Batik Artist Emilia Tan

My name is Tan Mei Shia (T.M.S) , with my surname being Tan. However everyone loves to call me Emilia. I was born in Selangor, Malaysia and my obsession with art emerged after the age of six. I was doing very well in watercolour painting for more than 10 years during my primary school and high school years before I decided to enter the world of Batik.

In 1999, after high school, I decided to travel around Asia in a journey of exploration to find my way in life. I spent two years finding my way, studying about other countries? cultures and humanism. I became very interested in Australian Aboriginal art from the first time I arrived in Australia. After that I was determined to study more about Aboriginal art when I was staying in Melbourne, Australia.

My Journey as an Artist is evolving slowly.

My Wonderful Teachers

In 2001 with respected Ms. Fatimah Chik and Mr. Samsuddin as my guides, I was introduced to the art of Batik. This was during my textile and fashion designing course at the Malaysian Institute of Art (M.I.A). I was very fortunate to have so many wonderful teachers with which the knowledge and instructions that I receive has been valuable to my artistic development. Presently, Ms. Fatimah Chik and Mr. Samsuddin are recognised as Malaysian?s finest Batik artists. They were my Tutors, teaching and cultivating an appreciation for contemporary art and experimenting with abstract impressionism. They shared with me various skills and techniques with which they had experimented with and devised over the years. Thus, I developed a strong interest in batik painting and soon displayed my talent that enabled me to work as an artist of considerable repute.

My Influences

The time that I have spent in Australia has been the biggest influence on my work. The influences of my world are Australian Aboriginal art, with its very fine lines and fine dots. I have succeeded to create my own style with a mix of aboriginal art styles with batik techniques. The influences of Malaysian batik and European impressionist movements are obvious in my work, where the emphasis is always on technique and the message portrayed is ?It?s not what I paint, but how I create it, so that it will belong to me, and leads off to my own personal style?. My work, a painting with integrity speaks for itself and it prefers to dwell on purity, intuition and integrity. It is a form of painting that mixes traditional impressionistic values with versatility- an honest interest in contemporary batik art. I use influences and symbols from many cultures in my work, rather than painting in a fixed traditional Malay Batik style.

My Inspiration , Concept & Composition Influences

My inspiration comes from my inner spiritual life, images surface from my ongoing and deeply personal relationship with the surface of life. It also guides my spiritual growth, healing and brings me to a new level of spiritual fulfilment.
My innate sense of design and colours and my love of Australian Aboriginal art joined together to create a contemporary Batik art form. All my Batiks contain basic aspects of my work; original in concept, imaginative in treatment, brimming with action and life. This is the most critical part of developing my own style. My inner vision emerges from my own life experiences. I trust my own intuition and keep searching for my own vision.
There will be times where I may feel totally uninspired. The creative process is not always continuous and the execution of an idea can be interrupted or even grinds to a stop. I tell myself to keep an open mind because the process may still be incubating. I have never been discouraged or afraid to change directions. This may be the time when the birth of new ideas is forming below my consciousness in which does not demand perfection of myself. This is a time to reflect in my journal and try to visualize the direction I may want to go. By keeping the faith, the uniqueness will eventually emerge.
It is rare that a situation such as this presents itself ? the opportunity for Malaysians to purchase modernist painting of an international standard. My work is characterised by rich and vivid colour with very strong contrast and contemporary batik style.

My Painting Style: Realism & Abstraction

I alternate between realism and abstraction in my paintings. While the result looks very different, basically the process and the goals are the same. Although I try to work intuitively and spontaneously, I am still so aware of the rules and principles of design that my intuitive decisions are all filtered through my design sensibilities.
I love painting abstracts because the spirit of my soul comes out and I truly paint from my heart. I try to paint the subject as I perceive it rather than try to achieve a realistic interpretation. Using an abstract motif is a marvellous way to practice creating loss and found edges; producing a painting that is expressive in its emotional content. When I create abstract art, I normally work with the basic elements of design and colour theories, but I am not limited to rendering an accurate representation.
I love to use rich multi-layered surfaces. Layering colour over colour or material over material builds depth and luminosity. The richness of several layers interacting and the sense of mystery created by successive layers peeking through my painting are the elements that make my work unique.
Abstraction and realism are the two finished forms my work takes but from my prospective the similarities far overweight the differences. The common unifying factor is design.
?Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it? ? Madeleine L.Engle

