In 2005 Sereyroth Chea everyday rides his bicycle early in the mornings for 15 kilometers from his home to Phare Punler Selpak Art School, to study his most favorite subject–visual art. Even though his friends and family told him, it was a useless subject, their opinions won’t deter Sereyroth’s true feeling toward his dream which makes him feel ‘alive’ every day. Despite financial hardship and judgment thrown at him. Sereyroth still makes headway for his journey of being a splendid artist whom everyone knows nowadays. Som Kanika had an exclusive interview with the emerging artist.
GT2: Many people know you because of your abstract artworks. What is the reason you chose the abstract art genre?
Sereyroth Chea: My type of drawing is abstract which doesn’t represent an accurate depiction of a visual reality but is expressed through colours. I love abstract drawings because it allows me to express my inner feelings of the reality of the world we live in.
I love it when people can empathize with the ideas or feeling I want them to feel through the pictures. However, what differentiates me from other artists who use brush or pen to create their art, I use my fingers and hands to produce the art pieces. I chose to do it this way because it allows me to have a connection with my true identity as well as my feelings.
Regarding my abstract art, I use a variety of techniques to depict the theme. I don’t stick to one method like other artists but I love to explore innovative ways of creating art. People might see my pieces which depict environmental issues but I do not only focus on environment, there are other social issues such as disaster of war.
GT2: How do you come up with the creative themes for your artworks?
Sereyroth Chea: The same as with other artists, my artwork requires a lot of thought and effort. Generally, it takes me around 3 to 6 months to find the idea and concept. That is usually the most difficult step for every artist because using your imagination to associate with reality and bring those concepts onto canvas, honestly requires a lot of self-discipline, concentration and self-empathy.
When I want to come up with another project, I usually spend time thinking about the concept that I want to work on. For example, if the project is about environmental issues, I would spend time immersed in natural surroundings so I can associate myself with the feeling of being with nature as well as try to understand the issues and different perspectives about the environment. On the other hand, if I am inspired to discover an art project about war and peace, you would see me spending time with a book that describes war. Therefore, in order to come up with the creative concept, you have to use your imagination and associate it with the thing that you want to work on as well spend time researching the concept and topics.
GT2: From young to now, have you always seen yourself as an artist, or at some point in life did you ever want to give up and go into another field? What always motivates you along the way?
Sereyroth Chea: When I was young I was always fascinated with the visual arts. Whenever I see artwork, I see its beauty and its meaning. I think everyone is born with the soul of artist inside them but some of them when growing up lose it along the way, while some still hold strongly on to it. If you ever asked me, what I would be if I were not an artist, I would see myself as nothing. Well! I might have a different job and live a normal life like other people but I might not be the same happy soul like I am right now. The motivation which carries me along the way, is the privilege of being able to express what I’m thinking. You might think it is simple but to some other people, it is not something people can do daily. Some people want to express their own feelings and they want to let their thoughts be wild and free. However, many of them hide their feelings because they don’t know how to describe it or what way to let it out. Therefore I think this is a great privilege for me to choose art and demonstrate my thoughts on it.
GT2: Speaking to some youth, they said following their dreams of being an artist still is a difficult decision to make especially since there are many negative opinions on how it is not a lucrative job.
Sereyroth Chea: In the past, drawing was not recognized in society as a job. However, nowadays people are a lot more open-minded and this applies not only to visual arts but in general all art forms including the performing arts. Whatever you do, there will always be negative opinions, but the thing is if you are determined enough, you will be able to achieve what you want. In addition to this, there are also a variety of ways you can learn about art and drawing. While it comes to an issue of finance, I think the youth are very creative nowadays. There are many ways you can make money out of your artworks, it might not be on a big scale but you can develop your skills and ideas on to it.