The Boy Who Loved Clouds is whimsical and beautifully illustrated. I told him I could see the influence of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and he said that indeed Le Petit Prince is one of his favourite books.
I had no idea of the interesting story behind the book until I found Chin Yew's website and read this article in KLue.
He graduated from Lim Kok Wing majoring in animation in 2001, but due to a lack of job opportunities he found himself working a nine to five job in printing sales. Then he decided to break free in a spectacular way! :
In 2005, he rented a room near his house for 30 days, and bought 40 large four-by-four foot canvases. He then blogged about this whim, firmly stating that come August, he would paint each canvas within a month and blog an entry of the artistic and personal process daily. He soon found out that this escape was rather over ambitious.It sounds like a sort of Nanowrimo for art! (Nanoartmo?) You can see some very exciting artwork from Chin Yew and others who have particiapted in the project here.
Firstly, he had to leave his house in a shirt and tie, and make it seem he still went to work for the sake of his parents. As tedious as it sounds, like most, his dad never saw art as a proper job. Secondly, and most importantly, he would have to face himself as his biggest critic. For one, Chin Yew hadn’t picked up a brush since school – his techniques would be rusty, while his expectations of his capabilities still remained. “It’s a painful thing for an artist. I felt like I was dirtying the white canvases instead of beautifying them,” he admits. But he trucked on anyway. Focusing only on the colours black, white and red, Chin Yew successfully churned 40 paintings, spurring much interest and praise.
On his 30th day, he passed the torch to his friend who underwent the same project for that month of October. And ever since, the site has been hosting guest artists who want to try the 30-day project for themselves. Chin Yew himself has been annually tapping into 30-day series. In 2006, he explored The Boy Who Loved Clouds. In 2007 and 2008, he produced a graphic novel, I See So Many Butterflies,
Amir Muhammad who knows a talented illustrator when he sees one has baggsied Chin Yew to illustrate his next volume of Politicians Say the Darndest Things. Let's hope his fortunes change ...