My Color

I love to apply many colours in my painting that makes it more colourful. As the more colours used in my work means, more energy will be transmitted to my paintings. Actually, colour is the most expressive element of art and can move a painting from a mere depiction of fact to one that expresses a variety of emotions. The composition of each colour is different; each colour?s personality will emerge as the colour is floating on the water through the surface of the fabric. I usually add colour to a very wet fabric surface, giving it the image of being caught in the moment between time and space.
It works by placing wet colour on top of dry colours and covering with removable wax on each layer. When dry, this creates a neutral tone. I create contrasting colours when I layer a dark colour over a light or a textured surface over a smooth surface, change the temperature when I layer cool over warm or create a concept where I layer an image over an image.
I love to paint my composition by layering colour over colour and working from light to dark. The use of complementary colours allows me to accurately express almost anything I desire. An important element in evoking emotion and conveying a particular mood is my choice and use of colour.

My Mastering Techniques

Batik, a Javanese term meaning ?wax painting?, indicates a system of motif application by dyeing finished cloths. The technique involves the dyeing of fabrics where parts of the cloth not to be dyed are covered with layers of removable wax. The fabric is then immersed in dye with the waxed portions resisting the dye. This process is repeated for each colour.
I found my own artistic identity in contemporary Batik art. As for techniques that need to be mastered in contemporary Batik, these include blocking, tjanting, tie-dye and cracking. Each technique is represented separately, but when I combine all these technique, a contemporary batik painting is produced. The tool that I personally use the most as a batik painter is the tjanting technique.

By breaking down and analysing the techniques one by one, I can see that tjanting technique works best for me. It is easier to control when comparing with other techniques. The most difficult technique is cracking. The characteristic ?cracking? is the interesting little veining of colour; occur when the congealed wax, hard and brittle, ruptures and the dye are able to penetrate these places.

I love to paint wet-into-wet, because it is the most creative, sensuous and energetic of all techniques. Lifting is a very basic yet critical technique used to create some white and to help achieve a fresh look in my painting. The first lifting usually occurs during the wet-to-wet process. While the colour is floating on the sizing, the colour will easily lift off the fabric. Lifting with a thirsty brush, tissue, sponge or any absorbent tools can achieve this look.
By adding salt, it can create a granular texture when dropping it onto a wet surface. The salt actually repels the water and leaves a white shape that varies in sizes depending on the size of the original salt particles and the degree of dampness of the fabric. A soft and dissolved look will finally occur using this technique. The use of salt is not one of my favourite techniques because the salt leaves a residue when it dries that could affect the permanence of colour. For your information, during times of high humidity, the salt may even reactivate and continue to dissolve the paint. This is the main reason why I avoid using salt in my painting.

Another technique is by rubbing alcohol with water as it wicks into the fabric; creating a whimsical, soft bubble-shaped texture. However alcohol is so unpredictable that it can penetrate the shapes. It can be applied by dripping, spraying or painting. I succeeded in producing a marvellous line by squeezing the alcohol out of a bottle with a needle on the top.
Finally let?s talk a little bit more about collage technique here as well. Use of many collage fabrics in different sizes, colours, shapes, textures are glued to the work to add harmonic enrichment and to form connecting elements that add unity to the painting. The entire surface is then wet and more colours are applied onto those collage fabrics. The new interpretation will now be judged on design and content. I have unearthed the key elements of colour, value, texture and shape then integrated them with a new integrity.

I am primarily a Batik painter completing a painting with 90% in batik media and the other 10 % in other media such as acrylic, art maker, crayon and water colour. It is important for me to try as many media as possible to find something new in my batik world and also to find the best combination to suit my intention and artistic personality. I always keep my antennae tuned into a new direction. I try to be open minded in my works and I?m never afraid of trial and error. I know in my heart that my uniqueness will emerge in my art works.

Knowledge of all the technical expertise available is still not my ultimate goal but rather, a starting point. I give myself permission to go into search mode and explore myself, through trial and error to find the path to my own personal style. After a period of time observing and experimenting, I can see some results from the combinations of these techniques.
?Art is an expression of your own vision and eventually you will make up your own rules. Inspiration is everywhere. My journey through the world of batik is a continuing adventure and I still find myself learning and discovering everyday.? said this young Batik artist, Emilia.

