Japanese-Thai creative Yuree Kensaku has established herself as a new breed of Thai urban artist. Rich in colours and meaning, her playful eye-popping pieces portray people, animals and objects, and usually convey deep messages. Having shown her work both locally and internationally, she’s also an active member of FOR, a collective of Thai graphic designers, illustrators and street artists. This year, the petite painter will celebrate her decade in the industry with a major solo exhibition in August. Yuree will also be one of the Thai artists to showcase her work at the forthcoming street art festival Bukruk/Thai-European Connection (www.bukruk.com) held at BACC and neighbouring public areas during Feb 23-Mar 17.
WHEN DID YOU START MAKING STREET ART?
It was about three years ago. Street art has always been an interest. I can paint in a larger scale, in different locations and combine various techniques together. I started working with P7 in public areas and later had collaborative exhibitions with FOR at BACC in 2010 and 2011 and in Chiang Mai. Despite the fact that there are so many abandoned areas in town, we sometimes need to get permission from the authorities.
DO YOU FIND WORKING COLLECTIVELY MORE HELPFUL?
There are a lot of advantages. Working together gives more impact, more variety and reaches a wider audience. Each member has followers so as a group, our fan base expands quite rapidly. It also broadens our potential interests, for example, from graffiti and graphic designs to paintings or other media as well.
DOES BANGKOK SUIT STREET ART?
The city's not that strict, which helps when compared to more uptight places. Street art in Bangkok has been a trend. It allows artists to work more on commercial projects. To me, it's not a crime as long as you can do your work and if it's an interesting project. Sometimes, commissioned works allow you to earn in order to produce other personal projects. That may also be one the main differences between Thai and international artists.
WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT THAI STREET ART?
In other countries, it may be a form of activism - to express views on social and political issues. In Thailand, it's totally different. Most local artists have a background in graphic design, illustration or painting. It's more about art and aesthetics. The context is just different. I've been asked why I don't do political works. To me, it's what inside you that matters. I may use elements to convey my thoughts. It's not necessary to limit yourself to purely creating artworks with a political message to be an artist.
HOW DO FESTIVALS LIKE BUKRUK HELP PUBLIC-SPACE ART BECOME MORE ACCESSIBLE?
I think street art has been a local trend for a while. It's contemporary and accessible. With a big-scale festival, people can widen their horizons with the works by famous international artists.
AS A BANGKOK STREET ARTIST, ANY WORDS TO THE NEW GOVERNOR?
Art should be an important issue. It should be prioritized. Not just in Bangkok, but nationwide. In order to promote short-term activities or events, art should be fostered and promoted. With proper and continual support, art could make Bangkok an even more colourful capital.G
About the author
- Writer: Pimchanok Phungbun Na Ayudhya