Born in Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, Kiem Loon Elvis John Chen (1988) started drawing at a young age. Growing up without television, he saw his first cartoons at the age of eleven, after immigrating with his family to Curaçao.Chen: ‘Watching Japanese cartoons on TV was an amazing experience for him. The moving images and refined technique inspired me to create his fantasy world and comic strips.’At the age of sixteen, a friend introduced Chen to Instituto Buena Bista, a contemporary art institute for talented local youth, which had a great influence on him. Stimulated by its founders and well-known artists David Bade and Tirzo Martha, Chen developed a unique style of its own, learning to observe and create art in his profound way.
Graduated from the Royal Academy of Art (KABK) in The Hague. Indebted to his mentors, who over the years became colleagues and friends, Chen feels he has the opportunity to develop his confidence, ambition, and professional attitude Instituto Buena Bista instilled in him.Chen is a visual artist who creates work that is both visually captivating and thought-provoking. His work often explores the complexities of the human condition, as well as the struggles of everyday life. His artwork is also known for its bold, vivid colours, humour, and autobiographical work.
Chen often confronted with people who experience different realities, such as the difference and clashes in culture's, beliefs, norms, and values. As with the clients of Capriles a psychiatric clinic located on Curaçao, also home of Instituto Buena Bista Curaçao.
These experiences have awakened his interest in the discrepancy of the existential truth between outer appearance and inner reality. He observes how people (unconsciously) judge others based on external characteristics, whereby the assumptions about ethnicity, social class and gender are a big influence on the image of others. With his mainly autobiographical work, Chen shows how the course of life changes the understanding of identity and the harshness of life. Chen is not afraid to take a critical look at society, his situation, family, and environment and to tackle the clichés we frequently cling to.