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The Artist From Ipoh Whose Pieces Are Now Exhibited Around The Globe

Artist Daniel Liau Wee Seng On Philosophy Through Art

By Lam Yat Yee

You may think that being an artist is easy; that it comes naturally; like a click in the mind and soul; like the right puzzle piece falling into place. Like something that was simply meant to be.

You may have wondered if you had the makings of one, in this world where everything seems to be within reach, yet never could get farther than they were, where you could be anything, if only you wanted it enough – if only you dared. Or perhaps we are all artists of our respective crafts.

In the broadest sense, the nature of art is to communicate and express.

To Daniel, however, art is to capture a piece of the soul, and to then extract its meaning for the sole purpose of healing.

Wait… come again? Daniel who?

Ah, right. Before we’re swept away, introductions.

The man of the hour – or, in this case, the man of the article – Daniel Liau Wee Seng. The man, the mind behind numerous thought provoking, honest, artworks exhibited all over the globe.

Daniel Liau Wee Seng in the middle

Hailing from Ipoh, Perak, the Internationally renowned oil painter of Tianjin People’s Fine Arts has moved the hearts of many with no more than ink, paint, canvas, and words.

Daniel was seven when he first discovered his love for art and painting, going on to dabble in works of graffiti in the following years. He studied under the Soviet master Gregory Pototsky and the Chinese master Xu Min.

Over the course of his studies, the mastermind has cultivated an artistic identity unique to him and him only, making every one of his paintings easily recognisable. His artistic persona is manifest in confident brushstrokes of traditional Chinese calligraphy ink and oil paint. The portraits of people are always painted in black and white while the colourful shades of oil paint complete the canvas’s story as the background.

A contrast that infallibly places prominence on the main visual focus of most of Daniel’s paintings; people.

Title – Empty-handed

“Our struggles are not necessarily with others, especially with our own inner thoughts, but with our own inability to make decisions.”

As an artist, Daniel’s motive of philosophy through art aims to reveal hidden meanings in life through simple, assumably uncomplicated paintings. He emphasises that more often than not, the truth we seek could be looking us right in the eyes. Metaphorically, and physically – as in his paintings – where it may not seem obvious at first glance, but every pair of eyes and every scene he paints tells a story of their own.

Daniel believes that the true value of art lies within the painter’s intention. In essence, anyone could learn to paint with a brush and paint, but the only way to grasp the art of expression is through practice, thought, and experience.

He aims to spark within viewers a healing process through the meaning of his paintings, tackling various intrapersonal and interpersonal conflicts faced by today’s society, questioning a plethora of concepts, controversial and common, from modern loneliness, to struggles of ambition, to gender roles.

Title – Empty-handed

“Many people have their own dreams and joy, but in the end, they are still empty-handed, are they not enough to pay hard, or because they have been going in the wrong direction and choice?”

Daniel also holds what are some of the last remaining art pieces from victims of the MH370 flight. The artist recalls the fateful day he bid the group of 35 artists and their family members farewell at KLIA as they boarded the plane scheduled for Beijing after hosting an exhibition featuring 20 artists from China.

The group had gifted him with an assortment of paintings and art pieces that he brought back with him to Ipoh that very night, only to learn the next morning of the flight’s devastating disappearance.

The paintings and works of art bestowed upon him, Daniel lamented, reminded him not only of the ephemerality of human lives, but also of the greater force behind it that drives us all.

Title – Startled 

“You will not be able to predict and get all things right. There will be times you make mistakes, and times where it turns out to be the best. Nevertheless, we should not be deceived by the mere appearance of things and ended up startled by the truths.”

Most of the conversation took place in Cantonese, but translated, this is the hypothetical question he posed, “Let’s say that there is some sort of ‘problem’ with you. If I were to point out this so-called problem, I think you may not be able to accept it. Because you have been found out, because this means that someone else has realised a vulnerability of yours that you may have wanted to keep hidden. Isn’t this a sensitive issue?”

He proceeded to explain that philosophy through art is yet an avant-garde concept in this new world, one that, as most things, is easier said than done. If one has ever attempted to empathise – or even sympathise – with the person with such a said ‘problem’, then they would understand how daunting the task was.

To quote, “To use the mouth to speak is already difficult. But to create an artwork to capture that exact piece of the soul so that you may feel it, so you may change yourself through the art, and recharge your positive energy. Do you think that is easy?

“Very, very difficult.”

Title – Moving Towards the Goal

 “Everyone aims to achieve something, just like women strive to have the perfect body shape, men hope to build  a muscular figure, yet many of these goals remain far-fetched. If you have not reached your goal, it’s time to keep moving towards it.”

On the topic of struggles, Daniel admitted that, quote-unquote, “From the beginning to the present, whenever I receive a little recognition and achievements, I go through several stages of struggles, especially for my own belief, self-confidence, persistence and future, especially for my innovative and different type of art. 

Road, at the beginning stage, many people will not be optimistic and support. It is unknown whether they will be very successful in the future or whether they can achieve great achievements. Therefore, self-encouragement, persistence in beliefs, and self-generating positive energy thinking are very important. 

My mentality has always been based on facing and accepting all the results with a normal mentality. We cannot force others to recognize and accept. Not many people are visionaries, but I am a creator and an innovator, so it takes some time and stages to spread, educate and cultivate, to be accepted and recognized by people.”

Title – Endurance

 “When a beautiful fresh flower appears before us, are we eager to rush into possessing it, or do we take time to understand, to get near, and to appreciate it? And this, it would require us to have strong endurance.”

But up till today, Daniel has achieved much. In fact, too much to list in this article! But most significantly, he is a recipient of a Certificate of Honor as a World Outstanding Chinese Artist, the USA NasDaq Billboard Recognition for a Broadcast Exhibition Artist, a special contribution award recipient in the China-Russia 70th International Economic Forum Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between China and Russia Art Festival, and the winner of two Glory Awards at the International Black and White Art Competition.

Most recently, he was even awarded the title of Top 12 World’s Most Influential And Most Valuable Artist at the Los Angeles LABA Art Festival 2022!


Title – Resignation to Fate

“When a person is old, no matter how powerful he is, he can only resign himself to fate in the end, so when we still have the ability to struggle, we must grasp happiness and live a good life.”

The active artist-philosopher is also a member of the France Nasledie Cultural Heritage Society, a member of the France Destructuratisme Figuratif Association, a member of the Overseas Chinese Arts Association, a member of the Japan Institute of International Art, and the President of ICPAA (International Calligraphy & Painting Artist Association) Malaysia.

His work is exhibited in Paris, where it is featured on the French stamp commemorating the 54th anniversary of China and France’s diplomatic relations. It is also published by the China Post in four countries; China, the United States, Holland and France.

However, in his free time, the Tianjin Academy Fine Arts DaHongPao oil painter can be found studying and appreciating the fine culture of Chinese tea as he ponders his next artwork.

Alas, does this article paint you intrigued? Well, this last bit of news might interest you!

In the coming months, Daniel will be hosting two art exhibitions, one in China’s Beijing Today Art Museum, and in Germany’s Kunstraum Villa Friede Museum.

Keep up to date with Daniel on his Instagram @wsdaniel88, or reach out to him at 016-558 0822 for inquiries.

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