Shan Shan Lim's work had us at hello. You know that moment when you see an artwork, and something about it just stops you in your tracks. If you know us well, you'll know we love colour, we love vibrant work, something that makes our homes sing and our hearts smile. But Shan Shan's work is something extra than just "colourful" or even "beautiful". It has harmony, its shapes and forms perfectly complementing her unusual colour palettes.
I was lucky enough to steal a few moments of her time to ask her three questions. We hope you enjoy discovering more about this compelling artist, who graduated from art school in London and currently resides in Malaysia.
A Shan Shan Lim painting for a private commission
Kitty: You work with so many different mediums, do you have a favourite?
Shan Shan: I love painting with gouache and poster colour on paper. I spent my childhood using poster colour so it has a sentimental value. I love the smooth, opaque finish. But I do miss the loom! I’m a weaver at heart and working in the medium of textiles is where I’ve made some of my best work.
An example of one of Shan Shan's gorgeous textile works, at the reception of the Kloe Hotel, Kuala Lumpur
Kitty: We have always loved your use of colour. How did that develop?
Shan Shan: I grew up in India and Malaysia where colour is abundant, especially during the various festivals that we celebrate. When I moved to London in 2013, my work started shifting towards a more neutral palette. That’s when I realised that my use of colour is really influenced by my immediate surroundings. When I returned back to Malaysia in 2017, I created my first collection of paintings in bold primary colours inspired by the flora of this country. It was a real homecoming.
Intuition plays a big role in the interaction of colour in my paintings. Ultimately, I strive for a feeling of harmony in my work. I know a piece is finished when I can sense that harmony.
Another one of Shan Shan's beautiful paintings!
Kitty: What's next for you?
Shan Shan: I’ve been working on a collection of paintings to be completed in 2021. I have also been saving up for a loom, so the plan is to get myself one by next year. I am looking forward to weaving again!
Luckily for us, Shan Shan Lim is currently creating Kind Commissions for our clients. Also check out her work, Farewell, a collaborative piece with Kush Linfield, which we chose for our autumn 2020 curation, How Did We Get Here?