The Thai artists Ji & Yin (met in NY) hooked me up with the Thai artist Korakot, who brought me to his home town near Petchaburi, 2 hours south of Bangkok. (and what a difference 2 hours makes)!
it's a fisherman's village, where they also produce salt, palm sugar, and wicker crafts
and, of course, wats abound
and there's drying fish all over the place.
I got to see Korakot's "studio factory" (a la Warhol). Very cool, and his work has been shown in NYC, China, South Africa, Paris, and other places.
He employs about 30 people for his bamboo/hemp sculptures and lighting design.
Here's painted bamboo drying
it's great to touch
and look at.
Here he is holding a piece that may become furniture
and some of his focused and smiling assistants
they were making cool stuff
(I love that she was wearing a "beware of artists" shirt):
evocative of a lot of things, including Noguchi lamps, Sol Lewitt style minimalism, geometric abstraction, Lee Bontecou, architectural models with an Asian aesthetic (think Chinese Olympics buildings), but also traditional crafts of the region, and more. Very strong work.
Then we went to this wat
where a crazy monkey jumped on the car!
and another one jumped on a bike!
there was a whole posse of extremely cute and playful monkeys, but...
signs say to be careful because these monkeys are "not afraid anyone"
so we got out of there and went for a local specialty, which reminded me of an "Italian ice" (Thai style)
made with palm sugar (where her spoon is) and rice noodles, coconut & condensed milk, and other things if you want. The palm sugar comes from these very palm trees:
Then we visited the farm where he gets his bamboo from, along the Petchaburi river:
from these bamboo trees:
there's a rice paddy, when it's the season
and here they make the crafts that inspire and inform his work
(I was reminded of sticky-rice containers)
and grow bananas
and keep cows.
It's a beautiful place, with fresh air, just a little bit different from Bangkok...
Then we went to his brother's bar/restaurant for a beer
and some of his cool lights were hanging there
Yes, Thailand is full of beauty...
Check out Korakot's website: Korakot.net