Street artist Mamafaka is dead, R.I.P. | Bangkok Post: learning

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Street artist Mamafaka is dead, R.I.P.

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34-year old creator of hairy monster Mr. Hellyeah seen on shirts, bags, skateboards, even furniture dies in Phuket swimming accident. 


R.I.P, Mamafaka


Pharuephon Mukdasanit, one of Thailand's most prominent graphic designers and street artists, passed away yesterday morning after being in a coma for 48 hours.

While holidaying in Phuket, he was swimming and appeared to be drowning, and was rescued by friends and life guards. He was sent to Krungthep Phuket Hospital, but did not regain consciousness and later stopped breathing. He was 34.

The news has shocked design and graphics circles in Bangkok.

Pharuephon, better known by his moniker Mamafaka, created one of the most recognisable characters in Thai pop art: Mr Hellyeah, a mustachioed, hairy, monster-like character that appeared in different incarnations in picture frames, paintings, T-shirts, shoes, skateboards, bags, furniture, iPhone cases and graffiti art. Many of these creations were featured in international fashion and design magazines.

"I grew up watching cartoons after the news. I often questioned what would happen if there weren't any cartoons after the news. What would I be waiting for? I merged Mr Hellyeah with my favourite characters. I think the viewers can look at them, and think that they're cute while some might spot something more eerie lurking underneath," Pharuephon said in an interview with Life last October.

Pharuephon was born in Khon Kaen. After finishing a vocational course, he joined the graphic design department at Rangsit University, where he fell in love with the art.

He briefly worked for an advertising agency, but left to start a collective called B.O.R.E.D. in 2002 with six other designers. The group was responsible for many events in terms of visual and graphic elements that shaped the landscape of Bangkok street art and pop-cultural enthusiasm - from the Fat Festival to Tiger Translate.

The success of Mr Hellyeah made it clear that Pharuephon would soon launch his own line of products. He was also actively creating fine art for gallery exhibitions.

"I know that there are a lot of Mr Hellyeahs around these days, aren't there?" he said in an interview. "I'd like to think that I've learned how to negotiate arts and commercialisation during my time at the ad agency. I'm trying not to go overboard, or else my works can become overdone. What happens when I become bored of Mr Hellyeah? Well, I'll move on to something else."

"Life should never be about fixating on one thing."

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advertising agency: a company whose business is making advertisements for other companies - ธุรกิจโฆษณา, หน่วยงานที่ประกอบธุรกิจโฆษณา

artist: a professional entertainer such as a singer, a dancer or an actor - ศิลปิน

bored: feeling impatient or dissatisfied, because you are not interested in something or because you have nothing to do - เบื่อหน่าย เหนื่อยหน่าย

breath: an amount of air that enters the lungs at one time; the air that you take into your lungs and send out again - ลมหายใจ

breathe: to bring air in and out of the lungs - หายใจ

character: a person in a book, play, film etc - ผู้สวมบทบาท, ตัวแสดง

circle: a group of people who are connected because they have the same interests, jobs, etc - หมู่คณะ

collective: involving all the members of a group - โดยรวม ทั้งคณะ (การตัดสินชี้ขาดจากศาล)

coma: a deep unconscious state, usually lasting a long time and caused by serious illness or injury - สภาพไม่รู้สึกตัวของผู้ป่วย

commercialisation: developing something so that it can be sold at a profit - ทำเพื่อการค้ากำไร

consciousness: awareness - ความมีสติ, ความตระหนักรู้

creation: a thing that somebody has made, especially something that shows ability or imagination - ผลงานประดิษฐ์

designer: a person who comes up with ideas and plans for things such as new products, fashion, inside of houses, gardens, etc - นักออกแบบ, ดีไซน์เนอร์

drown: to sink under water and die - จมน้ำ

drowning: dying from sinking under the water and being unable to breathe - การจมน้ำ

