pieces of artworks via my social media platform.
How would you describe Penang if Penang is a person ?
If Penang is a person. It will be a woman. She is one sensuous, strong and complex woman. Full of mystery which developed into a multitude of persona that at times can be quite difficult to put a finger on. Beautiful, generous and giving but never ever mess with her for she will get back with a vengeance.
More on Sharon below with links
Facebook : https://web.facebook.com/sharon.ss.kow
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/sharonsskow/?hl=en
American Art Collector Magazine (March 2019)
-12 Contemporary Women Artists by Veronica Winters
“Contemporary Art Hyperrealism : 10 Amazing Artists Who Crush It”
Contributing artist in “Draw Reflections in Colored Pencil” by Ann Kullberg.
– A Step by Step bible of Colored Pencil Reflections Techniques from 28 Master Artists.
Ann Kullberg’s CP Treasures Volume V,
Coloured Pencil Masterworks from around the Globe.
Strokes Of Genius 9
– The Best of Drawing-Creative Discoveries
“Of Time Long Past”
Interview inclusion in collection of ‘100 Great Master Artists of Our Time’ by DrawPj.com
Ann Kullberg’s CP Treasures Volume IV,
Coloured Pencil Masterworks from around the Globe.
“In The Light”
Contributing Artist in “DRAW Portrait in Colored Pencil” by Ann Kullberg.
Step by step bible of colored pencil portrait technique from 29 Master Artists.
Featured Artist in the Australian Society of Coloured Pencil Artist Inc. (AUSCPA) website.
Ann Kullberg’s COLOR Magazine Vol.192 “Contemplation”
Ann Kullberg’s Colored Pencil Cats and Dogs Portrait.
CP-Ann Kullberg’s Colored Pencil Magazine Vol. 183.
“CP Girls of Penang-Colored Pencil in Malaysia”
Ann Kullberg’s CP Treasures Volume III, Coloured Pencil Masterworks from around the Globe.
Colored Pencil Magazine September 2014. Art gallery section
CP – Ann Kullberg’s Magazine for Colored Pencil Artists July 2014.
Step by step on “A Mother’s Prayer”
Colored Pencil Magazine Student/Winter 2014.
“Leo”, My First Commissioned