Young artists in Samoa: Tilomai

The word ‘art’ is connected to countless forms of creativity and expression and is ever conveyed vividly through the innate brilliance behind the structure, form and detail of the craft. 

We see art on the streets, it is everywhere and it takes someone with an eye for detail and passion to see and acknowledge it.

It is hidden yet ubiquitous to the eyes of the talented.

Art knocks its way into architecture, where technology and sculpture are so effortlessly combined. Art is written all over the clothes we wear, expressing the vision and intricate designs of the creative artists behind it.

The talent is found on the dabs of paint on canvas and in the spread of myriads of colours on paper in the minutest details. 

It is in the heart of the passionate and genius strokes and sketches of pencil on paper.

I see this rare God-given gift in the palms of 17-year-old artist Tilomai Chan Boon. Still in her teens, she is drawing realistically and extraordinarily. There is so much to admire about the raw talent she possesses. She not only paints but she also draws using coloured pencils! 

Using coloured pencils is not an easy feat especially when you are aiming for a realistic portrait. Yet Tilomai has done just that. Tilomai started drawing from a very young age with the stick figures most of us still use for illustration. 

The talent was inherently at the tips of her fingers and she has definitely and almost unknowingly developed it to a level many artists of her age could not have accomplished. 

A hobby of painting honed in the art classes she had at Peace Chapel primary school lead to a passion that has birthed prodigal expressions of art through the paintings and drawings she makes. 

In Tilomai’s portraits coloured pencils as mentioned are used but this is not the only material in her league of helpers. The key to portraits especially is to use different materials or pens for various types of details.

According to Tilomai, for sharp and intricate details, one could use a small sharp-tipped paint brush and a dash of paint or the standard ink-pens we use every day. For shadows, such as those under the eye, outline of the face or at the corners of the lips, you can use any colour or mix. If you look closely, there are so many colours individually or expertly combined and hidden in the reference photo an artist uses. 

There are many textures, hues and tones and styles you could use as highlighted in Tilomai’s portraits. You could be stroking, sketching or using watercolour paint or literally any method that can transform your vision into reality. There is no specific way to drawing.

”You are free to draw whatever you desire and imagine and express it the way you like on a canvas or paper” says Tilomai. 

In terms of acrylic paintings, all it takes it practice and a lot of experimenting with the different types of spreads and darkness you could use in your masterpiece.  The types of paintbrushes are also a key factor, round-bristled brushes are an excellent choice. But if you know there are more defined details then try out Tilomai’s technique with flat-bristled brushes. 

Being inspired by artists, her faith, culture and beauty of nature along with her genuine interest in the field has made her the talented artist she is. Patience and self-reflection are also significant traits essentially highlighted in her work as an artist.

Her belief is that once you plant a seed of optimism and practice consistently you can go far down the road of achievement. All it takes is confidence in exposing your talent, conveying your message through your work with a wrap of individuality.

Tilomai lives by these positive attributes and hopes to inspire more youngsters to discover the art and immerse into the depths of its complexity and vigour.

You can keep up with Tilomai on her Instagram account: @tilomai_cb

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