Sunday, February 23, 2014

PechaKucha Talk BKK Feb 27, 2014: "Thoughts & Reflections on My Paintings from the Bangkok Night"

My favorite paintings are pretty much all by the various Expressionists, mostly from early 1900's Germany, often Berlin, especially the Berlin Night…


And my style of painting is similar to the various Expressionist artists such as Beckman, Emil Nolde, Otto Dix, George Grosz, Kirchner....

I like using distortion, sharply contrasting, often rather ugly images, disharmonious colors and a rough technique...


Many of my paintings are set in the Bangkok Night which I see as similar to the early 1900's Berlin Night....


And my work is considered to be part of what's called the Bangkok Noir movement...which consists of various authors, musicians, film-makers and artists who also use the Bangkok Night and its cast of characters as a backdrop for their work....


To me, the Bangkok Night is a vast, dark, edgy and noir universe…it has a powerful density and velocity, a kind of Dark Energy…… ..


It’s full of nihilistic motifs and themes…populated by many different kinds of people……
  
Who, in the universe of the Bangkok Night, are often revealed in ways they might not have “intended” or “wanted” to be revealed…in ways that might contradict the persona, or version of themselves, that they project or present in their “ordinary” or so-called “normal” lives……


Their “daytime” lives, when they’re suited up for work, constrained and subdued in all sorts of ways that are necessary for them to survive, replicate and succeed in terms of careers, families, financial security and so on.....


Like the Paris and Berlin Nights in the early 1900's, the “Bangkok Night” is a world without daylight or sunshine....it’s all about darkness, glowing neon, and various man-made and multi-colored lighting: florescent, blinking, reflected and otherwise……..


There are multiple and constantly over-lapping music tracks, sound FX…all different kinds of women, men and ladyboys……dressed up and costumed for the night, not for the day…….


Thousands of them, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands…..over the months and years, millions….of every size and shape, beautiful, not beautiful, young, not-so-young, from Thailand, Asia and every country on earth.....


 Density and velocity are key elements in the Bangkok Night......without density and velocity (kind of like one of those gigantic Black Holes in Deep Space), the Bangkok Night would lose much of its power, its brightness, its attraction, its ability to pull in millions of people….

Another element in the Bangkok Night are the extreme situations, often very personal, dramatic and acted out in strange ways in full public view……many of which I use as raw material for my paintings….


In which I try to convey not only the Bangkok Night's illusion of excitement and desire, but also the poignancy.....the ugliness……the momentary glimpses of wonder and beauty……

And the enormous loss of human potentials, damaged lives and tragedy..…the Bangkok Night is full of ambiguities, every kind of shading….nothing is ever quite clear…..it’s complex, multi-layered….

Sometimes, it has an ironic overlay…sometimes a touch of “noir” humor lurking somewhere underneath…in my paintings, the men, women, ladyboys and even the soi dogs are portrayed at their best, in-between and worst……
                                                 
Usually caught up in a Darwinist dog-eat-dog setting…desiring….being desired……wanting….being wanted…compulsively, sometimes mindlessly, devouring or being devoured…consuming or being consumed.…


It’s a world where only the strongest and luckiest avoid being sucked into the vortex….and manage to survive completely intact.......


Sometimes, even smiling....but what kind of smile....and for what reason.....

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