At Cratze Art in Kuala Lumpur, you can draw whatever you fancy without a care in the world.

“It’s a space where you can unleash your crazy ideas,” says founder Debbie Yap Tze Mei. This place is not an art gallery, according to her, but you can call it a studio.

Art is all about freedom and being comfortable on canvas and beyond, she maintains. Cratze Art offers a diverse array of programmes (art in the dark, art therapy, art jamming) and workshops (batik, sketching and watercolour works).

Yap, 32, never attended any art class when she was young but she had a passion for drawing.

During her university days studying architecture, she was able to sharpen her drawing and painting skills. While studying at Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, she revealed that she switched from architecture to an early childhood education course, obtaining a degree in that field. She also spent seven years studying, working and taking care of her then newborn daughter.

Yap enjoyed her stint as an early childhood educator abroad. When she returned to Malaysia, Yap, a single parent, worked as a relationship manager in a local bank in Kuala Lumpur for about six years before setting up Cratze Art.

Right now, Yap’s life centres on her art studio. “It can be challenging, but the art scene, if you work at it, can be a very rewarding career,” she admits.

“You can dabble in art and have no fear of how it turns out. There are no rules here.”

Debbie Yap said art therapy encourages a person to express thoughts and feelings on canvas or any medium. Photo: Majorie Chew

The goal at Cratze is to unleash an individual’s creativity – hidden or not. “Many people have come in and are unsure of what the place has to offer. But they were willing to explore,” says Yap.

Yap lists down the types of sessions in Cratze Art, which are conducted in a casual manner.

“In crazy art (or messy art), people can get their hands dirty and have fun with art. Participants can wear protective raincoats or T-shirts and throw paint on drawing paper mounted on a wall.”

Elsewhere, the art jamming session is meant for individuals who want some peace and quiet time “to explore their soul”.

The paint in the dark session is also quite a popular programme. It can accommodate 15 people per session. “Participants can come dressed in neon clothes. Canvas and backlight will be provided for the painting session,” says Yap.

Be warned, adds Yap, that your face will be painted with glowing – but washable and non-toxic – paint to kick off the sesssion.

There are also workshops designed for batik, sketching and watercolour works. There is even crazy art for toddlers, using non-toxic watercolour balloons.

“Everyone is born with a creative mind and soul. With opportunity and proper guidance, you can create your own masterpieces,” she concludes.

For more information, visit:

cratze art

Participants can wear protective apparel such as aprons, raincoats or t-shirts and throw washable paint on drawing paper mounted on a wall.