Koeh Sia yong

Koeh Sia Yong is an artist of many strokes, versatile in painting just about anything under the sun, from friendly faces to street scenes to crashing waves to enticing nudes. A prolific artist, he has produced giant-sized canvases chronicling the Japanese occupation as well as sketches of pioneers for the Sentosa Wax Museum; cartoons for Chinese newspapers; and beautiful landscapes for art patrons.

He is a master of many forms, but oil is his preferred area of expertise, and he has spent most of his time and energy on oils.  He believes oils capture the essence of a scene or face or landscape the way no other medium can. Oil is more expressive, more dynamic, and also more practical since it is more durable than most other mediums.

Like all great artists, Koeh has travelled widely. From these journeys, he has honed his artistic senses, sharpened his techniques and enhanced his creative output. He continues to travel as often as he can to seek inspiration and ideas.

He has certainly come a long way from his undergraduate days at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts. His ambition then was to become a full-time artist. Koeh, who started out as a commercial artist, has fulfilled his lifelong dream and has immersed himself totally in the world of painting since 1991. Although most of Koeh's paintings are modelled along realistic Western styles, they have a special quality of their own. A vivid vibrancy permeates through most of his works, giving them a "liveliness" that is at once realistic yet artistic, candid yet posed.  Those who view Koeh's works will not simply be looking at a painting. Rather, they will be breathing, hearing, tasting, touching and experiencing the scene, as if they were part of the action. How is such realistic rendering possible? Because Koeh not only employs a steady hand and perfect technique in his work but more importantly, he transfers his emotions and thoughts to the canvas, transforming even the most ordinary scenes into powerful, fascinating impressions. Koeh's style is distinctive yet not predictable. Sometimes his paintings are detailed, with a strong sense of space and perspective. Sometimes the colour blend and merges and the details are purposefully blurred.

The ability of an artist to make an indelible mark on the viewer is surely the ultimate measure of his skill. In this aspect, there is no doubt that Koeh is eminently accomplished. Koeh's formidable talents, which have gained public prominence and attracted much attention over the years, have earned the artist, the respect of his peers, the praise of critics and the admiration of aspiring artists.

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