This Artist Uses Luminous Color Palettes To Tell A Delicate Story


Artist AOTH standing in front of six of her abstract paintings

Artist AOTH standing in front of two of her artworks on fabric hanging loosely on a wall

For Malaysian-born, Denver-based artist AOTH (acronym for Apple of the Hour), early careers in interior and architectural design as well as photography provided the creative and technical underpinnings for a new pursuit: painting. Luxe met the artist to learn more.

You refer to your style as romanticism. Why? When I was designing spaces, it was all about experiential design. With paintings, too, I want viewers to get a full experience, a story. And the story is always about love. Not just romantic love. I can romanticize anything at all. That’s why I’m a designer.

What inspires your luminous color palettes? I picked up the idea from photography that if you want to showcase light, you have to work with shadow—and I’m not afraid to play with darkness. I go with whatever feels right, but my colors often come from my passion for the desert. That’s the palette that calls for me. 

Koi fish often make appearances in your artworks. I don’t like painting figures, but in an older piece of mine, some people saw koi, which symbolize good fortune, and commissioned more art with them. The more I’ve embraced this motif, the more I’ve come to realize that it’s a beautiful way to honor my Asian culture.