Meet Boey, on his childhood memories that fuel his imagination to doodle

By Shawal Ras

Awhile back I was lucky enough to meet with Cheeming Boey, a passionate 38-year-old artist (and personally, I’d call him a “doodlist”) who was kind enough to have personally signed and doodled on my copy of When I Was a Kid (the first of three), a book filled with his funny-but-memorable comics on his life growing up in Malaysia.

“These books were inspired by my childhood. Part of the reason I wrote them was that they speak simply about surviving school and interacting with parents and siblings. Basically, random stuff we’ve all experienced as kids. I’m hoping that these books will encourage Malaysians to appreciate art in its simplest form,” he said while sipping an iced lemon juice bought from a coffee shop in Kinokuniya KLCC.

The California-based artist grew up in Johor and gained prominence for the arts he created on styrofoam cups. It eventually led him to gigs at Blizzard, joining the animation team behind the success of Diablo and Diablo 2.

Started out of sheer boredom at a coffee shop and no paper to doodle on, Boey decided to draw on a styrofoam coffee cup on his table. It then became an obsession even when friends told him that no one will buy his craps.

It takes anywhere from hours to months for him to complete his cups. Boey draws freehand and a single mistake ruins everything. “Honestly, I didn’t choose art. I wasn’t good enough to be a doctor or a scientist. My parents would have loved it, but it was not what I wanted. It was a blessing in disguise because this is what I’m good at.”

Now that his career is stable, Boey wants a cathartic semblance of a life. “I do hope to find someone who can accept a guy who travels constantly like me,” he jokes.

“I guess life is about pursuing what you want to do,” he concludes. “I mean why choose to live a life you’ll never like instead of doing something that makes you truly happy and fulfilled.”

For more, check out IAmBoey.com, and When I Was a Kid 1, 2, and 3, currently available in every major bookstore.***

Photos taken from Boey's Facebook

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