Sunday, March 31, 2013
"English Gentleman in the Bangkok Night" - Chris ColesA civilised man of the world, urbane, worldly, with a supple and energetic mind....yet in the Bangkok Night, a different set of synapses are lit up, primitive instincts are in play......
Saturday, March 30, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Ivy League Guy in the Phnom Penh Night
Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Gay Farang in the Bangkok Night
"Gay Farang in the Bangkok Night" - Chris ColesHe's lived in Bangkok for five years, in a hi-rise condo just off Langsuan, a director in one of the world's leading ad agencies....talented, intelligent, ambitious.....and an active player in the Bangkok Night.....
Hi-So Thai Guy in the Bangkok Night
"Hi-So Thai Guy in the Bangkok Night" - Chris ColesBorn into wealth, privilege and a powerful network of connections and position, over five hundred thousand dollars invested in his education grade 1 thru Grad School in a country where the average income is three thousand dollars per year, married to an even more connected female, he glides through the Bangkok Night with grace, style, impunity and entitlement..........
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
PAD/Yellow Thai Guy in the Bangkok Night
"PAD/Yellow Thai Guy in the Bangkok Night" - Chris ColesSometimes, the PAD/Yellow royalist guys pretend they are above, floating in a superior form of oxygen, detached and disconnected from the material earth.....but the owners and managers of the gigantic massage palaces in Ratchada and the 5 star Executive Clubs in Upper Sukhumvit know better...........
French Guy in the Bangkok Night
"French Guy in the Bangkok Night" - Chris ColesSome people think the Bangkok Night is populated only by seedy Western Expats well-past their expiration dates, but in actual fact, there are all types, ages, sizes, income brackets, religions, ethnicities, hi-level, low-level, sane, crazy, mean and even kind.......it's a night-time universe that reflects the daytime realities, open to all, excluding none.........
Monday, March 25, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Flamingo Hotel
"Phnom Penh Noir - Flamingo Hotel" - Chris ColesIt's been there awhile....since Phnom Penh started its rise from the ashes of Year Zero....filled with Expats from all over SE Asia and the world.....tuk tuk and motorcycle taxi guys in constant attendance.....
Shark Bar Soi Dog
"Shark Bar Soi Dog" - Chris ColesHe's there every night, except when he's hanging out at Suzie Wong Bar, looking half-dead half-asleep, eating snacks from the girls, scratched behind the ears and endlessly coddled......even the customers have to step around him to go in and out rather than the doormen making him get up and move..........
Friday, March 22, 2013
Kevin Cummings at PeopleThingsLiterature Reviews "Navigating the Bangkok Noir'
I remember discovering the art of Chris Coles over 10 years ago. My first thought was: this guy seems interesting. Nobody is doing what he is doing. Dozens had written about the Bangkok Night before and dozens have written about it since, but in the 21st Century, Chris Coles has been the indisputable leader in painting the darkness and the neon of Bangkok’s notorious night paths.
But he does more than paint. He provides the quintessential social commentary needed with every colored frame. Chris Coles is to Bangkok Noir as Gary Trudeau was to Washington D.C. politics. The efficiency of what he gets across with the written word is classic story telling, usually with conflict involved, not often with catharsis.
Like many great artists, Chris Coles is misunderstood at times. There are some that see him as a proponent or cheerleader for the pay for play sex industry in Thailand. Not true. Chris has merely been making an extensive documentary in his art for over a decade.
The word prolific is overused but it is not overstated in his case. In NAVIGATING THE BANGKOK NOIR the very best of Chris Coles over 1,000 paintings have been selected. There are dozens of Chris Coles expressionist paintings to be found here, along with his equally colorful descriptive narrative. Since the book has been published, Chris continues to paint religiously about a subject that never leaves him lacking for inspiration.
Christopher G. Moore writes an excellent Forward to the book explaining the world of noir that Chris Coles captures so well.
And what is a noir artist? To paraphrase noir writer, Paul D. Brazill, it is one that paints the world with light and pitch black shadows.
I have no idea which authors will be remembered best in the 22nd Century for having written about the Bangkok night in the early 21st Century, if any at all. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the legacy of Chris Coles, the art of Chris Coles and the words of Chris Coles will linger well into the 22nd Century and beyond. His art, his documentary will be a reminder of a dark time. A time that once was and never will be, exactly, that way, again.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Neon Karaoke
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Freelancer Girl at Heart of Darkness Disco
"Freelancer Girl at Heart of Darkness Disco" - Chris ColesHeart of Darkness Disco, Street 51 in the hot Phnom Penh night...male and female Western backpackers in their 20's, unwashed, unshaven and mostly stoned on cheap weed, dancing their hearts out, some NGO-types in Cambodia to "do good", a motley collection of lo-end Sexpats and Expats with jobs, from low-pay, low-status teaching English to managers for Western multi-nationals......outside the entrance door, tough Khmer security guys, off-duty police and army, patting everyone down for drugs, guns and knives.....inside Khmer Freelancer girls moving slowly through the crowd, looking for customers, like colorful fish hunting for food around a coral reef.........
Phnom Penh Noir - Khmer Girl
"Phnom Penh Noir: Khmer Girl" - Chris Coles
Her mother and father survived the ten year rampage and near total brutality of the Khmer Rouge....they ended up with no bank account, no money, no assets, no nothing......at Absolute Zero....only the clothing on their backs and the will to survive...she, the daughter, is working the Phnom Penh Night, trying to claw her way up from her 6th grade rural education and Cambodia's enduring, almost insurmountable social oppression, sending her mother and father 30 dollars a month which is what allows them enough to live in their old age.....
