For self-taught artist, Jeff Khoo, 30, painting is about self-actualisation and seeking balance in physical and spiritual development. Through art, he hopes to expand the public’s view and encourage people to live life to the fullest. A graduate in biotechnology from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Khoo also has a Masters’ degree in fisheries from National Taiwan Ocean University. He worked in numerous fish farms before venturing into art full time. His understanding of aquatic subjects has been put into good use in his paintings. He comments, “Fishes mesmerise me. I try to capture their beauty and hope that it will fascinate the public too.”
Most of Khoo’s artworks are allegorical. They symbolically express a deeper, often spiritual, philosophical, moral or political meaning. His orchid paintings strongly echo his values about relationships. Khoo considers the orchid as the king of flowers and he plants them in his studio. He paints the orchid to honour his fourth aunt, an orchid lover. “Without her, there would be no me in the art world. My aunt and my family members supported me both financially and mentally in realising my dream to be a painter.”
Jeff Khoo is one of two Kedah artists exhibiting 24 oil paintings at the ongoing art exhibition, ‘Form and Soul Dual Show’ at Atelier Art Space in Petaling Jaya. Both artists, who grew up in the countryside, are trying to express their philosophy of life through everyday subjects – fighting fishes (symbol of perseverance and hard work), arowana (self-motivation and pride) and orchids and lotuses (family and friendship). Through the exhibition, Khor Chang Kheng and Jeffrey Khoo Teng Chuan hope to remind people of the beauty of ordinary subjects.