Alex Liong Chen Hui - Breaking Tradition of Clay Art : Not as Sculpture but Carved 'Paintings'

Alex Liong Chen Hui - Breaking Tradition of Clay Art : Not as Sculpture but Carved 'Paintings'

Is it possible to paint using clay? Alex Liong Chen Hui, an artist and art teacher with 30 years of experience, is making that possible! 

Traditionally, clay has always been associated with potteries and sculptures in the field of fine art. Carving clay in a manner that makes it look like a painting is something uncommon which Alex has a deep passion in. Let us get to know more about Alex and this form of art! 

1. When did you start creating art using clay?

I started using clay for my teaching since 10 years ago, in 2011.

Alex Liong Chen Hui Inner Joy Art Gallery, Malaysia

2. As an art teacher and an artist with 30 years of experience, why did you choose clay as a medium to focus on now?

I enjoy trying new materials which allows me to explore different experiences in my creative path. Thus, clay seems to be a good choice and unusual in the art industry. I use a local-made clay as its properties include a variety of colors, elasticity, anti-hardening, durability, while also being easy to blend. 

Alex Liong Chen Hui, Clay Art, Inner Joy Art Gallery

3. You mentioned in your artist bio that your vision is to transform clay art into something unique that transcends traditions. How did this vision come about?

In general, the media used in art are watercolors, acrylic paints, oil paints and other mixed media, whereas clay is rather rare and new for paintings. Indeed it is more common for ceramics and sculpture. My clay art is mainly presented in surface qualities such as tactile, embossing, and carving styles. Therefore, I believe through different presentations, clay can certainly stand out from the crowd

4. It is inspiring to know someone who has been in the art field for 30 years, founded your own art program and school, is actively playing the role of an art teacher to the younger generations as well as building your career as an artist. What are your tips to persevere for so long in this field?

Teaching art is my passion; Clay art is my artistic journey; Art is my life.

Alex Liong Chen Hui, Clay Artist, Inner Joy Art Gallery, Malaysia

5. What is the most memorable moment for you being in this art field?

The entire season of lockdown (from 2020 till now) had inspired me to start creating all the masterpieces of clay paintings.

6. How about the most challenging moment - if you don't mind sharing, what / when were those challenges / challenging moments and about how did you rise up from those challenge(s)?

It is challenging to introduce Clay as a new art medium when it doesn't seem familiar to the local market. By participating in art exhibitions and competitions, and with an one-of-its-kind presentation, these clay arts are now gaining some popularity and recognition in the art field. Indeed, it’s a strong belief and perseverance that keeps me going!

Alex Liong Chen Hui - art creation process using clay art

7. Do you have a schedule to create art, or do you create at any time when inspiration strikes?

There's no specific schedule for me to create art, especially since we are all working from home now. My inspiration comes from day-to-day life, past experience and memories. Most importantly are different technique and ideas that I choose to apply to each new creation.

8. Some people say that 'when your hobby becomes work, it is not fun anymore'. What's your view about this?

I am blessed to have this hobby that is also a skill of my profession. Surprisingly, I had never felt tired and bored with the same on-going work since day one. In fact, it is a good momentum to move me further, from an art instructor to a clay artist today. We should always believe in ourselves and give the best in what we do!  

Alex Liong Chen Hui, Clay Artist, with one of his masterpieces

9. Life balance is very important, how do you balance your life / time as an artist, art teacher, husband, father, and own personal time too?

Thanks to my family members for their support and understanding by allowing me to focus on this new venture, they are the people behind  my success. Beside my teaching job and art making, I appreciate every quality moment with my family.

10. How do you plan to continue your growth in art in the next 3 - 5 years?

Just go by the flow as the world of art is unpredictable and unlimited. I will do my best to explore new methods and skills for a higher achievement in this journey of art. 

Alex Liong Chen Hui concentrating on his artwork


Thank you so much, Alex your time with us for this interview. Besides being inspiring, you have also given us some thoughts to ponder and motivation for those who are looking to grow further in their journey!


To get to know Alex and more of his artworks with the gallery, check out Alex's portfolio with us by clicking HERE. If you would like to request a commission piece or to know more about his artworks, email us at hello@innerjoyart.com.

Artwork by Alex Liong Chen Hui, Clay Artist, Inner Joy Art Gallery, Malaysia

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