Artist spotlight: Valen Lim
Who he is: Growing up amid heritage shophouses and scenes of Benggali bread man and trishaw peddlers whizz past his daily commute, Valen Lim Chong Chin's original inspiration is his hometown. He began his education with an art diploma at The One Academy Penang before returning as a tutor at his alma mater.
About his design: While he cites American illustrator Charley Harper as his muse, Valen's design is a cross of Owen Davey (his second muse) and old Penang charm in fun, retro colours. His most recent project thus far is a Google Business Group Malaysia collaboration where he was tasked to create illustration with hints of local elements. 'It's a fun project for me as this is my first time combining vector graphics with commercial projects'. Still, his proudest assignment was a publication project from his college days. 'I chose Rifle Range Flats as my topic. It is the first low cost housing project and currently occupied by senior citizens'. But it was both an inspiring yet lonely project. 'That was my first time making documentary, doing interviews, taking photographs and designing layout by myself'.
His design for Google Business Group Malaysia's gDayX Malaysia
About the industry: In between his morning Milo and catching up on emails, he believes there's a bright future installed for our local design community, more so with the public warming up to independent art. 'You can easily see from the overwhelming response of wall murals and designed cafes'. Additionally, online platforms like Behance, Tumblr and Dribbble as well as designer group meet-ups lends a level of exposure to homegrown designers like himself. As a Penang-based graphic designer, the perks are there to which he explains, 'I enjoy the atmosphere of Penang that is mixed with rural and heritage characteristics. The community here are friendly too'.
Where to find him: Valen is currently selling his designs and prints at Little Penang Street Market. If you're lucky, you can bump into him while he make his rounds at the local bookstores, scavenging retro items or strolling around the heritage area. Cheng Sim
For the latest updates on Valen Lim, see his Facebook page.