A self-taught muralist from Sarawak, Kong Chak Kiong, 31, or popularly known by his nickname Jagung, is another Sarawak pride.
Painting since 2015, his medium is spray paint and the styles explore are 3D realistic objects and portraits.
Kong said that he enjoys travelling the world and painting as many walls as he can.
“Travelling replenishes my mind, body, and soul. It also inspires me artistically when I learn about new places and cultures,” he said.
Without any tertiary education, Kong broadens his horizons with new knowledge and experiences from travelling.
“For me, travelling is like painting a portrait. I enjoy spending time observing every little detail of the environment and people around me,” he said.
Kong shared that perfecting every detail in his mural is what he enjoyed the most.
“Starting a mural from scratch, playing with warm and cool colours, and gradually turning it into a 3D mural gives me a great sense of accomplishment.
“If you notice, I like to invert the colours in my mural so that the whole composition looks less boring, I call this my ‘showstopper’ technique,” he added.
However, Kong said that he always keeps an open mind to opinions and criticisms on his murals and enjoys connecting with other artists to improve himself on his painting journey.
When asked about his opinion on the art industry in Sarawak, Kong pointed out that working in the art industry was not easy.
“Whether it is in Sarawak or Sibu, working in this industry is more difficult than in other industries. There are no classes or university courses for adult painting, and they are very few opportunities,” he said.
Hence, Kong said that the government plays a very crucial role in the future of the industry.
“If the government does not value the importance of these soft powers, the city will only be in ashes. Just think about the fact that our lives are inseparable from design, beauty, and aesthetics.
“If there is no such series of operations, how can people’s interest in one thing be increased? So, art is very important! It’s just that the government focuses too much on hardware facilities rather than talent cultivation,” he said.
Kong also advised youth who wants to embark upon the same path as him to think carefully about what their passion is before jumping into the industry.
“I think you have to figure out whether you want painting as a hobby or as a career. Then determine how are you going to get to your path of choice and find what you want,” he said.
For the record, Kong has done several impressive murals including a 2D model on the back of a building in Jalan Ramin in Sibu.
In 2018, Kong and his team produced the largest mural in the state at the open car park of Wisma Vasty along the Island Road.
He was also invited to participate in the International Street Art Festival this coming August, representing Malaysia to paint a mural at Waterford, Ireland.