Ping Lian Yeak

12003 Sydney Opera House
Watercolor & Ink on Paper 20.5” x 29.5”

11013 Sydney Opea House
Watercolor & Ink on Paper 25.5” x 39.5”

At first glance, viewers are stunned by the sheer amount of detail of Ping Lian Yeak’s ink and watercolor drawings. Utilizing the line and contour as an extension of himself, Ping crafts scenes of his world travels that are charged with feverish immediacy. His mastery over the line takes on a life of its own through the architectural elements within his drawings. Sprawling facades of the Sydney Opera house, the waterside mosques of Istanbul, and the digital billboards of Times Square are all rendered with zealous detail. Ping builds his compositions with confidence as line and contour overwhelm almost every inch of the plane. Here, color is not contained by line; rather, Ping disperses patches of bright colors throughout his compositions that both augment the mass and volume of his scenes and reflect the cheerful chaos of his explorations.

“I Want to Be ARTIST” book cover

Born in Malaysia in 1993, Ping was diagnosed with autism at an early age. His journey is a remarkable one. According to his mother, Sarah SH Lee, Ping was at first “hyperactive…unable to hold a pencil to write or to use a scissor to cut.” Guided by Lee, Ping began a program of tracing and drawing activities to assist in strengthening his motor and imitation skills. At eight years old, Ping had already begun to tap into prodigious talent as his pen transformed from a therapeutic tool to a synergist of thought and emotion. By age fifteen, Ping opened a personal gallery in Malaysia. His work has since been displayed throughout various sites in New York. Agora Gallery’s 2015 exhibit “Out From Down Under & Beyond: Fine Art From Australia & New Zealand” marked an exceptional period in Ping’s career, as his work was chosen not for his condition, but for his exceptional artistic talent.

Ping Lian in his studio

Lee has documented Ping’s work and journey in a book entitled “I Want To Be Artist”: An Autistic Savant’s Voice and a Mother’s Dream Transformed Onto Canvas, released in April 2017. The book serves as an inspiration not only to the autistic community, but also to the art world at large. Ping now resides in Sydney, Australia.