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Putting ‘Create’ in ‘Creativity’

June 28, 2013 | Campus News

Contrary to pragmatic inclinations, dreaming isn't a bad thing. In the case of Martin Luther King Jr, his immortal “I have a dream” refrain influenced millions of people.

Whatever the cause, dreams – when shared – have the amazing propensity to spur the human spirit to new heights.

For Ivan Lam, a leading contemporary artist in Malaysia, the power of dreams applies greatly to art, design or even animation. 

Dreams serve as the catalyst to bigger things and great things happen whenever purposeful action comes into play. 

And if the success stories of Salvador Dali, Jimmy Choo, Saul Bass and Pixar Animation Studios are anything to go by, fortune certainly favours the bold.

While not quite reaching Hollywood proportions, yet, Lam's works - some going for more than RM50,000 per piece - are giving him good traction in the local and international arts scene.

Having come good on his early promise, Lam now seeks to share his dreams with others.

This burning desire led him to De Institute of Art and Design (DIAND), a specialised school for art, fashion and design at UCSI University.

Working at the right university was important to Lam and UCSI's emphasis on industry relevance - a feature best reflected in DIAND's new offerings, namely, the diplomas in 3D Animation Design; Graphic Design; and Fashion Design - sealed the deal.

“I am very confident in the curriculum as it is very hands-on and industry driven," enthuses Lam. "This will give our students an edge over others.

"The desire to build relationships with my peers was another important factor for me."

Moving beyond dated white board lectures, Lam spices up lectures by bringing in personal accounts of his life as an artist; presenting his ideas with his own blend of panache.

Encouraging students and inspiring colleagues to outdo themselves - while keeping his humble demeanor and approachability - Lam advocates that the prerequisites of success is hard work and discipline as “the rest” can be learned along the way.

Lam's philosophy is shared by many and DIAND is unabashedly demanding when it comes to the discipline and quality of work it expects from its students. 

Anchored on industrial relevance, DIAND’s programmes provide aspiring designers with avenues to showcase their work.

In addition to grooming students to be the crème de la crème of the creative crop in terms of attitude and inspiration, the new diploma programmes are also designed to help students have a substantial portfolio by the time they graduate.

According to Leroy Fong, a tutor in DIAND, students are guided to present their portfolio with their very own designer’s signature.

“In this industry, your portfolio represents you. That’s the first thing employers look at and, if it does not capture their attention, it is the last thing they will see.”

If dreams are the catalyst of great things, then the ability to change is the key for great things to endure.

This is immortalised by Alvin Toffler’s quote “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn”

To ensure that its students will ride the waves of change and not be swept away by it, DIAND constantly invites some of the most cutting edge names in the creative industry to gauge the students’ works.

Whether it is sweet praise or ego-bruising criticism, DIAND students are not cocooned from the high expectations of the industry’s finest.

Students are also taught that it takes a certain kind of courage, to take something that has worked for the industry, for perhaps the last two years, and change it completely, for the better.

“There are set paths, and there are paths you set for yourself,” notes Lam.

“And once you have set a path for yourself, the sky is the limit.”

To find out more about De Institute of Art and Design at UCSI University, contact us at 03-91018882 or email You can also drop by our Info Days on 8 and 9 June, 2013 (9am – 5pm).

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