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Digital Artist YongL on Life, Creativity And His Award Winning Photography Career


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Young, bold and creative, YongL didn’t realise his photography passion until he had a little help from his beloved grandfather. Born in Penang, the digital artist himself was partially raised by his grandfather in Alor Setar, Kedah. During their free time, his grandfather would drive him to paddy fields and bike around. Being in awe of the scenery, YongL was inspired to explore more scenic sites and capture them as memories. 

Due to his poor family background, his family couldn’t afford him a camera. However, on the bright side, he was given the opportunity to attend art classes. 

It was until Form 5 he had finally gotten his hands on photography. Being the editorial head of the school magazine, he was in charge of shooting for an event in his school. At that time, he had to beg his mum for a camera. 

“After touching the camera, it felt like I was drawing.”



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Having a talent in art, he was really sure that art, design and photography was what he wanted to pursue for the rest of his life. That was all he ever cared about. However, due to his poor financial background, it was definitely a risky situation to take as creative courses in Malaysia did not come with a cheap label. 

Inspired by his friend, Kevin Pinga who managed to secure a MDEC scholarship to study in the USA, he studied extra hard to secure straight As for his SPM in exchange for a scholarship. The process wasn’t easy, but his effort paid off when The Star newspaper decided to sponsor his studies at MMU. 

During those 3 years, YongL actively participated in a variety of competitions. He was even invited as a guest speaker in the 2017 Unleash Convention in Madrid, Spain to share about his photography work. 


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Despite having some small successes, he experienced the same struggle like every fresh graduate - what was the plan right after graduation? 

Of course, the most common path was to get a job, work and climb the ladder; but for YongL, he was yearning for something different. This was mainly because of his internship experience in a VFX company. He had some realisations that: 

  1. ✍️ He can’t work for people cause he always had a lot of ideas and wanted to initiate his own project.
  2. ✍️ He was much better off doing things for people, instead of pleasing people. 
  3. ✍️ He got very excited when he had his own ideas and couldn’t wait to start on it. 

"PS. If you are a fresh graduate and you have any of these thoughts in mind, there is a high chance you are meant for entrepreneurship, and not employment. Whether or not you are unsure, there is nothing to lose to just try for a few months right? "



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Going against all odds, YongL decided to give freelancing a shot, despite him rejecting an offer from his school to pursue a Masters with a teaching job on the side. As his new journey kicked off, he started small with a RM300 job and gradually grew his portfolio. Thanks to all the competitions he joined, he accumulated lots of work samples that brought him some referrals. Here were the 3 significant moments that hopefully could be an inspiration for you: 

  1. ✍️ His first RM300 freelancing job with a cafe. The key lesson he walked away with was knowing how to close a project (invoice, quotation, project management, etc) 
  2. ✍️ A collaboration with Ducati Supersport Malaysia. Having been approached by the VP himself, he was paid RM2000 for a 2 to 3 days project. At the same time, he learned more about motorcycles. 
  3. ✍️ Approached by an agency to design an icon for Milo’s Breakfast Campaign. The concept was revolving around the heavy struggles and responsibilities one primary school student has to weather while they were young. 

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All these 3 successes wouldn’t have been possible without some personal advice from his mentors and friends. To go from small to big, it takes time and patience. Most importantly, one has to enjoy the process to get to where he or she wants to be. 

"No Man is an Island. If you keep sustaining the journey forward, you will find and meet the people who are willing to help you. 

If you like something, always leave it to yourself, other people may not like it. Example, if you are doing a freelance route, you must always remember you are servicing someone else, not servicing yourself. If you are servicing your client, you must leave behind your artistic ego. You must function as a problem solver."



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Follow YongL for his latest updates:

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