Pema Tshering (Tintin)

When I was 13 years old, I became an active member of VAST-Bhutan (Voluntary Artists Studio Thimphu). Attending all the weekend art workshops, and absorbing as much as I could from my mentors, art has become the only way of life for me.

In most of my acrylic work, I am preoccupied with the feeling of being surrounded by spiritualism. My acrylic works explore Buddhist spiritualism and how it manifests in everyday objects, portraits, symbols and common life. I try to visualize and explore landscapes of belief, faith and the supernatural.

One of my favorite paintings envisions the soft portrait of a serene Buddha only suggested within an expansive scenery of a deep cliff, striking clouds, and a monastery. In one painting I investigate the tension between tangible rituals, physical worship, human action and the intangible presence of lord Buddha. In another favorite work, I try to represent the collective mind of Buddhist monks— a tender individual and earthly existence bond within a synchronized spiritual journey. Though most of my more contemplative works are in acrylics, I am currently excited about the challenging freedom of watercolors. I relish the power of suggestion, how a small stroke can represent a full being or force, how a mastered blue spot can represent a face, an emotion or a dusky ray of light, how the angled flow of a single stroke conveys movement, physical or even thoughtful. My first obsession with watercolors started when I was still in high school, trying to capture the movement of fish in water, and the complex interactions between light, dimension, shadows, color, water and air. I continue to challenge myself with watercolors, aspiring to one day use water colors to not only convey what I see realistically, but to convey what I feel and understand through a more imaginative and innovative lens. To share the movement of my feeling mind and feeling sight, as I have so far tried only with acrylics.

Growing up in Bhutan, a country deeply entrenched in traditional Buddhist art, I try to free the Buddhist concepts from the regulations of its traditional representation. I am currently working on a piece, which will literally break the concepts and characters from traditional wall paintings off the wall and into our human and social landscape. With this work, I want to liberate the Bhutanese Buddhist eye, removing the grids, and nudging the viewer to re-evaluate their understanding of Buddhism on a visual level.

Through all my work I try to share my connection to the world, – how people, colors, ideas, belief, faith and movement collide, relate, and become one another, and the questions in between. Contemporary art is still new to Bhutan, and I, along with my colleagues and my mentors at VAST, have taken on the huge and meaningful task of renewing the Bhutanese eye and mind through art and new visualization.






6 Replies to “Pema Tshering (Tintin)”

  1. hi tinin,
    how are u? its Karma. love ur artwork.. can’t believe how much VAST has grown.. and everybody’s work. 🙂 Always loved going to vast on weekends and painting and meeting wonderful people. miss u guys… !!!!
    keep in touch..

  2. Dear Pema,

    Hello! I hope you are doing well. My name is Meher and I work as an assistant editor at Himal Southasian magazine, a monthly review magazine published from Kathmandu, Nepal. (

    Every month for six months we publish one artwork (painting, photograph) in our magazine focusing on one particular country in South Asia. The idea behind our ‘Art commentary’ is to capture voices of different artists and art collectives from around the region.Unfortunately, we have not yet run any artwork from Bhutan. We therefore wanted to ask you as members of an art collective whether you would be interested in submitting your artwork to Himal. If so, kindly let me know at my official e-mail address but also at my gmail address which is: It would be great if you can get back to us by Monday, August 22nd. Look forward to your response. Please also note that the artwork has to be high resolution, a JPEG file works well.

    I look forward to hearing back from you and excited about working together in the future!

    Yours sincerely,

    Meher Ali

  3. dear Pema,
    Hi! hoping you are pema who i met wit kinley at the mojoparks listening to soup sing rock.
    i am interested in the 1st work on this page which says reinlightned…the face of buddha in blue and yellow….pls do let me know size and price…also send me ur email
    so that i can keep seeing your work

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