eerie: strange and mysterious, and sometimes frightening - น่าขนลุก

element: an important basic part of something - องค์ประกอบ, ส่วนประกอบ

enthusiasm: the feeling of being very interested in something or excited by it - ความกระตือรือร้น

event: a planned public or social occasion - งานสังคม

exhibition: a public show where art or other interesting things are put so that people can go and look at them - นิทรรศการ งานแสดง

favourite: something you like the best of all similar things - ที่ชอบมากที่สุด, ที่โปรดปราน, ของโปรด

fine arts: art activities in which people create beautiful things to look at such as paintings and drawings - วิจิตรศิลป์, งานช่างศิลป์

fixated: so interested in someone or something that you do not pay attention to anything else - มุ่งความสนใจ

gallery: a room or building for showing works of art or other items of interest, especially to the public - ห้องแสดงผลงานศิลปะ, ห้องแสดงผลงาน

graffiti: words or pictures drawn on walls in public places - การวาดภาพหรือเขียนบนกำแพงในที่สาธารณะ

graphic: connected with drawings and design, especially in the production of books, magazines, etc - เกี่ยวกับภาพ

graphic design: the art of designing pictures and text for magazines, books, advertisements, etc; visual communication through skillful combination of text and pictures - การออกแบบเลขนศิลป์

graphics: designs, drawings or pictures - ภาพ

holidaying: having a vacation; on vacation -

international: connected with or involving two or more countries - นานาชาติ, สากล, ระหว่างประเทศ

interview: a meeting (often a public one) at which a journalist asks somebody questions in order to find out their opinions, experiences, etc. - การสัมภาษณ์

landscape: the appearance and characteristics of an area of land - ภูมิประเทศ, ภูมิทัศน์

launch: to start selling a new product or service to the public - เริ่มวางขาย

line of products: product line, a set of related products that a company sells - สายผลิตภัณฑ์

lurk: to wait, sometimes hiding, in order to frighten, annoy, or attack someone - หลบ, ซ่อน, เดินลับๆล่อๆ

merge: (of two or more groups) to join together to become one - รวมกัน

moniker: a name; a nickname - ชื่อหรือชื่อเล่น

monster: (in stories) an imaginary creature that is very large, ugly and frightening - สัตว์ประหลาดในนิยาย,สัตว์ที่น่าเกลียดน่ากลัว

negotiate: to successfully travel on a road or path that is difficult to travel on or through - ฝ่าไป

passed away: died - จากไป (ตาย),เสียชีวิต

prominent: important and well known - สำคัญ, มีชื่อเสียง, เด่น

R.I.P.: Rest in Peace, meaning that somehas died -

recognisable: easy to recognise or remember - เป็นที่รู้จักกัน, จำได้ง่าย

regain: to get back something that was lost - ได้กลับมาใหม่

rescue: to save a person or animal from a dangerous or unpleasant situation - ช่วยชีวิต

responsible for: to have a duty to do something - มีความรับผิดชอบ

shape: to have an important influence on the way that somebody/something develops - ก่อร่าง

shock: a strong feeling of surprise as a result of something happening, especially something unpleasant; the event that causes this feeling - ช็อค, ความสะดุ้ง, อาการช็อค

skateboarders: one who rides a skateboard - นักเล่นสเก็ต

spot: to see or notice - สังเกตเห็น

street art: visual art in public spaces, can include traditional graffiti artwork, sculpture, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheatpasting and street poster art, video projection, art intervention, guerrilla art, and street installations (Source: Wikipedia) -

street artist: a person who does street art -

success: achieving the goals you wanted to achieve or made a lot of money - มีผลสำเร็จ, ประสบผลสำเร็จ, ประสบชัยชนะ

underneath: under or below something else, especially when it is hidden or covered by the thing on top - ภายใต้, ข้างใต้

visual: relating to sight - เกี่ยวกับการมองเห็น

vocational: teaching the skills necessary for particular jobs - การสอนวิชาชีพ

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