The twinkle in his eye and the excitement in his voice that occur when Richmond artist and composer Raymond Chow speaks about art or music makes it hard to believe he's 71 years old.
"I started piano when I was five, started painting at six. Painting has always been my living. When I was 17, there were already three galleries representing my work."
He is hoping the same kind of success can be realized by the young members of the Steveston Artist Society (SAS) that Chow helped establish in 2007, which is why he will be performing at an art auction concert held by the society at Richmond Fraserview Church tonight (Nov. 23). He will also be auctioning 28 pieces of his work to raise money for the SAS.
"The SAS was set up to support the venture of emerging artists, younger ones, like my friends' children who are 12, 13 and 14 years old. Another one is 22. It's to help them market their art to the cities around the world," said Chow.
One of the group's more famous art shows was at Lansdowne Centre a few years ago where Chow had a girl dress up as Mona Lisa and another artist paint her. With about a dozen members now, the SAS is made up of primarily painters with some graphic animators and musicians mixed in.
"Eventually, the ultimate aim three to five years from now is to form an artist party of artists within Vancouver, other parts of Canada, China, India, South America, Brazil, and Australia," he said, adding there are scattered groups in place now like the Federation of Canadian Artists and the Port Moody Art Association that lack unification.
On Friday, Chow will perform five or six of his 300 original pieces, all inspired by his seven-foot Beijing jaded grand piano. Also performing new material will be guitarist Tony Beaulieu. The Richmond Fraserview Church is located at 11295 Mellis Dr. and the auction concert runs from 7 to 11 p.m. (live auction starts at 7: 15 p.m.) Suggested donation is $15. For more information visit raymondchow.com.