“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso

Picasso’s words resonate very much with me. Born in Malaysia in a small town called Seremban, Negri Sembilan into a large creative family, I started drawing as a toddler. I was fascinated with the female form, face and fashion. That was mainly what I drew till my late teens. My dream was to be an artist and fashion designer when I grew up.

I moved to New Zealand to study, hoping this would be my opportunity to follow my dreams. THAT didn’t happen. Malaysians didn’t get to do arty studies lah – it was either accounting, computer studies or highly-paid professions. For two decades, I was a white collar worker consumed by long hours and stress, occasionally wondering if this was as good as it gets. It got as bad as it could, and I walked away from my corporate lifestyle.

Connie Lam, Artist


Connie's first painting done in January 2014 exhibited at the Auckland Museum
Connie’s very first painting January 2014


“Art is much less important than life. But what a poor life without it.” – Jasper Johns, Painter & Sculptor

To assuage that missing bit inside me, I took up creative activities in place of the mislaid dream – travel photography, western calligraphy, teddy bear making, sewing, and other crafty things. I tried to learn to paint a few times but felt blocked up and frustrated.

I had wanted to learn chinese brush painting since the 90s. New Zealand wasn’t a place for it. My father and sisters painted; my mother was learning. This naturally influenced me. I wanted to create beautiful art like them. In 2014, I attended a four-day workshop. Within half an hour of picking up a brush, I literally felt a release of creative energy and it suddenly all made sense! The art flowed out from me and it felt wonderful.

This piece here is the very first painting I did at the workshop. The tutor fixed the tree for me – it was not looking good! It felt great to know I created this. This piece was exhibited at the Auckland Museum.




“Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures.”
– Henry Ward Beecher, Clergyman/Social Reformer

I have been teaching myself since to paint. I am truly grateful to the internet, the generosity of artists sharing online and library resources. 

I have a wee art corner in my small lounge. It makes me happy that I can sit down and paint; I am always re-organising this space to try to make it work better! It makes me happy that my mum got to see my art before she passed away in June 2015 – I think she liked my work. It makes me happy to share my art with you. It makes me happy to be on the path to living my dream.




What is she contemplating?
Seeking inspiration…