AN ARTIST from Dinas Powys talks starting a new business venture during the pandemic and how art has helped him throughout the past year.
Dom Tsoi, of Dom Tsoi Illustrations, has always been drawing from a young age – a lot of cartoons at the start, but soon developed into the detailed artwork he creates today.
He has even had two paintings exhibited in Penarth Pier for a Summer Show in university, and once organised a showcase at The Plug – now First Sip, a coffee shop in Dinas Powys. He is currently working on a collection of paintings to showcase in exhibitions in the future.
“I just love drawing,” he said.
“I have always been passionate about art I think, art has always been on my mind constantly, coming up with ideas and expressing my imagination.”
Pop culture, Asian culture, history, and traditions mostly inspire his current artwork – and has recently taken to drawing Billie Eilish and Anya Taylor Joy, star of Netflix’s the Queen’s Gambit.
“I gravitate more towards the Eastern arts,” he added.
“I guess it’s because I was surrounded by it growing up. I just find it all so fascinating and beautiful, and has so much depth and meaning, to the calligraphy, the ink and brush landscapes, the mythology, the traditions, and history.
“I just love it all. Love my culture.”
Mr Tsoi is a huge believer in mix media and is no afraid to try new things to expand his skills as an artist – using pencil, fine liners, Chinese ink and brush, using Procreate on the iPad, Photoshop, acrylic paint, and even spray paint for larger scale paintings or murals.
“I’m quite critical when I do look back at my work and I look for ways to improve, things I’m not happy with and would change if I were to do it again,” he said.
For many artists and freelancers, the coronavirus pandemic has been tough, with many finding it difficult to make a steady income with the arts and entertainment sector closed entirely.
“As a freelancer, work fluctuates a lot anyway, so it didn’t really change much for me,” he added.
“The start of the pandemic it was quiet but it also gave me the opportunity to work on my own personal art, develop my skills and have more time for practices.
“Doing creative things during the pandemic definitely helps me mentally and a good way to express myself and my feelings.
“Towards the end of last year, I was bombarded with mural commissions which was great!
“Now I’m focusing on selling my artwork through my Etsy shop ‘domtsoistudio’, selling prints, temporary tattoos, stickers and custom pieces.
“I would just like to implement my artwork, keep producing what I love and sell or exhibit them.
“Whether it be original paintings, my own clothing line, installations, coming up with a graphic novel, customisations. I feel like with art and illustration the possibilities are endless and can work on projects forever.”