Leading by creativity

Bangkok’s creatives talk about the what and how

For many of us, creativity was stifled during childhood and at school. This is a tremendous shame, as the power of creativity and the benefits it can have on society are endless. But there’s good news. When you repress something, it can bloom back in full force. And we’ve noticed a bit of a “renaissance” in the creative fields happening in the city as of late. From designers to dancers, actors to architects, painters to poets and singers to start-up entrepreneurs, Bangkok’s bubbling away with an energy never before seen. Creativity is living everywhere, from the way people are wearing their clothes to the way the food is being arranged on our plates. People are even incorporating beer drinking into their yoga routine. If that’s not creative, then we don’t know what is! This week, we spoke to ten people in Bangkok and beyond living on their creativity. If you’re looking for inspiration to fuel whatever it is that you live for, read on.

Tawn Chatchavalvong

Fashion Designer and Founder of Tawn C (www.tawn-c.com)

What is creativity?

Creativity is about wanting to achieve the certain shapes, form and textures that you have in mind, or a vision you have, but without good communication, techniques and know-how, you cannot achieve it. As a designer, what do I do? I don’t just sit and draw everyday as being a successful designer is not just about drawing. The silhouette of the whole collection is already in my mind. But how do I communicate my vision, my story, to my team and my customer? That is the key question. How my answer to that question is executed is where the real creativity happens.

Photo: Pornprom Satrabhaya

Paron Mead

Managing Director of Paron School of Art (http://fb.com/ParonSchoolofArt)

What advice would you give to people who want to unlock their creative side?

Do it. Practising an art, at whatever level of proficiency, makes us more empathetic and more in touch. The form that your creative pursuit takes is almost insignificant. Whether you are into sculpting, composing music, the preparation of beautiful foods or just by wearing wacky clothes, I think everyone who I have ever met enjoys some aspect of artistry. And once you find whatever it is that works for you, try trusting in it for a while. The trouble is that the world can appear very judgemental of artistic endeavours. The challenge then is to surround yourself with the people who will enable and strengthen that pursuit.

Photo courtesy of Paron Mead

Pimdao Sukhahuta

Founder and Creative Director of Fashion Brand, Sretsis (www.sretsis.com)

How can creativity be used for a good cause?

Creativity is also about problem solving, but in an artistic way. So, I think it can be applied to many different aspects of how we do things at a personal or public level. For example, Sretsis found a way to make use of excess materials by creating the Love Dolls project, which not only reduced the waste of our company, but also helped create jobs for a special group of women. Hopefully the dolls will bring a smile to the receiver’s face, too! (To see the dolls, visit IG @littlesistersofficial).

Tell us about a project that you were involved in recently that involved a lot of your creative power

Recently, we collaborated with two of our most favourite artists, Michal Pudelka, and Leith Clark, for Sretsis FW17 campaign shooting. It was a dream come true to visualise the images together and see them come alive.

It is also with pleasure that Sretsis is collaborating with the Vejdusit Foundation’s and its “Unlimited Dreams” project. To be able to push the boundaries and help support the dreams of the disabled living in our society is very exciting.

Photo courtesy of Pim Sukhahuta

Vitchukorn Chokedeetaweeanan

Creative Director of Greyhound Original (www.greyhound.co.th)

How do you get creative?

Working in a team often brings new insights and ideas. You can get inspiration for creativity from anything and you don’t need to be a designer to see that. When I’m exchanging ideas with the team, or when I’m travelling, this will help expand my creative thinking. Sharing oneself truly with others and giving others the space to do the same is the perfect formula for getting a creative spark as you then bounce off each other. Also, listening to others is important — because always talking and never listening won’t get you far. Be silent, listen and open yourself to new ideas and ways of thinking. This is very important for a creative person.

Photo courtesy of Greyhound Original

Panipa Pavanarit

Founder of Panipa Hair Salon, President Intercoiffure Thailand and President of Hairdressers’ Club of Thailand (www.panipa.com)

What advice would you give to people who want to unlock their creative side?

Whatever work you are involved in, you have to have passion and enjoyment in what you are doing. You have to cultivate your creative side and work at it to reach the full potential. Use a lot of imagination and never give up in any profession you are doing.

Tell us about a project that you were involved in recently that involved a lot of your creative powers.

