X Close


Published: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Monday December 23, 2013 MYT 11:18:47 AM

Turning negatives into positive art

PETALING JAYA: As a child, Brian Lai used to be fascinated just looking at his photographer father’s film negatives.

“I used to wonder what they did with the negatives in the photo studio. I was always drawing, usually pictures of monsters or planets, and there was plenty of paper at the studio for me to doodle on!” quipped the 20-year-old artist.

When he was 13, Lai recalls watching his friend use his mobile phone to take a photo of his own signature, then use a programme on the phone to invert the image.

“I was very impressed. For some reason, seven years later, I remembered this incident.

“I thought, how would it look if I incorporated it in my art work?” said the artist, who is from Selama, Perak.

The enterprising Lai is now gaining recognition with his “inverted art” pieces, which at first glance appears as blurred shades of black and white but when inverted, reveals distinct forms.

A positive image is a normal depiction of an object. A negative image is a total inversion of a normal image, in which light areas appear dark and vice-versa.

Lai, who is now doing a Diploma in Digital Animation at an art and design institution in Penang, shared one of his pieces on Facebook which has since gained over 50,000 likes.

He subsequently went on to post a short video of himself sketching the negative image on YouTube, which has already registered over 46,000 views.

“Most of the comments were very encouraging. There were also some funny comments, such as somebody telling me not to be so negative,” he said with a laugh.

Even Lai’s parents who were initially not happy with his decision to take up digital animation are now proud of him.

“They wanted me to become a photographer and help with dad’s business. But now they are happy for me,” said the youngest of five sibling­s.

Tags / Keywords: Entertainment, brian lai inverted art artist


  1. Malaysia Airlines’ statement on MH192 which was forced to make a turn back
  2. MAS flight bound for Bangalore makes turn back
  3. Karpal Singh cremated after emotional farewell
  4. Karpal Singh’s final journey, thousands bid farewell
  5. Karpal Singh: Emotional moment as thousands pay their last respects at funeral
  6. Storify: The Tiger sleeps today
  7. Karpal, my hometown hero
  8. JPJ: Driving licence for automatic cars out in June
  9. MH370 search: Next 48 hours crucial, says Hishammuddin
  10. Gobind: My father was a simple man, who enjoyed simple things