PETALING JAYA, April 17 — Malaysia is home to renowned artists which includes Datuk Ibrahim Hussein, Latiff Mohidin and Eric Quah and the art scene in Malaysia is very much alive and thriving.

Many however still believe that there is little future or financial opportunity for artists in Malaysia, leading to loss of passion for art among many young aspiring artists despite numerous ways to generate income and sustain a livelihood through art.

Malay Mail spoke to a young artist and an art lecturer to explore the just what lies ahead for young and aspiring artists.

Talented young artist Ong Jengkay has crafted numerous pieces. — Picture via Jengkay
Talented young artist Ong Jengkay has crafted numerous pieces. — Picture via Jengkay


Monetisation and sustainability

Known for her stunning E-Art creations, the talented Ong Jengkay has crafted numerous exquisite pieces.

With a love for art evident in her extensive portfolio, including commissioned pieces for clients, she offered an insight into how individuals can monetise their artistic talents apart from showcasing their work globally.


With ten years of experience, she explained sharing one's works is a necessary start.

“Share your art by posting it on social media platforms such as ArtStation, X (Twitter), and Instagram; and eventually, people will start noticing your art, and start contacting you for commissions.

“It also helps foster the growth of your own audience and community.”

She shared her experience saying, “I started posting my art for fun without the mindset of making money.

“However, after people saw my art on social media, they started contacting me to request commissions.”

“It happens organically... I would say I'd give it a year or two, but it really depends,” said Ong.

“There are also platforms such as Patreon, VGen, and Ko-fi where others can support you by donating or commissioning art pieces.”

“These platforms are typically renowned for selling artworks and are commonly used by artists.”

Getting started is incredibly straightforward — create an account and profile and showcase your artwork.

It's important to note that VGen, on the other hand, requires a code, which you can obtain through various means such as participating in their challenges on Discord.

“Participating in offline conventions and events offers another avenue to monetise your art and showcase it to a wider audience.”

“These gatherings provide opportunities for people to purchase your physical artwork, such as media art prints, art books, stickers, paintings, and more.

“Events such as Comic Fiesta, AniManGaki, and Comic Art Festival Kuala Lumpur are also platforms for artists to reach out to potential buyers and enthusiasts."

So is it sustainable to pursue art in today's digital era being more accessible than ever?

“Anyone with a computer or smartphone can access social media, enabling artists to share their work with a global audience and connect with potential clients or professionals directly.

“This accessibility can profoundly impact artist's careers.”

Her artwork can be viewed on her Instagram page, @jengkayart, as well as on X(Twitter) at

Gwendoline Chan shared her advice for young and aspiring artists. — Picture via Gwendoline
Gwendoline Chan shared her advice for young and aspiring artists. — Picture via Gwendoline

The state of the art industry

A lecturer in graphic and art design, Gwendoline Chan who has nearly eight years of experience teaching art, shared her thoughts on the contemporary landscape of the art industry today.

“I believe it is experiencing notable growth compared to previous years.

“There is an increase in the number of art festivals, galleries, and exhibitions, indicating a thriving scene.

“For example, the Kuala Lumpur Illustration Fair serves as a platform for local artists to showcase their illustrations with creativity and concept, fostering a sense of community and providing opportunities for recognition and support,” she said.

“This not only encourages and inspires artists but also highlights the talent that Malaysia has to offer.”

To aspiring and young artists, she said, "For young artists aspiring to make it big in the art industry, my advice is to maintain a continuous learning attitude regardless of your current stage.

“The industry is constantly evolving, and embracing new challenges is essential for growth.”

She reminded them to keep an open mind, observe trends, and adapt to new techniques and technologies.

“Never compromise your integrity or artistic expression for commercial success.

“Success in the art industry requires time, perseverance, and patience.”

Chan reminded to "stay true to your creative vision and values, and remain resilient in the face of challenges.

“Actively network and collaborate with other artists and professionals.

“These collaborations will help you grow and succeed in the competitive landscape of the art world.”