Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Artist Extraordinaire: Ping Lian Yeak

Photo of Ping Lian Yeak

As a student of art and art history, I’m always on the lookout for interesting art and artists. The other day I came across the artist Ping Lian Yeak. I was especially impressed with his expressive line work and wonderful use of color. It turns out that not only is Ping talented, he also has autism.

Ping Lian Yeak was born in Kuala Lumpur in 1993, and moved to Sydney, Australia with his family in 2006. They had lived in Australia before, but they decided to move back after Ping’s father died suddenly from a heart attack in 2004. When Ping was young, his parents knew he was different, because he was hyperactive and didn’t sleep much. At age four, he was diagnosed with ADHD with autism characteristics.

At a young age, Ping was also interested in art. His mother, Sarah Lee, wanted to improve Ping’s fine motor coordination skills, so she had him trace shapes through transparent paper. He eventually outgrew tracing, and went on to practicing other art skills, which he seemed obsessed with. This kind of keen focus on specific things is often found in people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This was a revelation for Ping’s mom, because she realized that Ping could use his art skills to make a living. Lee had been wondering for a while how Ping would support himself as he grew up given his issues with autism. Lee helped to grow Ping’s talent by hiring art teachers, and now Ping’s art has appeared in exhibitions in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia.
Book Cover

In April of this year, a book about Ping’s journey written by his mother, "I Want to Be Artist: An Autistic Savant’s Voice and a Mother’s Dream Transformed Onto Canvas," premiered in the US at the Treffert Lecture series hosted by Marian University and the Treffert Center in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. The book is available on Amazon and other retailers.

Ping still has limited communication and social skills, but his art has provided him with a great outlet for expression and for making a living. He works in charcoal, acrylic, water color, ink, and oil. In addition to selling his wonderful art pieces, he continues to donate his works to organizations and charities. To learn more about Ping, check out www.pinglian.com. Ping also has a facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/pinglianyeak/.

Ping's Art

Ping's Art

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