Clued in and caustic | Bangkok Post: lifestyle

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Clued in and caustic

By day Showtika Somjid juggles with words; after dark she morphs into an illustrator, as she makes elbow room for herself in a very male-dominated sphere

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Showtika Somjid’s pseudonym was suggested by the names of a mentally disturbed couple, Nola and Nolee, who lived rough in her neighbourhood; they were familiar faces, often seen roaming the streets, but they never caused any harm to anybody. Showtika said she never meant to spark off speculation that there might be deep, philosophical reasons for her adoption of “Nolanolee”, the moniker she uses to sign the art she creates. She just thought it sounded like a “cute and friendly” tag and said she sometimes wonders what combination of events brought that pair of homeless people to that juncture in their lives. 

That attitude pretty much sums up Nolanolee’s body of work. She draws what she feels, focusing on subjects that pose questions for her, and the resulting illustrations are always suffused with her distinctively wry sense of humour. Through her main character — also christened Nolanolee; an awkward-looking girl with a large head and exaggeratedly rouged cheeks who wears her hair in severe bangs — Showtika offers social criticism and cultural observations that are amusing but also cuttingly acerbic.

“My mother has very prominent cheekbones. So, I am, in a way, paying homage to her, but poking fun at her at the same time. As for the bangs... I’ve always wanted to have sharp bangs, but I never could because my hair is naturally wavy and I can’t be bothered to have it straightened.’’

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