Soon Lai Wai was born in 1970, Penang, Malaysia. He moved to Kuala Lumpur in the early ‘90s to pursue a career in advertising. Although he had a background in art education from Saito Academy, where he learned the basic foundation and skills to painting, he started out as a graphic designer. Many years later, he felt the need to leave the stressful industry.
Having studied Chinese painting, he began combining Western oil paints with the traditional watercolour brushstrokes synonymous with Oriental paintings. A lover of nature, many of his paintings are inspired by the vibrant colours he sees in the lush Malaysian landscape, with its tropical flora and fauna.
Upon the advice of his friend and fellow artist Lim Ah Cheng, renowned as a ‘horse painter’, he eventually settled on painting the beautiful lotus flower as his main trademark. The lotus is depicted in various colours, styles, sizes, and types in many of his paintings. Lai Wai explains, “I chose the lotus as my identity as a painter, because not only do I really love this flower, but I believe it has an International theme that resonates with all kinds of people.”
During his career as an artist, Lai Wai has gained international recognition for his confident brushstrokes, vivid colours, and fluid motions. He has exhibited in various parts of Asia such as Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and China, and has made a name for himself as a semi-abstract expressionist painter.