Kean Onn See
Kean Onn See


Artist Statement

Kean Onn See’s paintings are drawn, carved, and then painted on woodblock. Every stage of this creative process requires a different set of skills, which must come together technically and creatively, to form the finished work.

Every work begins on paper. The image is then transferred to a woodblock. Using both traditional and modern engraving tools, the lines of the image are carefully carved to achieve the desired textures.

Finally, the carved woodblock is sanded, before it is lightly painted with at least four layers of acrylic. The goal is to create textures by layering the paints strategically, and at the same time, revealing the natural grain of the woodblock.

Primarily self-taught, Kean Onn See started painting as a hobby in his early 30s and pursued this interest while working full-time.

Over the years, he has experimented with different media and genres before finally adopting painting on carved woodblock as his preferred medium.

Inspired by the process of Japanese woodblock prints, and his love of carving and painting, he continues to explore new techniques and tools to further develop this meticulous way of making art.

Kean Onn See was born in Malaysia and now lives and works in Sydney.


Spirited Away

Spirited Away offers an escape to stillness by conjuring the spirit of everyday objects through compositions and mindfulness.

With a gentle, nurturing lens and a quiet state of mind, ordinary objects are collected and arranged by the artist to amplify their presence and take us away from the moment – spiriting us away.

Setting out to create something beautiful and playful in response to a series of events over the last few years, Spirited Away prompts us to acknowledge and cherish the love around us, to see the fun and brighter sides of life, and to be grateful, always, for our places of refuge.

Spirited Away is Kean Onn See’s second solo exhibition.




2023 Finalist in the National Emerging Art Prize

2023 Finalist in the Mosman Art Prize

2023 Finalist in the Sir John Sulman Prize

2022 Spirited Away, Art2Muse Gallery, Woollahra, Sydney

2019 Making Tracks, Art2Muse Gallery, Double Bay, Sydney

2018 Finalist in the Mosman Art Prize, Sydney