Art Shaped Me

Creating art was always a way out for me, it had given me a healthy outlet to express and let go of all my feelings. I guess art had given me a chance to slow down and explore the issues I was having such as growing up in a family where attention was not given. I didn’t do well in school, except in art. It was then that I felt everything was crumbling down.

As a full-time apprentice, most of my time was dedicated to working at the architect firm. I was paid RM150 per month. I was comfortably and happily working there, until my master Mr Phoon told me to pursue a course as an interior designer... Interior Designer?

A profession that was alien during the mid-’80s. Nevertheless, I trusted my mentor who had my interest at heart as I was his most loyal student. My dream had always been to be like my master, to become an My Life Journey: The Rugged Walk 20 artist. I asked, “Why be an interior designer and not an artist?” And I remembered his words until today, “to become an artist, you need to be famous and that’s the only way you can survive”. It took me a long while to understand the reason behind it.

Later on, I found out that my father hadn’t been paying fees for my art class. It had been going on for several years. Yet my art master continued to teach me because I was a good student. I was not informed back then, but I appreciate the support and advice given to me.

The answer to his suggestion lies in the fact that my family’s business was failing, and the only way closest to art that is feasible in a way I can be of good use is to explore interior design.

I could not have become an architect then unless I pursued an architecture course. In the back of my head, I knew my results at school would have not qualified me to enrol in the course, and thus, interior design was the only option. 

Excerpt from The Rugged Walk by Ed Mun