Iconic Artist – TUNKU KHALSOM

Original Post

HOMME Magazine is always honoured to showcase artists from around the globe who’ve either made a lasting impact on the art scene or still navigating and shaping the international art world. 

Of course, great female painters exist and have existed, not only in the shadow of male artists and dealing with various hardships but with their own singularities and unique talents.  

Tunku Khalsom, already an iconic artist working primarily in paint is the subject of the HOMME Artist Interview.

Tunku Khalsom, already an iconic artist working primarily in paint is the subject of the HOMME Artist Interview.

“As a self-taught abstract artist and Interior Architecture graduate of Malaysian and British descent, Tunku Khalsom is revered for her work which exudes fluidity and stunning colour. Embracing the concepts of ‘Life, Love, and Change’, Khalsom incorporates bright and bold colours which evoke different emotions, whilst having the power to alter mood and thought. With work displayed in the homes of private collectors across Asia, the USA, and Greece, Khalsom has also exhibited her work at the Affordable Art Fair Singapore and the Asian Art Platform Gallery, and is currently working on her latest collection alongside a series of private commissions” ~ Julia Roxan for LUXUO.

“Khalsom’s unique style will take her to the podium of the great artists” ~ HOMME Magazine

“Khalsom’s main focus is abstract art, contrasting colours, bold strokes, broken details and rough textures. Often adorned with intricate hand cut butterflies, this dynamic style makes up the main body of her work” ~ the Artling

HOMME: What pressures did/do you face as a female artist?

TK: The same pressures I would assume that a male artist would face. I personally don’t feel like I’m hindered in any way because I am a woman. If you want to talk old notions or cliches, then I feel that being a woman has actually helped me because I can multitask like a Queen!

The pressures I do face are trying to produce work that I can honestly feel proud of, that meets up to the quality of my past pieces, and to continue to remain creative. I don’t want to keep churning the same thing out over and over again. There is this benchmark that I am always trying to reach, but that’s self inflicted and has nothing to do with being female. Thankfully I have yet to be in a position where my sex has affected my work, that I imagine would be quite an interesting conversation.

“Tunku Khalsom, the charmingly down to earth artist creating vivid artworks for collectors from London to Lombok”  ADDICTED ART GALLERY

120 x 120 cm mixed media on wood.

HOMME: Can you tell us a little bit about your work philosophy?

TK: I prefer to try not to plan my work too much. I may have ideas on colours and textures that I might like to incorporate, but they often change, sometimes quite dramatically. So I like to just let my work flow and come naturally. That way you never know what the outcome will be, I think that’s exciting.

“Bright, bold colours evoke different emotions, having the power to alter moods and thoughts. It’s this relationship with colour that Khalsom uses to make her pieces come to life” ~ Artland

‘ONLY ONES WHO KNOW’, 90 × 90 cm mixed media in acrylic with black wood frame

HOMME: 2020… how was it for you?

TK: Honestly, good and bad. I have been lucky to not have been directly affected by the virus, no one I know has had it, but it has had an effect on my family business as expected as we are in hospitality, but on a personal note it’s actually been a pretty successful year.

I have had a steady flow of work throughout. I worked on a collection for Addicted Art Gallery here in Singapore which I started in August, and a whole load of commissions completed for collectors all over the world. I joined Addicted as well as La Galerie du Monde in KL. I’ve met some amazing people and had a fair amount of press, so it’s been really exciting for my art career. Of course I’m dying to travel like everyone else, but I really can’t complain.

My style of painting has also really developed over the year, taking on more of a distinct style. It’s been an interesting journey, and I’m really excited to see what happens next.

‘TWO MINDS’, 120 cm dia. Mixed media on wood board

HOMME: What is your goal and hope?

TK: My goal is to exhibit my art, to share it with the world. I also love to get a larger space to work in, it’s getting a little cramped in here. Then to just carry on learning and experimenting, and letting my work and my style evolve naturally.

HOMME: The skulls and the butterflies?

TK: Skulls and butterflies feature pretty heavily in my original pieces and prints, I just love how they look together.

The butterfly is seen as this beautiful delicate creature, but they also have this really dark ruthless side that you often find in nature. They are unexpected and go through such dramatic changes to get to their final self, which is something that I really resonate with. It’s life, we change constantly, we grow and evolve, we are good and we are bad, and it’s beautiful.

The skulls for me are a symbol of life, as well as death, and I don’t see them as a morbid figure, but they’ve got an edge to them. I like to use rough, broken textures with beautiful colours and hues. It’s that combination of the two opposing ideas that make up the theme of my work.

HOMME: Tell us about your childhood and upbringing?

TK: I was born in Johor, but grew up in KL. My father was Malay and my mother is British, and I lived a crazy colourful childhood with my brothers in Ampang, till I moved to the UK when I was 17. I went to a British school in Malaysia and so had a very mixed upbringing, both Asian and Western. The best of both I like to think.

Since then I have lived in Singapore for the past 10 years and who knows, maybe somewhere else next!

‘SkullflyPink’, 90 x 90 cm

HOMME: Pulau Rawa?

TK: Rawa has been in my family since before I was born. It’s a really important place to us, it’s where we grew up, it’s where we learnt, explored, discovered, fell over, fell in love, cried, laughed, dreamed, it’s where we still do all those things, and hopefully our children will too. It’s really one of the most beautiful places in the world, and I am very lucky to be able to call it home.

‘No Place’, 50 x 70 cm mixed media on wood.

HOMME: Leggings by @ohsosom ??

TK: So I’ve always been an artist and a designer, I love to create things, I always have. Once I left WATG in Singapore, where I worked as an interior designer for 5 years, I started a fitness apparel company, it was fun and hard work, I designed everything myself and sold in several places in Singapore, KL and the UAE.

‘NEON PINK’ 90 x 90 cm mixed media on wood board with acrylic edges

HOMME: 2021 What have you got planned…?

TK: Art world domination. Hah..not really.

I hope to get a couple of exhibitions under my belt, and to possibly collaborate with some brands to create something new and exciting, I’m not sure what just yet, but I’m open to ideas.

I’d also really love to do an artist residency somewhere to just help develop my skill and experience. Haha preferably somewhere wonderful.

Then I would just like to see where this takes me. It’s been an amazing experience so far, and I’m truly grateful and proud of what I have accomplished.



www.tunkukhalsom.com   | @khalsom.art

“There’s an idea that it’s hard to be a woman artist. People assume that women have fewer opportunities, less power. But it’s not any harder to be a woman artist than to be a male artist. We all take what we are given and use the parts of ourselves that feed the work. We make our way” ~ Annie Leibovitz.

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