Gallery owner Amber Lim tells us how she found her calling in helping her clients create beautiful portraits of their loved ones and furry pets
Whether it’s a furry or feathery companion, losing man’s best friend is a heartbreaking experience for anyone. To help a close friend cope with the death of her 12-year-old dog, Amber Lim decided to approach a master artist for an oil painting of the late pet. When the portrait was finally unveiled, Lim’s close friends and family were blown away by the results. This led to more requests for painting commissions from others of their animal companions—all through word-of-mouth.
It was this new and unexpected sense of purpose that inspired Lim to start the gallery in 2016, an online art gallery that specialises in artistic commissions for pet portraits, as well as a fine selection of artworks. “While I started off with the intention of just helping one friend tide over her grief, I have unknowingly helped others create something that they are able to cherish, honour and memorialise,” shares Lim, who is the founder of Amber Art Gallery.
A retail partner of Tatler Homes Curates, the gallery’s services range from whimsical digital art creations to oil paintings for those who prefer a more realistic portrayal of their beloved pet. The gallery is committed to providing the best quality of work when it comes to immortalising their clients’ beloved subjects in paint. “To some people, an artwork is just a piece of decorative item that they display around their living space. But for others, it actually serves as an emotional outlet where they relive their memories with their loved ones,” says Lim.
Here, she shares more about the gallery’s creative process and tips on how you can care for your artworks.
How do you select the artists that you work with?
Amber Lim (AM) We work with more than a dozen artists and craftsmen, each specialising in different styles of art; we select artists based on the quality of their past work. While most of our artists have decades of experience under their belt, we are constantly searching for new talent and are open to working with younger artists who are able to produce works of exceptional quality.
As most of our orders are customised art orders, we require the artist to be willing to adhere to the client’s requirements, while still offering their artistic input in order to produce an aesthetically appealing piece.
What keeps you inspired to continue creating?
AM One of the most memorable moments was when one of my clients wanted an oil painting portrait of her late mother. However, her mother had passed away a long time ago, and all that was left were some of her clothes and some faded Kodak photos.
We spent a lot of time trying to create the portrait with the resources we had. When my client received the final output, she was very touched and literally started to tear as she admired the painting inch by inch. That scene touched me deeply as well, and further reaffirmed the sense of meaning and purpose for what we do.
Pet portraits from Amber Art Gallery, shown in a living room.
Background photo created by vanitjan, from freepik.com
What are among the gallery’s most popular requests and why?
AM The most popular request is typically a customised pet portrait done with oil paints, mainly because these owners love their fur kids a lot. Most wanted to commemorate the love and affinity they have with their pets, especially after the animals have passed on. This is followed by family portraiture. Most of our clients are commissioning these as surprise gifts for their loved ones, and usually to commemorate special events (like birthdays and anniversaries).
Customisable abstract art from Amber Art Gallery
Finally, our customised and off-the-shelf abstract art items are well-received too. Customers want an artwork to fit perfectly into their living or working spaces when they are renovating or redecorating their homes.
It is always a good idea to commission your very own art piece because it is uniquely yours, the one and only in the world. It also gives you the added flexibility and ease in decorating your space, as compared to searching and sourcing all over the world only to realise that it doesn’t fit the colour or theme of the space when it arrives.
Customisable abstract art from Amber Art Gallery
Could you share some general care tips for artworks?
AM For hand-painted artworks, usually with proper treatment post-production, it can last for decades. We also advise our customers the following care instructions: avoid displaying the artwork in humid and greasy areas, such as kitchen or bathrooms. If you wish to display artworks in the more “heavy duty” areas of the house, consider a digital artwork canvas print, or a print on wood. With proper maintenance, they can also last for a long time as well. For most digital prints, you just have to clean and maintain it like how we clean most of our furniture at home.
Avoid putting an artwork directly under an air-conditioner to prevent water leakage from the unit. Do avoid placing artworks in direct sunlight for prolonged duration as well; most items will fade under prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Regularly maintenance once every three to six months will help to maintain the overall condition of the artwork. Simply use a soft bristle brush to dust away visible dirt, and along the sides and borders of the painting.