HD Asian Art – Building a business and lifestyle from a passion for Southeast Asia



Before setting up HDAsianArt.com – a gallery of unique, affordable, museum quality Southeast Asian art – we had, for 20 years, found joy in travelling and experiencing Southeast Asia. Along with wonderful people, amazing food and unique encounters we enjoyed seeking out and acquiring high quality Asian Art, for our personal enjoyment. Returning home friends and family would always comment on the amazing workmanship and sheer beauty of the pieces we had secured. As our trips to Asia continued, and our passion for Asian Art grew, our painting covered walls and statue filled shelves began to resemble a small museum that we were often told should ‘attract an entry fee’.

After a successful career in IT a change in lifestyle was sought. Hoping to turn our hobby and passion into a business we spent six months travelling through Southeast Asia, exploring outside the ‘tourist trail’ seeking out the quality Asian Art we thought would be desired, by fellow enthusiasts.

Concluding our wondrous six month travel experience we had secured and shipped home beautiful statues, paintings and lacquerware from countries throughout Southeast Asia – the foundation art collection for HDAsianArt.com.  

Fig. 1 – Pieces such as this lacquerware trunk are hand carved, taking four months to craft

Whilst securing beautiful art that appealed to us was important of greater importance were certain criteria, that all of our purchases had to achieve:

1. Unique and Museum Quality

We were not interested in purchasing anything that could be considered mass produced. Unique, individual pieces that would not look out of place behind glass in the Victoria & Albert museum in London or the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. Our website offers worldwide shipping and pricing in USD, EUR, GBP, JPY & AUD so our pieces had to be of sufficient quality for an international audience.

Fig. 2 – An aged bronze Apsara – the celestial nymph – these centerpieces have generated much interest.

At times we clarified our purchases with Professors at the University of London, School for Oriental and Asian Studies (SOAS). Their concern that some of the pieces we had seen being produced in Cambodia or Thailand might be 12th or 13th century originals was particularly gratifying.

2. Artisan Crafted

Commencing our venture we were determined to work directly with the artisans producing our Art. We wanted to travel to their workshops, meet their workers and understand the effort involved producing the quality of pieces we required. Some of our lacquerware trunks take over 4 months to produce.

By refusing to buy from ‘middlemen’ or faceless mass supply websites we ensured a unique product but more importantly our continued purchase of their pieces providing a long-term stable income source for both themselves, their family and their workers.

Fig. 3 – An aged bronze statue arises from the workshop of a Cambodian artisan.

As our understanding of the communities and villages that they lived in grew we have also been able to work with local schools and hospitals – items that might be considered ‘basic’ are often much sought after. Through our regular trips to the region we have been able to provide, along with an income to our artisans, some much needed supplies to the communities that they work in.

3. Affordable

It is easy to source beautiful pieces of Asian Art when cost is not an issue. However, we wanted to supply beautiful, unique, museum quality art to a much wider audience.  More expensive than the typical ‘tourist market’ souvenirs, that are readily sourced throughout Southeast Asia, we looked to appeal to customers wanting unique, artisan crafted, affordable, museum quality art. Today we work with Interior Designers, Architects, Retailers and Consumers to provide art that brings a little affordable Asian serenity to their home, office or design project.

Fig. 4 – Burmese sand paintings, depicting 12th and 13th century temple wall murals offer stunning wall art

Since launching our website interest in our art has continued to grow. Comments such as ‘beautiful’, ‘I want one’ and ‘amazing’ abound. Continuous buying trips to Southeast Asia are planned throughout the year, to help meet demand for our pieces, with orders for specific pieces being placed ahead of these trips and local artisans now contacting us directly with details of what they produce. 

Travelling in Southeast Asia has always been a personal joy. Building a Southeast Asian inspired business that both fulfils a lifelong passion and also helps those living in the region is extremely satisfying. Hard work, great art and amazing customers should allow us to continue building on this passion.

For more information about Southeast Asian art please contact:

James Horsfall

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