I recently conducted a seminar about Personality and Total Looks for a special Thammasart World Leadership Program, including a group of 120 people. The attendants consisted of government officials, top executives from the business sectors, owners of businesses and professors. The talk was on hair, face and makeup and how to look your best at all times. I created different hairstyles for different facial shapes and talked about how to choose the right hairstyle for different facial shapes. I explained the importance of hair colour matching different skin tones and how the right or wrong colours could give a positive or a negative appearance.

I was also recently part of the committee presenting a hair show from Thailand on the world stage at Intercoiffure Mondial World Congress in Osaka. The three-day fashion event was attended by 33 countries and one thousand hairdressers. As a Founder President of Intercoiffure Thailand, I was part of the committee in forming the team for the show.

Photo courtesy of Intercoiffure Mondial

Elsie Evans

Artist, Founder of Attic Studios, Founder of recently opened Elsie Evans Art Retreat (http://fb.com/elsieevansart)

What advice would you give to people who want to unlock their creative side ?

Get a sketchbook and draw. Even if it’s for 15 minutes a day. Drawing gives the mind space. Like meditation. There is no way you can receive the stimulation your creative side needs if you are always frantic with a list of tasks to do and deadlines to meet. They don’t have to be pretty pictures. Start by drawing familiar objects at a quiet time during the day. The crumbs on your plate from your breakfast toast. Your flip flops. The zip on the side of your hand bag. Draw easy things. This is for fun. You don’t have to show anyone. If it helps your concentration put on some soothing music. AND, enjoy yourself!

Photo courtesy of Elsie Evans Art Retreat

Carla Soledad

Flamenco Dancer and Founder of The Home BKK (http://fb.com/thehomebkk)

Tell us about a project that you were involved in recently that involved a lot of your creativity.

I set up The HOME — an acronym for the House Of Magical Epiphanies. Its story starts in Bangkok with The HOME BKK — a welcoming space that brings people together and celebrates our differences through the familiar creative forms of music, food, art and design, movement and stillness. This is a social pilot project of constant evolution and playful experimentation. The notion of a Sustainable Equity System has transitioned into a showroom for in-house and collaborative projects, each fuelling one another in symbiotic relationships — a place to network, exchange and share through workshops, events, exhibits and practices. The purpose is to empower, inspire, nurture and enrich, to unlock potential and develop exponentially. The HOME Network is a global enterprise that invites everyone to be a part of.

Photo: Jessica Teal

Ben Zander

Author and Photographer (www.benzander.com)

Tell us about a project that you are currently involved in that requires your creativity.

Right now I am doing a social change photography project that aims to reduce plastic waste in Thailand. It’s called #DEATHBYPLASTIC (www.benzander.com/deathbyplastic). Today, the majority of the world’s oceanic plastic waste comes from just five countries, and Thailand is one of them, contributing over one thousand tonnes per year. I want us to change that. Fashion designer Ek Thongprasert is helping out with styling various celebrities I am photographing and filming in different locations relevant to the plastic waste problem. Buakaw Banchamek, Penny J Lane and MC Dandee have joined so far, and we are currently doing a fundraiser to complete the project with seven more influencers. Please check it out and support it if you’re interested in making a change!

Photo: Tanny Pedersen

Aarti Kapoor

Managing Director of Embode (www.embode.co) and Leader of the Women of the World (WoW) programme for Asia (www.tglp.ee/wow). Currently starring in the play Miss Julie at Culture Collective, Bangkok (http://fb.com/cucostudio).

How do you get your creative juices going?

As a Buddhist and a Leadership Consultant, I make space for meditation and contemplation in every day life. I believe we can work consciously with our karma to grow through each experience. I do this by listening to my reveries and by finding meaning in the mundane. I take note of what calls my attention and continuously ask “What karmic seed wants to ripen next?”. And then I practice and rehearse, because becoming good enough at something requires nothing less!

Just doing or thinking about something different for an hour is an act of creativity. We are constantly co-creating with the world around us so be open to not only what “I want”, but “what is calling me”. To inspire new ways of seeing, look for coincidences in your everyday life and find meaning in them. This is called synchronicity.

Photo courtesy of Aarti Kapoor

Vararom Pachimsawat

Artistic Director of Dance Centre, School of performing arts (www.dance-centre.com) and President of Friends of The Arts Foundation (www.fotaf.org)

When have you used your creativity most recently ?

I have to use my creativity to come up with solutions of how to keep performing arts programmes alive and running that would interest the general public and benefit the incredibly talented youth we have here in Thailand. This is a great challenge as people often need to be reminded of the importance of the arts.

Photo courtesy of Vararom Pachimsawat

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