Gavin Chai, born in 1997 in Malaysia, is a figurative painter and artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland.
He specialises in the traditional technique of oil painting on wooden panels, linen and canvases and paints the world through a subtle introverted gaze. He captures everyday contemporary experiences through his careful composition and clever treatment of colour, light, and shadow. His world is idyllic yet often bound by loneliness, and colourful yet often tinged with a certain sadness and anxiety.
We talk about how his sense of belonging and home is often recreated in his paintings, perhaps as a reaction to moving countries from Malaysia to NZ at the age of 14. He shares insights into his partly autobiographical Interior series which depicts everyday domestic life and his Strange Paradise series which has more of a dreamlike surreal feel. We talk about the way he sometimes makes his own paint using powdered pigments and linseed oil, how he has thought of himself as an artist since he was a boy and his perception of dealer gallerist and artist relationships.
He speaks about his upcoming solo show at Föenander Galleries in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland and some of the major works in the show.
Artists on Artists - Logan Moffatt portrait
The Caretakers - Fortland Park