Singaporean artist, Tan Khim Ser is noted for his contributions in developing artistic talent and promoting greater awareness in the local arts. Besides teaching Chinese ink painting for the past 50 years after he graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in 1966, he founded Life Art Society in 1972. The society is involved in numerous art activities and exhibitions, including live art demonstrations by Tan. While he is trained in both Chinese and Western painting and techniques, most of Tan’s works are Chinese ink paintings and calligraphy.
Plein-air painting and sketching had been part of the Academy's Western painting programme where students experience drawing and painting outdoors. Upon graduation from the Academy in 1966, Tan continued to practice sketching outdoors. Holland Village, situated in the central part of Singapore, now known for its quaint shophouses and modern café culture, was once a colonial estate in the 1990s. Using marker pen with oil pastel, Tan documented parts of the area before its redevelopment to what it is today. Renderings such as coconut trees and kampong houses lend a local impression to his sketches beyond the common impression of the area as a western enclave.