WHAT PROJECTS HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED IN?
People initially knew me from the drawings I posted on my blog. My first piece of work was for Knock Knock magazine in which I did an illustration for a column about Valentine's Day. That was the first time my work was published. Later, I was approached by a designer from Senada to do an illustration pattern for Senada's scarf collection. That was a huge turning point. People started to know more about me and my works because it is such a huge brand in Thailand. From then on, I got to work with a few other women's brands, but the products haven't been launched yet.
HOW DO YOU BALANCE BETWEEN SCHOOL AND WORK?
This was such a big problem when I was in my third year. I did a lot of freelance projects, and I was so tired that I often missed classes at university. I was so into those projects because not only did it help my work become more widely known, but I could also earn money by myself. Later, I learned to balance between the two because while those projects are good publicity for my works, studies at the university are equally important.
WHAT MADE YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH ART AND FASHION?
All I know is that I have loved drawing ever since I was very young. Drawing in my notebooks, and drawing on the wall [laughs]. I often told my mother that I wanted to be a designer even though I had no idea then what a designer was.
WHAT DOES ART MEAN TO YOU?
To me, art is the expression of my imagination and what's happening in my head. It's like I don't know where to store my thoughts if I couldn't express them through art. My inspiration comes from things in everyday life. I like to question things, constantly seeking explanations for everything that happens.
DO MARKETING NEEDS LIMIT YOUR CREATIVITY?
Yes, I think so. But, in a way, it's a good thing because, personally, I see no point in fashion that is not practical. I guess I'm trying to find the balance, the kind of fashion that has meaning and can be sold at the same time.
WHO'S YOUR IDOL?
My role model isn't necessarily the person in the same line of work. One particular woman who I look up to is Sofia Coppola. She's a film director who used to be a famous and beautiful model. It's incredible how she didn't stop at just being a typical pretty model with no brain. She has proven she is smart enough to be a director and directed many famous movies which I really love. She inspires me that one can be both intelligent and beautiful at the same time. I want to be like her.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE THAI FASHION SCENE?
Most of the time, I think trends lack uniqueness and individuality. I want people to dress according to their personality, not after the popular trend and what celebrities are wearing.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING ILLUSTRATORS?
I think illustrators have to practice hard and try to create their own work. Once you think a design is good enough, you have to put it out there to the public for people to see and comment on. For those starting from scratch, online media is the only way to reach the public. You can't wait for it to be discovered. You have to present it to people yourself.
Using photography as her diary, art as a means to express her thoughts, and fashion as a way to tell a story, Kamonnart "Ung" Ongwandee is a freelance illustrator and fashion design student. Only 21 years old, she has already completed many projects in the art and fashion industry, including illustrating a design for the scarf collection of renowned local fashion brand Senada. Ung can be reached for customised illustrations and fashion design through her blog, www.vanillawalk.org.
About the author
Writer: Kaona Pongpipat