Whispers of home

Whispers of home

Artist Wannaprapa Tungkasmith showcases intricate papercutting with inspiration from familiar surroundings

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Whispers of home
Wannaprapa Tungkasmith at her solo exhibition 'I Am Home'.

While many artists seek inspiration outside their home, Wannaprapa Tungkasmith, better known as Collagecanto, discovered that home is one of the best places to find her muse. Wannaprapa is famous for her intricate papercutting artwork. Her solo exhibition "I Am Home" was inspired during the Covid-19 lockdown when many people were forced to stay indoors. That period ignited Wannaprapa to create this introspective exhibition.

"As a freelancer, I have spent a lot of time at home, drawing inspiration from the things that surround me. I had not held a solo exhibition for a couple of years. While spending time at home during the lockdown, I felt it was natural to tell stories about things that were close to me. Home was also a subject that had not been explored much in my work," explained Wannaprapa.

Walking through the entrance, visitors will view Layers Of Home which consists of five paper houses arranged from largest to smallest. Wannaprapa revealed that the idea of varying sizes of house was inspired by the Russian doll, or matryoshka. The largest, entitled Patchwork House, represents her own home where she lives with her parents and siblings.

"The structure of Patchwork House was inspired by a greenhouse because in front of my home there is a garden grown by my father. When I was young, I dreamed of having a dollhouse. This desire became the title of the second house, Dollhouse. Inside Dollhouse, visitors will find my first knitting piece from paper, it is the space for showcasing my experimental pieces," Wannaprapa explained.

"The next house entitled Alfhol means house of elf in Icelandic language. When I work at night, I usually imagine that elves help me, so I decided to build a house for them. The House Of Rock was created from leftover paper scraps from Patchwork House. The paper was crafted to resemble rocks. Finally, the House Of Blade serves as a storage space for the 365 cutter blades which I used for this exhibition."

Layers Of Home consists of five paper houses arranged from largest to smallest.

The collection Windows Calendar displays 12 rectangle frames which was inspired from the windows at Wannaprapa's home throughout the 12 months of the years.

"This collection was inspired by the period when I worked at home and looked through my windows to see the garden. Each frame represents each month, but not the same year. The frame for January reflects a time when a python invaded the garden. The April frame features a ship's mast inspired by my family's annual trip to the South for the Qingming Festival, a period to pay respect to ancestors. It was a time to think about oceans and ships," explained Wannaprapa.

The Fern Collection showcases papercut art inspired by ferns in her garden. Each piece in this collection is impressively elaborate in detail.

"Many pieces in Fern Collection drew inspiration from ferns and other plants. However, the piece, Eyes Nose Lips was inspired by human anatomy. Another paper work, Halloween, depicts a skeleton inspired by the Halloween festival and ghost comic books. The piece, Christmas Tree, was originally meant to resemble the shapes of sea creature bones. Surprisingly, the final result looked like a Christmas tree. It is one of the fun things about papercut art because the creative process can lead to unexpected final works," Wannaprapa said.

Wannaprapa earned her bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Humanities, Kasetsart University. She worked as a media representative for years. Due to her passion for art, she liked to spend her free time creating collage pieces and would post them accompanied with short poems called canto on the blog collagecantoandsoon.blogspot.com. Her collage work caught the eye of a colleague who offered her an opportunity to create illustrations for articles. It was an opportunity for Wannaprapa to practise and develop her work until she discovered the papercut technique.

Windows Calendar.

Her papercutting talent was recognised after she had an opportunity to work on a project with a creative team at an advertising agency. The team created an advertising campaign, Artquarium, to promote the water-resistant properties of a particular brand of paper. This TV advertisement depicted stunning papercut art which resembled intricate flowers and plants placed in a fish tank. The project won a gold award at Cannes Lions in France, one of the most prestigious creative awards in the advertising industry. The award helped Wannaprapa gain more recognition from the public and people became more aware of paper art.

"I was happy with the team because they worked very hard on the project. I learned a lot from it. After the project received the award, I gained more followers and some commission projects."

Wannaprapa has always improved her skills and pushed her boundaries. In "I Am Home", she challenged herself by creating larger papercuts. Taking her creative exploration even further, she embraced a new technique, paper knitting.

"Since I was already comfortable with papercutting techniques, I wanted a challenge that ventured beyond familiar techniques. When I saw strips of paper trickling from a shredder, I wondered how to incorporate them into my work. I initially thought about weaving, but later opted for knitting. Through experimentation, I discovered a suitable kind of paper for knitting. Knitting paper allowed me to relax since I could sit on a sofa to do it. I had to bend over and use a lot of arm muscles while working on the papercutting pieces. I also employed a knotting technique which is similar to macrame for the collection Roots House."

The frame for January. La Lanta Fine Art

On a wall, Lacyscape presents a collage technique infused with lace. This collection depicts pictures related to landscapes and travelling.

"After focusing solely on papercutting for a while, I missed using collage. Therefore, I returned to create a collection, Lacyscape. It was a time when I appreciated lace, so I added lace into the collection. This collection embodies my desire to travel to places such as beaches, flower fields and abroad," said Wannaprapa.

After several years of hard work, Wannaprapa has become a renowned papercutting artist. She was touched when told by a younger artist that her work had inspired them to follow her artistic path.

"The young artist told me that she established an office which focuses on creating paper sculptures because she saw my work. I was glad that my work had inspired someone to develop something new," Wannaprapa said with a smile.

For "I Am Home", she hopes that people will have an opportunity to view the exhibition.

"I have not held a solo exhibition for a couple of years, so I hope that many people will come view it. I believe that people can easily relate to my work. It is an exhibition that is easy on the eyes and helps viewers relax. I will be happy if any visitor brings some of my work home with them," concluded Wannaprapa.

"I Am Home" runs at La Lanta Fine Art, Narathiwas Rajanakarin 22, until Saturday. Admission is free. For more information, visit facebook.com/lalantafineart.

Roots House.

Lacyscape.

Lacyscape presents a collage technique infused with lace.

From left, Dollhouse and Patchwork House

Eyes Nose Lips.

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