The drawings and illustrations of Kinchoi Lam are delightfully intimate vignettes that pack a big emotional punch in a small package. There are those recognizably mundane scenarios; a cat curled sleeping on a floral blanket, a double-decker bus, dinner, folks sitting in a hospital emergency waiting room. Then there are those more fantastical creations; a pig in board shorts, a single yellow daisy floating in front of a barred window; a boy’s figure with a dark gray cloud for a head. No matter the subject matter, though – Lam is able to extract the essence of feeling from each illustration with quick flicks of his wrist.
Some, like the beach scene populate with a dozen or more colorful umbrellas seem purposefully undone. Lam leaves notes sprinkled throughout the piece; this beach towel green and white and this one dark red. It’s a conscious choice, un-doing the doneness of the work. His hand is light and fluid – he infuses his illustrations with a dreamy, sweet quality with varying degrees of line control.
In his triptych of three young couples walking and sitting together, you still get the ephemeral quality of Lam’s other works but his drawings and coloring are much more precise than some of the others. In all, the viewer becomes voyeur. You get the feeling that you’ve just happened upon a private moment meant not to be shared or observed. Lam’s illustrations are little love letters to those unremarkable moments we so often seem to miss.