Unexpected fame for Malaysian, thanks to her unique artwork

PETALING JAYA, Selangor: A Malaysian girl gained a serendipitous fame overnight after uploading a video showing her unique artwork.

Twenty-six-year-old Sabah-born Hong Yi, who loves to pain with special tools, completed a canvass painting of Chinese basketball celebrity Yao Ming in a street in Shanghai, using only a basketball as her brush.

Hong, who has just celebrated her birthday last month, recently moved to Shanghai after staying in Australia for eight years for working purposes.

She told the Sin Chew Daily that she had the most unforgettable birthday this year and she was looking forward to holding an exhibition, so that more people could see her artwork.

Hong, nicknamed Red, was surprised when she received a call from a leading US public relations agency on her birthday, asking her to help promote a singer of the company.

She said that she has been bombarded with calls from media companies after she shared her YouTube link on her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/ohiseeRED) on 10 January 2012. The two-and-half-minute time-lapse video received over 300,000 hits within two weeks.

She was grateful over the attention and appreciation given.

In the video, Hong used only a basketball and red paint to complete the portrait of Yao Ming in a post of shooting. Despite it was less proficient, she also showed a little dribbling skills in the process of painting.

US site thedailyrival.com has greatly praised her painting skills, saying that it was very difficult to impress viewers even to paint with brushes, let alone with a basketball, which is difficult to control.

She also received a call from the ABC's Good Morning America, asking for an interview and the permission to broadcast her video.

Releasing date of Bruno Mars portrait delayed

For the sake of perfection, Hong decided to delay the release of her artwork of Grammy Award winner Bruno Mars, which was originally scheduled for 1 February.

Hong said the pressure was doubled since the portrait of Yao Ming gained her unexpected fame last month. To maintain a high standard of quality, she decided to delay the release of her latest artwork of Bruno Mars.

She apologised for her last-minute decision and said she never expected the popularity and it actually increased the pressure on her in completing the next painting.

"Bruno Mars is just one of my artworks for fun. Although I think I have done pretty good, it is not perfect. The video clip is still in the final stage of editing," she explained.

She said that as an artist, she refuses to show artworks that she thinks unsatisfying or ordinary.

She said that in addition to Yao Ming and controversial Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei, she has also started to conceive the idea of painting more portraits of Chinese figures, including Chinese singers, authors and actors.

Hong, being hailed by netizens as a talented painter, said that she must now race against time to pay attention in work and think of new ideas for her artworks, in addition to receiving interviews from the media.

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