创业人生 Emilia's Corporate Journey




俗语说,三岁定八十,TMS Art Gallery ( )创办人陈美霞(Emilia Tan)从小就散发出浓浓的艺术气息,偏爱画画的她打趣的说:「小时候只要一动笔画画,就会一『画』不可收拾,甚至废寝忘食,因此我尽量不在晚上画画,不然就会越画越过瘾,舍不得上床睡觉。」



梦想灭了 再筑梦想



「除了热爱画画,我对科技资讯甚有兴趣,因此设立了一个网站,将自己的作品上载至该网站,让更多人看到。 」2003年开始,她成立自己的公司,将自己的住所充当工作室,除了透过网络宣传,也有参与一些展览活动,甚至有一段时期,她在Royal Selangor Visitor Centre设小摊子,展示及售卖其作品。

就在那个时候,MK Land发展商在她个人网站看到其作品时投于欣赏的眼光,并邀请她到当时新张落成的Tropicana购物中心展出其作品,该发展商更购买了她的一副峇迪作品作为囊中物。「这样的经营模式一直维持了大约2年,还好峇迪的利润比较高,竞争也比较少,加上善于和别人沟通的优势,让我得到许多发展商或企业机构的偏爱。」

寻找定位 增加自信



「我清楚自己要的是什么,所以才朝着所设下的目标出发。为谋生、为三餐,每个人一开始也许都是为自己而做(work for yourself);当三餐温饱,思维就渐渐有了转变,开始想为自己的行业而做(work for your industry),接下来,当然就是希望可以引领行业(lead the industry),我就是属于那么『不甘于此』的人,所以才一步一脚印你地去建立自己的事业。」





2006年,她在位于安邦路的Amp Walk购物中心租了一个店面作为工作室及陈列室,但该地点却严重缺乏泊车位,此问题不但为她本身带来困扰,也让到访其工作室的顾客感到不便,因此,她在第二年将工作室迁至Taman Melawati,并在同年出版杂志《My Batik》。




陈美霞的果断是来自她对自己的信任,当第1本以拿督蔡天定为封面人物的《My Batik》面市时,随即得到了很好的口碑,不禁让人对这位年轻小妮子刮目相看。「在与拿督蔡天定安排采访的过程中,其实没有想象中简单,毕竟拿督蔡是一名『大人物』,而且当年的他已迈入95岁高龄,身体状况也不甚理想,但这个任务对我来说是志在必得的,还好最终我透过一名买家购买拿督蔡的画才成功与他联系,并完成了这项艰巨的任务。拿督蔡在接受采访约1年多后宣告逝世,而我们成为了他生前最后一个接触他的媒体。」

杂志和其他产品一样必须树立品牌,《My Batik》亦特设栏位刊登有关名人及大人物的报导,就是透过一些文化艺术领域或场合接触更多名人,并与他们作进一步的报导,再把杂志寄给他们,就采用这样方式扩张人脉提升杂志的形象。「当杂志殿下了一定的知名度,我们接着很荣幸地邀请到我国前首相夫人Tun Siti Hasmah及当今的首相夫人Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor成为杂志封面人物,很快的,杂志就得到了各商家、企业家及广大读者们的肯定,甚至有许多国外名人都曾与我们配合。」 ( )





2010年,她再开拓了另一个平台,设立Buy Batik?峇迪及工艺品网上商店,( ) 除了可在该网上购买到现成的产品,也可以询问有关特别订制的产品,让其事业更全面化地发展,达到一站式的服务理念。「只要顾客在网上商店开启户口,就可以把其峇迪商品放入网页中出售,更吸引了国外顾客在此网站售卖峇迪商品,成为国内外峇迪商人交流与及推广峇迪文化的平台。」





企业合作 发展迅速

陈美霞这种大方无私的作风及前瞻性的眼光,为她的事业创造更多的商机,这些年来,她曾与许多单位及企业进行配合,例如KLCC、Asian Handicraft、Royal Selangor Visitor Centre及Eastin Hotel等,都曾是其公司的合作伙伴。「其实企业与企业间的合作,早已成为一种新趋势,透过这种合作方式,不但可以让峇迪产品与其他产品结合,创造出更有新意的商品,也让企业发展地更迅速。」&