Feature Story – Greg Chin

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“Go Crazy!” these two simple words of advice given by his teacher was enough to spark this young man’s passion for art. And not just any type of art, but he was drawn specifically to installation art. This type of art is positioned at the unique border between architecture, art and interior design – it is made up of physical experiment, personal expression and designed space. I was intrigued by this concept and excited to meet this Melbourne trained artist who is now back home and creating pieces of artwork which are thought provoking and which always succeed in getting a reaction from the viewer. This is a young Bruneian artist who believes in his art and we are proud to be introducing him in this first edition of our magazine.

Being allowed to visit Greg Chin’s studio was simply fascinating. In this immaculately organised room I was surrounded by evidence of Greg’s creative mind at work. Outstandingly different pieces immediately captured my attention and I was compelled to ask Greg to talk about his work. He explained, “The great thing about my art is that I can use any type of material when creating a piece of artwork. I enjoy finding random pieces of material and putting them together to create something meaningful. There are no restrictions on materials in installation art, it’s up to the artist and how he or she uses their imagination.”

“I will always be an artist – this is who I am. I am grateful to my Dad for inspiring my disciplined work ethic and to my Mum for encouraging my creativity.”

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Discovering that there’s more to art

Coming from a creative family background in which his Dad has a keen interest in architecture, his Mum loves sewing and craft and his brother is a professional photographer and web designer based in Melbourne – it is not surprising that Greg’s love for art started when he was a child. Back then he loved drawing, designed his own Christmas cards for his family; thought of creative ways to wrap their presents and really enjoyed constructing Lego toys. His family appreciated his efforts and encouraged him to continue experimenting with his artistic abilities. However, because he didn’t think that he could consider art as a serious profession, he decided instead to pursue a Business degree at university in Melbourne. But on completing this degree he felt “empty”, this was not what he really wanted to do. His mother quickly realised that he was very unhappy, spoke to his Dad and they suggested that he should go to art school. It was while doing his Bachelor Degree in Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts that he discovered that “there was more to art than just abstract painting and simple sculptures. Art school opened my eyes to new and exciting forms of art and I learnt about techniques which led to my love for installation art.” Being in Melbourne was itself an inspirational experience as Greg was surrounded by art galleries, museums and amazing architecture. He was also able to meet a variety of other artists who he is still closely connected to and together they are able to share ideas and motivate each other.

Growth through awareness

A firm believer in honest criticism, Greg accepts that “he needs to know the truth about how others perceive his art if he is to develop as an artist.” He knows that everyone has a different view of the world and accepts that. He said that, “As an artist it is not my intention to make people understand my art from my perspective – I just need to put it out there and hope that people get something meaningful from it. I believe that reaction is better than indifference.” Self-assured and single-minded about his art and what he wants it to communicate, Greg revealed that, “When I am coming up with concepts for my artwork I am in fact exploring a part of myself that I need to better understand. And in so doing, I hope that my audience can see what I am going through, appreciate my message – and maybe even see themselves in the art and find their own personal message.”

Art with a positive purpose

When looking at his work it is obvious that Greg always tries to use humour to convey his themes. As he explained, “Even if I want to express a serious or intense feeling I try to do this from a positive and light hearted perspective. My goal is not to shock the audience – I want them to smile, to be curious and of course, to learn something about themselves.”

According to Greg, one of the best aspects about being an artist is that it gives you the freedom to express yourself, and this in itself gives you an immense sense of joy. For instance he explained, “If an issue is on my subconscious then it automatically manifests itself in my art. An example of this is my serious concern for ecological issues – this is very apparent in my artwork. I am extremely happy that my art has a purpose.” However, he also admitted that one of the more challenging sides of this career is dealing with art as a business, because if you decide to do this, you have to give more consideration to creating art that your audience will buy. Greg proudly states, “I will always be an artist – this is who I am. I am grateful to my Dad for inspiring my disciplined work ethic and my Mum for encouraging my creativity. I hope that in the future I can find an audience here at home and abroad who will appreciate my work. And someday soon I would also like to do more solo exhibitions. This is my goal.”

With an unwavering belief in his art, Greg Chin is set to continue doing what he loves best – creating unique artwork that will intrigue and inspire you.

In What is Art by Leo Tolstoy he states, “If only the spectators … are infected by the feelings which the author has felt, it is art.”

“Even if I want to express a serious or intense feeling I try to do this from a positive and light hearted perspective. My goal is not to shock the audience – I want them to smile, to be curious and of course, to learn something about themselves.”

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This article was published in the Jan-Mar 2014 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!