The allure of beauty
Artist Suttikiret Wachdang's latest exhibition presents a reflection of the ideal woman as seen through his eyes
On the 2nd floor of Palette Artspace, 30 oil paintings as part of an exhibition titled "Her Wonder (No.2.5)" depict vivid images of pretty girls with short hair inspired by artist Suttikiret Wachdang's ideal women. Suttikiret Wachdang, better known as his pseudonym Mr Tontragoon, explained that this exhibition displays his works from two previous shows and one new painting.
"'Her Wonder (No.2.5)' features oil paintings from two retrospectives -- 'Her'  and 'Wonder Girl' . The latest painting is nameless, like my other paintings, and it gathers images of women from my previous works. The new painting was an experiment and I created it using rich colours in many layers in order to make it look more fun," explained Suttikiret.
Watjanasin Charuwattanakitt, the curator of Palette Artspace, is interested in Suttikiret's paintings and finds them delightful.
"Viewing Mr Tontragoon's paintings is always pleasant and enjoyable. His artwork reminds us of our childhood when we did not have to worry about anything. I also really like the bright colours in his works," Watjanasin commented.
Before the 30-year-old artist discovered his passion for drawing brightly coloured images of women, his paintings used to be gloomy as they were inspired by his experiences of being bullied.
A new painting by Suttikiret Wachdang at 'Her Wonder (No.2.5)'.
"I experienced bullying and had a miserable life when I was very young. During my undergraduate years, I used those negative experiences to create graphic works and abstract paintings with a lot of violet and black colours. The more I painted from my bullying experiences, the more I felt unhappy. Instead of focusing on my present life, those paintings reminded me of bad memories," said Suttikiret.
After earning his Bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts at Srinakharinwirot University, Suttikiret pursued his Master's in visual arts at the Faculty of Architecture, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMIT). As an aspiring artist, he had a difficult time finding a subject to work on for his thesis. While he was conducting research in the university library, he met a senior student who was working as a part-time lecturer at KMIT. He asked the lecturer for advice and that advice changed his life.
"I told the part-time lecturer that my thesis proposals have been rejected several times and asked him what to do. He simply asked me about my interest and I told him that I was interested in women. He then suggested that I paint images of women. Since then, I have created and developed several paintings of women thanks to his advice," said Suttikiret.
The artist admitted that he has been interested in women from a young age as he was single. His painting process starts by searching for photos of women he finds attractive on social media.
"My ideal type is young and pretty with short hair. I ask for photos of women I like through social media. Some of the women are my friends, some are my crushes and sometimes I use photos of women from media. My paintings do not look exactly like those women since I prefer to develop the painting by using their outstanding characteristics as well as their outfit," he said.
Paintings from 'Wonder Girl' depict more characters and details.
Suttikiret described his paintings as naïve art since they contain childlike simplicity and genuineness. Even though there are many old masters of naïve art, Suttikiret does not have a favourite.
"I like naïve art, pop art and street art, but I do not have any particular artist who has inspired me. I am worried that if I look up to someone a lot, my work will duplicate theirs," explained Suttikiret.
The artist has painted pictures of women for six years but he has made them different at each exhibition.
"In my first solo exhibition, 'Her', many paintings feature only one woman. However, in my second show titled 'Wonder Girl', the paintings depict more characters and details. To make it more fun, I also created paintings in different shapes as frames such as circles, triangles, hexagons and hearts," he said.
Besides "Her Wonder (No.2.5)", Mr Tontragoon is also displaying a painting in a group exhibition titled "Smog", which is on view at Show DC until Feb 21. A retrospective, "Smog" tackles air pollution and PM2.5 dust issues amid the coronavirus pandemic so the painting does not contain the use of vivid colours.
"This painting was developed from an unfinished work from many years ago, so it still consists of female characters in bright colours. I then added other factors such as dust, smoke, clouds, vehicles and masks in darker tones in order to factor in air pollution. In the painting, I wanted to communicate that things may get worse but we have to adjust ourselves and live with it," explained Suttikiret.
The artist is also planning on creating his third solo exhibition which will continue to maintain his ideal theme type.
"My previous works were inspired by very young women but in the next show, women characters will be of working-age and more mature. The older I get, the older the characters have become. I am also interested in reading and writing, so I will write up short descriptions to accompany the paintings. This way, each painting will have more story to tell. I may paint pictures of women for four or five collections. If I have a girlfriend, I may paint pictures focusing on her," said Suttikiret.
"Her Wonder (No.2.5)" runs at Palette Artspace, Soi Thonglor, until Feb 14. Admission is free. Visit facebook.com/palette.artspace or call 064-587-6788.