A community comes together

An artist collective at River City Bangkok seeks to bring young people into their mysterious world

Fourteen-year-old Paintfah Chanchutiwanit. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

After curating several interactive multimedia exhibitions to educate younger generations about contemporary art, River City Bangkok is now introducing a new space called Artists in Residence, home to seven studios and galleries.

Encircled with elegant antique shops on the 3rd floor, it's designed to be an inspiring community in which visitors can observe how artists work, share ideas with them, purchase artwork and enjoy an interesting programme of workshops and classes.

"Art Basel has forecast an increase of between 6% and 19% of art buyers under the age of 40. We can certainly attest to this. We notice that more young artists and collectors are exploring Bangkok's Creative District and our art centre," said Linda Cheng, managing director of River City.

Check out our list for a sightseeing tour.

Chalah Chaveesuk puts the art of meditation into his paintings.

Paint Fah

The Paint Fah studio is operated by 14-year-old Paintfah Chanchutiwanit, who started working when she was only seven. She switched to home schooling after her parents realised some classroom rules were preventing her from becoming an artist. Her work is a hybrid of realistic and abstract.

"At the age of seven, I left school and asked my parents to draw pictures only. My father gave me a week to find myself and that was the beginning of my career path. He has supported me to follow my dream by creating an educational programme, based on my interest. My father graduated in painting from Silpakorn University, so I've learnt all the basics of art from him. He is open-minded and encourages me to create artwork in my own style. Now, I'm studying about anatomy to enhance my skills," Paintfah said.

Playing with light and shadow, the latest collection of self-portraits titled "Myself" reflects her identity and the hormonal changes that occur during puberty.

"I've worked many group projects. In February, 'Myself' made a debut at the Galleries Night, organised by Alliance Francaise Bangkok. I recently raised funds for hospitals by sketching portraits for 40 customers," Paintfah said.

Kongsak Poonpholwattanaporn. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Baan Silom

Baan Silom accommodates nine veteran artists -- Banluesak Sujjajarearnchai, Chawtip Sriswadpong, Wasan Kramsri, Kanya Batsrima, Sarawut Srimungkala, Suchart Kraithong, Winya Juntapon, Pichart jeamrustsanakul and Thawaratt Samargachandra.

This contemporary art studio has a showcase of sculptures and paintings in different styles. Their works depict the beauty of nature, Thai culture and way of life. For example, artist Chawtip Sriswadpong conveys a philosophy of life through a series of goldfish-inspired paintings to encourage people during the Covid-19 crisis.

"I stayed home during the lockdown and took inspiration from my goldfish. It must swim in a small bowl all the time to exist, while we're humans and living in the wider space. We have more choices, so I should not give up," Chawtip said.

"Art is the beauty and artistry of living. We reflect our perspectives and identities through artworks. We live in a group and grow together. Friendship brings us happiness."

Three Silpakorn University graduates, Pranai Kaemtavornsilpa, Gulached Kaochaimaha and Sunisa Assawinrungroj.

956 Contemporary Art

At the 956 Contemporary Art, Chalah Chaveesuk has adopted the art of meditation in creating vibrant abstract paintings to give audiences positive energy.

"Abstract art is a good medium that everyone can understand and appreciate no matter what language they speak. Painting is like meditation because we have to stay focused on what we're doing," said Chalah, who holds a master's degree in fine arts from Ohio University.

"Art is about spirit. It can't help heal everyone, if you don't open your heart. At the same time, children have no expectations, so they can receive positive or negative energy fast. My work has free forms, so audiences can enjoy freedom to interpret or imagine from what they see on canvas."

J02 Gallery by Paitoon Jumee.

Gallery Hoc

A group of three Silpakorn University graduates -- Pranai Kaemtavornsilpa, Gulached Kaochaimaha and Sunisa Assawinrungroj -- have reunited to set up Gallery Hoc and showcase innovative works in different styles.

Using wax pencils, acrylic colour and graphic printing techniques, Pranai's self-portrait takes visitors back to his childhood in the 1980s when toy soldiers, Pac-Man and rocking horses were popular. He also displays portraits of Myanmar children to celebrate local wisdom in using natural material like flowers or thanaka to enhance beauty.

To mourn the passing of her rabbit, Sunisa created a series of fancy painting-like embroideries depicting a rabbit running around a flower field in heaven. Gulached presents surrealist and figurative paintings that reflect the truth and the relationship between humans and nature.

The group of artists from Baan Silom.

TY Gallery

Run by veteran Kongsak Poonpholwattanaporn, TY Gallery is a fun pavilion for those interested in graffiti and pop art. The walls are adorned with vibrant spray paintings, inspired by cartoon characters like Tweety Bird and Doraemon. Also on view is a unique edition of water-drop-inspired fibreglass sculptures that look like humans, and can adapt to various situations.

"My work is popular with foreign collectors. Now, I notice the growth of Thailand's art industry. Young generations are interested in arts and start collecting artwork. It's a good sign."

Chalah Chaveesuk puts the art of meditation into his paintings. (Photo by Varuth Hirunyatheb)

Things That Bring You Joy Gallery

The Things That Bring You Joy Gallery devotes its space to the exhibition "Dancing Through Difficulties Dancing Towards The Unknown", created by psychologist Olga Tapiola from Ukraine. During the lockdown, she had more time to drink in a slow pace of life and created eight abstract paintings to express her feelings.

"I didn't maintain a daily routine like before. So I have a little bit more time to stop and look at myself. I thought that it was a very difficult period for all of us; we couldn't go out or do many things. I started painting and I was not constrained by anything. This was just the expression of what I was feeling inside," Tapiola said. "I have never used colourful palettes before. But this time, there's a lot of orange, pink, red and blue that represent the colourful life that I have in Thailand."

Her works depict the beauty of sunset and sunrise, blooming flowers in Seoul and her dream to explore a lush mountain in Japan after her trip was postponed.

Paitoon Jumee.

J02 Gallery

The J02 Gallery is the brainchild of Paitoon Jumee, who once worked in TV production. He has created a collection of female portraits using smooth brushwork and contrasting colours to represent his philosophy on life and Thai aesthetics.

"With the Covid-19 pandemic, I temporarily closed my shop at Chatuchak Weekend Market due to the decreasing number of foreign customers. Normally, they buy my work to decorate their houses. At the same time, I can't send my work to galleries in the UK, Germany, France or Australia due to the border closure. I've learnt to shift to online to earn some income," Paitoon said.

Artists in Residence is on the 3rd floor of River City Bangkok on Charoen Krung Road. It's open daily from 11am to 8pm. Find out more details at rivercitybangkok.com.

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