When I was about 4years old, I lived in a book store. On my walls hung posters and paintings by old mastersThose old images touched my heart even as a small child. I could see the magic and happiness in the pictures so vividly, it was as if I could get inside them. I was enchanted. ’That’s when becoming an artist myself became my dream.
In 1999 I started painting with my uncle who is a sign painter and can paint like an old master.I had been struggling to find a way to learn how to become an artist- I couldn’t read English very well and I had no idea how to use the internet, and so the only way I could learn how to paint was to copy old photos and old paintings for signs. So I had to wait,keep painting, learning Englishand find something else to do so I could make enough money to study art.
In 2004, after I graduated from high school, I wanted to go to Phnom Penh to study painting at the Royal Art University but my family couldn’t afford my living expenses, so I went back to my hometown, Battambang. After returning home, my cousin recommended me to study Graphic Design at a Vocational Training Centre. Unfortunately the school didn’t have the budget to pay for art classes, so we only had a few art classes per year and so my art education was slow.
I then secured an internship in Phnom Penh for a company called Cade Advertising. In my free time I studied English, I kept painting and I learnt how to use the internet so I could study English and Chinese, art techniques, concepts and art history. This is when I met lots of artists and I attended a weekend class on Anatomy by an American teacher name Marc Pollack, which helped me greatly with my art.
At the end of 2011 I decided to move away from the busy capital city back to sleepy Battambang, which was risky for my future career as an artist. Thankfully,I found a job in a gallery called Sammaki where I worked as a Gallery Manager. But my real passion was to be a full-time artist. So I quit and I just started painting full-time and helping my family.
I was involved in an art festival call Our City Festival for Battambang. I made huge neck tie installations called Urban Ties. Sometime later, with the help of some of my artist friends, my work was shown to Dana Langlois, who runs Java Arts in Phnom Pehn, and has helped many artists in Cambodia develop their careers. My exhibition at Java sold out and I was invited to exhibit in Singapore. I feel so much more secure and content working as a full time artist. I feel that developing my practice gives me the chance to share my soul with the world. My painting creates a bridge from Cambodia to the world beyond.