Spreading positivity

Illustrator Nuttapong Daovichitr's exhibition 'Safe Space' is providing a much-need break at a time when there is little to cheer for

Nuttapong created Slow Reverse for the project 'Ubisum By Ubies'. Photo: Nuttapong Daovichitr

The Covid-19 pandemic and relentless political conflict in Thailand has caused frustrations for illustrator and graphic designer Nuttapong Daovichitr, aka Nutdao. At one point, he felt he wanted to have a break from these negative situations and eventually created his debut virtual reality exhibition "Safe Space".

"I saw many negative situations and could not tolerate it, so I decided to step back. Working on this exhibition helped me get away from all negativities for short periods of time. The illustrations include spaces or places I used to visit, but I don't specify the exact location. I drew whatever came to mind, so these illustrations are like collages of my thoughts," explained Nuttapong.

Eleven illustrations in "Safe Space" display bright colours such as orange, green and blue, so viewers can feel energetic. Nuttapong hopes that viewers will feel relaxed when they see his work.

"If people see this collection on social media, I hope they will feel relaxed. I usually release negative energy in my designs. In this collection, I wanted to portray positive energy since there are many negative situations around us at present. I hope "Safe Space" can be a break from negative situations," said Nuttapong.

Illustrator and graphic designer Nuttapong Daovichitr, aka, Nutdao. Photos © Art Bakery Gallery

Two Illustrations -- Sanctuary 1 and Sanctuary 2 -- were inspired by places that Nuttapong visited in Japan. He also added some elements to assemble images of collages. Placebo is an illustration with an interesting title which depicts someone floating in the air.

"Placebo portrays the mood of a person in a trance. At first, I wanted to use placebo as the exhibition title but the word does not represent the whole collection. The placebo effect is a state whereby someone feels better after taking an inactive substance. It is like the illustration which boosts viewers' positive energy, but does not solve any problem," said Nuttapong.

Nuttapong earned his bachelor's in Visual Communication Design from the Faculty of Decorative Arts at Silpakorn University. He became interested in illustration after he learned that rules, guidelines and clients' requirements in graphic design limited his freedom of expression. Howver, illustrations allow him to express more. Currently, Nuttapong is a designer at the Practical School of Design. During his free time, he works on illustrations for clients and himself.

"When working for clients, I use my skills to appease clients' needs. My personal illustration is self-expression that I want to communicate to my followers. Also, I sometimes do not have any particular message, but it is an experiment. Thus, my personal work is more open. Working for clients and for myself has both a plus and minus side. I prefer to work on both for a better balance," said Nuttapong.

Healing was inspired after Nuttapong was vaccinated. Art Bakery Gallery

Even though Nuttapong is an established illustrator, he has never stopped improving. Last year, he participated in a Japanese online creative tournament "Ubisum By Ubies" and paired with a Korean mentor Youngeun Heo to create his collection "Slow Reverse".

"I worked with this team at a Japanese art fair 'Unknown Asia Art Exchange Osaka'. 'Ubisum By Ubies' was their online platform. When I participated in this event, I received feedback in different aspects from people from different countries such as Indonesia, China, South Korea and Japan. At 'Ubisum By Ubies', I paired with a Korean mentor Youngeun Heo, who is a journalist. Her viewpoints are different from other creators. We spoke through email until I finished my five illustrations for 'Self-Distorted'. I usually participate in events like this because deadlines push me to create my own collection," said Nuttapong.

Since Nuttapong is interested in political issues, he sometimes creates illustrations to express his political viewpoints and posts them on social platforms.

Sanctuary 1 was inspired by places that Nuttapong visited in Japan. Art Bakery Gallery

"It is something that I can do. I am not ready to dedicate myself and participate in a rally because I have elderly at home to care for and we are in a pandemic. Hence, I tried to think what I could do. I educate myself and do not ignore what happens. Many people sacrifice themselves for political conflict. I do not want their sacrifices to go in vain. If we ignore what happens, it will eventually affect us, so we had better help one another," said Nuttapong.

After a decade in the business, Nuttapong noticed that investors are paying more attention to illustrations. Displays of large illustrations can be found in public spaces and it can make spaces more interesting. The number of illustrators has also increased. Aspiring illustrators are trying to figure out their own style and aiming to become professional. Nuttapong, who is notable for his simplified images, advised that aspiring illustrators should take time to find a unique style.

"Illustrators should not be in rush to figure out a style since it takes time. If illustrators often use references, they will be stuck in those styles. When an illustrator tries to develop their own style by drawing from a reference, they should not post that illustration on social platforms because people can usually see similarities between the illustration and the reference that was used. Style is not only about lines and drawings. It is also about your viewpoints towards something. If you have a different viewpoint, your interpretation and outcome will be different," concluded Nuttapong.

Nuttapong or Nutdao working on 'Safe Space'. Art Bakery Gallery

Placebo portrays the mood of a person in a trance. Art Bakery Gallery

"Safe Space" is now on view via artbakery.in until Oct 31. Visit Instagram @artbakery.th and @nutdao for more information.

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