Friday, March 15, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Expat at Walkabout Bar
Thursday, March 14, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Freelancer Girl
"Freelancer Girl" - Chris ColesShe's always on the move....Walkabout, the Beer Garden, Pontoon, Sharkey Bar, Martini, Heart of Darkness disco....hoping for another customer, another score.....
Phnom Penh Noir - Street Kid
Phnom Penh Noir - Beer Garden Girl Street 51
"Beer Garden Girl Street 51" - ChrisColesThe Street 51 Beer Garden attracts hundreds of people every night, high to low to homeless street kids.....Expats, Khmers, backpackers, NGO-guys....hookers, ladyboys, staff and food vendors...no rules, no boundries, Premier League on plasma tv's, multiple music tracks, pool tables....it's funky and fun......but beneath the surface, there's a river of noir.........
UK Media Mogul in the Bangkok Night
"UK Media Mogul in the Bangkok Night" - Chris ColesIntense, focused, driven by ambition, a self-made millionaire from humble beginnings, he's become a multi-millionaire in the UK media business.....married to the same woman for 40 years, a couple of high-performing kids...at an international media conference in Bangkok, an Alpha Male ready for some night-time action......
Monday, March 11, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Khmer Girl at Pontoon Club
"Phnom Penh Noir - Khmer Girl at Pontoon Club" - Chris ColesPontoon Club's at the apex of Expat nitelife in Phnom Penh....both male and female...NGO's, company employees, entrepreneurs....a few backpackers and short-time tourists in the mix....along with dozens of Khmer girls, some in shorts with flipflops, some dressed up in high heels, most of them working.....
Shark Bar Soi Cowboy
Phnom Penh Noir - Wired Khmer Girl Street 51
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Loy Krathong at Pegasus Private Member Club
"Loy Krathong at Pegasus Private Member Club" - Chris COlesPegasus Private Member Club is at the apex of the Bangkok Night, a pleasure dome for wealthy males from Thailand, Asia, the Middle-East and Europe, stocked with beautiful females from every corner of Thailand, costumed in all sort of fantasy and finery for the the visiting males to feast on.......
Saturday, March 09, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Sexpat at Walkabout Bar
American Politician in the Bangkok Night
Friday, March 08, 2013
Sexy Girls Bar
"Sexy Girls Bar"- Chris Coles
The Bangkok Night has many signs, bright, colorful and sometimes blinking.......without the millions of signs, the ambiance and excitement would no longer exist.....but who designs them, makes them and what do they signify.........
Thursday, March 07, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Two Girls at Walkabout Bar
Hi-So Thai Guy in the Bangkok Night
"Hi-So Thai Guy in the Bangkok Night" - Chris ColesBorn into privilege, possessing a full helping of entitlement and impunity, plenty of available funds and a condescending attitude towards his fellow citizens born with darker skin, the Hi-So Thai guy floats effortlessly through the Bangkok Night....5 star "Private Member Clubs" stocked with the beautiful young girls, glossy discos, rooftop bars where a drink costs an average day's wages, gourmet nouvelle cuisine, a hi-end BMW coup, he's on top of the world............
Loy Krathong at Baccara Bar Soi Cowboy
"Loy Krathong at Baccara Bar Soi Cowboy" - Chris Coles
It's the evening of the Loy Krathong holiday in Thailand and some of the girls at Baccara Bar on Soi Cowboy are dressed in the traditional costumes of Thailand's imagined past.....
Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Walkabout Bar
"Phnom Penh Noir - Walkabout Bar"- Chris ColesOpen 365, 24/7, Walkabout Bar on Street 51 is dark and dingy, without decoration or any thought given to the lighting, cement counters, stone floor.....sometmes it's full sometimes empty, Khmer girls and Expats.....a beacon in the Phnom Penh night........
Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Two Expats at Walkabout Bar
Monday, March 04, 2013
Phnom Penh Noir - Walkabout Bar
"Phnom Penh Noir - Walkabout Bar" - Chris Coles
On Street 51, aka Avenue Pasteur, Walkabout Bar is Expat Central....food served 24/7....still going at 4AM every night of the year...kind of dark....the Khmer girls waiting and waiting, sometimes checking their mobile phones, chatting or playing pool, sometimes giving up and wandering off to some other spot where there might be more game.....
Australian Guy at Walkabout Bar Phnom Penh
"Australian Guy at Walkabout Bar Phnom Penh"- Chris ColesWalkabout Bar is one of the "landmarks" of the Phnom Penh Night.....packed with burly Expats, some pretty old, others almost elderly. Cement counters, a floor that's never washed, open 365, 24/7...Angkor Draft for $1.25...sports on tv....a nice selection of newspapers....and a constantly changing cast of Khmer girls....
Sunday, March 03, 2013
French Guy at Candy Bar Phnom Penh
"French Guy at Candy Bar"- Chris ColesHe's on holiday in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam for one month........consuming a nostalgic longing for French "Indochine"....an idea not based on the brutal French colonial occupation so much as a present-day French Orientalist projection of cute smiling dark-skinned natives and the "Great Civilization" of France being fused together in the fertile tropical heat......