Life and Art of Cho San Lin

A talented and promising artist from Mandalay, Cho San Lin‘s oil and watercolor paintings capture the tactile essence and vibrations of daily life in rural Myanmar in the naturalistic style. His penchant for intricate details in faces, costumes, rituals, routines and landscapes imbues his works with a nostalgic and vivid impression of Myanmar. Along with his landscapes, Cho San Lin also specializes in portraits infused with subtle details of expressions and emotions. 

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  Artist Cho San Lin in front of his art work

Paintings of Myanmar Daily Life and More

The very first portrait, which Cho San Lin painted in his middle school, was the portrait of Thakhin Ko Daw Hmaing, the twenty century legendry person who is called a father of piece in Myanmar. Since then he has practiced quite a variety of portraits of people ranging from Myanmar local with their ethnic costumes and rituals to a number of celebrities and foreigners who commissioned his paintings.

In his signature paintings of local market, we may see how the artist extracts essence of ethnic people’s everyday life and emotions often in realistic set-up yet with organic and naturalistic use of light and shadow. The reason that he prefers oil and watercolor to acrylic may be because of intricate and rich layers he develops on his works delicately. He has recently painted more Myanmar historic sites and village scenes. His way of painting seems to be carefully systematic and accurate adapting detail calculation of compositions. He observes the process of own paintings sometimes by recording with photographs.


Educated in Mandalay, Evolving in Yangon 

Cho San Lin was born in Sagaing Division in 1975 as the sixth child of seven siblings. He grew up in Mandalay where his merchant parents have had business. He started painting in his middle school days. Since then, he addressed, he always wished to be a professional artist. It was very fortunate for Cho Sam Lin that his parents have been supportive to his desire. He attended the department of painting and later the department of sculpture in the State School of Fine Arts (a.k.a. SSFA) in Mandalay from 1995 to 2001 for total six years.

After the graduation, he worked as a commercial painter in Mandalay. Signboard, designs, as well as commission portraits, those were what he worked for. In 2004 when his friend called Cho San Lin to come and join in Yangon, he had no second thought. Since then he got some chances to exhibit his paintings in galleries in Yangon. In 2007, his art teacher and a famous artist, U Marlar, introduced him to Golden Valley Art Centre (a.k.a. GV). Since 2009, he becomes GV guest artist and has recently been becoming one of the popular upcoming artists in the gallery. He visited Malaysia and Singapore in 2013 for accompanying his teacher U Malar who had his art exhibition in Singapore. It was quite an experience for the young artist, who would have his own exhibition overseas.


As the Professional Artist

Since October 2013, Cho San Lin has married to a lovely Myanmar lady, Ma Lai Lai Htike, who has worked for the local magazine. As a responsible married man, he has been becoming even more prolific with full of energy and emotions in his paintings. He always helps his fellow artists in the gallery as an IT technician, photographer, web-designer and sometimes even an English interpreter. But above of all, he is very much the professional artist as he always wishes to be.



Interviewed by Pirica Art Centre in March 2013

  ©  since 2014