(b. 1947, Guangdong Province, China – d. 2008, Singapore)
Born in China in 1947, Chua studied Chinese ink painting under the late Fang Chan Tien (1907-1987) from 1975 to 1984. Years later he took up formal training in Western Art and graduate from the University of Western Sydney in 1995.
Citing Fan as the most important influence in his artistic career, Chua is also proficient in Chinese calligraphy, poetry writing and seal carving. He has a seal which reads, “Rather awkwardness than skillfulness”. This is consistent with the philosophy of traditional scholar-artists who often sought to distant themselves for technical virtuosity of professional painters. Chua’s works do not seek to replicate nature but serve as a creative expression of his thoughts and personality.
The poet in Chua can see poetry in the most mundane blank walls. He often chose to depict old buildings with their crumbling walls and dilapidated facades. With incisive calligraphy strokes, rich tonal values and textures that he coaxes out of his brush, Chua breathes life into inanimate objects. His cityscapes belong spiritually in the realm of Chinese art. Chua views his subjects in close-up more in the manner of easel painting than as a hanging scroll. His art has made a breakthrough from a conventional Chinese art form to that of a more contemporary, Western style. In doing so, Chua has shown himself to be very much as artist of his time.
“Old Buildings are my favourite, After spotting a specific site, I would try getting a feel for the ambience by frequenting the area … (I) handled Chinese ink and brush in an abstract manner to better express myself and engage the viewer’s empathy”