July 1, 2022
  • July 1, 2022

William Koong turns scrap metal into sculptures

By on April 22, 2022 0

With the rise of Greta Thunberg, the climate crisis has never been so talked about. Among those calling for action before it’s too late are some of the world’s leading ‘eco-artists’, William Koong, a scrap metal sculptor based in Klang.

Klang-based scrap metal sculptor William Koong

Sustainability is increasingly becoming the standard of living for many people. Apart from companies changing their processes, individuals are also changing their way of life. Given the state of our planet, it has become imperative that businesses and individuals work collectively to protect the Earth’s natural resources. Human activity will continue to have adverse effects on the environment if not handled carefully.

For example, problems like pollution, water scarcity and global warming are side effects of our careless use of resources. As a result, we can notice changes in the way not only manufacturers but also artists are now delivering sustainable products and services. Here we spotlight a local eco-artist, William Koong, who made a conscious decision to use sustainable and eco-friendly materials that will make a difference for the planet and its people.

Ecological Art or “Eco Art” is a contemporary form of environmental art created by artists who care about local and global environmental situations. With various forms of increasingly severe pollution, the field is growing rapidly.

Hundreds of artists are working around the world to make a statement they hope will touch us all – and one of them is our fellow Malaysian, William Koong, a scrap artist who is making waves in this genre. . Despite his low-key presence online, he is a laudable innovative metal sculptor. As a child, Koong enjoyed spending time in his brother’s auto repair shop, where he learned the basics of metallurgy and experimentation. Currently, Koong is co-director of Me.reka Makerspace, an innovative educational space that supports and prepares individuals to thrive in changing industries.

What prompted you to get into metal sculpture?

I was born and raised in a poor family so my dad didn’t have much support in terms of buying toys so he liked to pick up old junk like mini comps and hi-fi’s for me to opens them. So that was my first experience with waste. Metal came into the picture later when my brother-in-law opened a workshop here in Klang. I started playing in the workshop when I was twelve and during school breaks he would teach me skills like welding and basically how to bend any type of metal into any shape I wanted.

I actually gave up metal sculpting for a short time, I didn’t know I would be an artist today. I knew I loved getting my hands dirty and getting creative, but I had never really done that before. When I joined the Biji-Biji Initiative as a partner, they gave me the confidence to express this passion of mine. Over time, I ventured into scrap metal sculptures, in 2012 to be precise.

Malayan Peacock Pheasant sculpture work in progress

How can Malaysians better support Malaysian artists? Especially during a time like this.

At times like these, I would say exposure on social media is one of the best ways to support an artist in Malaysia. If you like an artist’s work of art, do not hesitate to contact them. I understand that there are a lot of movies that have portrayed artists as being unattainable and over the years they have created this stigma that an artist’s artwork is hard to come by.

In reality, it is nothing like that, at least in Malaysia. It’s as simple as sending them a message on Facebook or Instagram, giving them a call and seeing how you can support them, plus buying their artwork of course. You’ll never know what can happen if you don’t contact them, you’ll actually be surprised that something as simple as this can help you create a rather personal connection with the artist.

Many Malaysians resonate with the stigma that art never pays the bills and can only be a hobby. What would you say to these people?

Art is just one of the many ways one can earn money, if desired. I think hard work and dedication pays the bills, so whatever you choose to do – as long as you have the heart to do it, all the hard work you put in will pay off in the end. So I personally think the saying “art doesn’t pay the bills” makes sense to me.