Dare To Play With Fire?

Get to know how #ArtAtAmari surfaces Johor-born pioneering pyrography artist

Raymond Koh
Raymond Koh poses besides the exhibition space at Amari Johor Bahru’s lobby

If you have been visiting Amari Johor Bahru from mid-2020 until today, you might have come across paintings exhibited for #ArtAtAmari at its lobby near Amaya Gallery.  What you may not know is that the paintings are exquisitely crafted using fire or ‘pyrography’ as the creator, Raymond Koh said it is called by professionals. 

Interested to get to know more about this fiery art? Let’s ask Johor-born pioneer cum Malaysian pyrography artistry in depth about it.

Pyrography art has been around for years but it is quite new in Malaysia. How did you discover this art?

I’ll say back in the 70s. I was introduced by a lady who happened to show me some art with fire. I took an interest in it and the rest of it is pretty much a journey of being self-taught. 

What is it about pyrography that makes you interested in it?

Pyrography has its own joy that it brings. Drawing a stroke of line with fire needs steady hands, patience and ultimate focus. While you may correct small details, it is almost beyond saved if you put on too much or too little pressure or level of burning on the material. It’s a pretty delicate and interesting art.

What/who inspires you?

Everything in life could be my inspiration; there is no limit to it. I have a variety of series from portraits, cultural arts like the Mandalay and intricate paintings like the Opera Series, previously exhibited at Amari around November 2020. 

What would you like to tell people who are interested in joining a pyrography workshop but are afraid of the ‘pyro’ part?

The tools for the activity are safe and not too complicated. It has evolved to be as light as the soldering iron we used back in home economics subject at school! Everyone should try at least once in their lifetime. Who knows, you might discover a talent that you have never known before.

Would you like to share with us any future series or works you are going to display soon? 

Right now, my Face Series are put up for display at the lobby. I’m looking to do a Dance Series for my next project, which is still in talks. It will also be exhibited in Amari Johor Bahru for #ArtAtAmari. I do workshops by request too, there is no minimum requirement, and I’m ready to teach all eager learners.