Monday, December 14, 2009

Some photos from "Navigating the Bangkok Noir" Chris Coles Art Show and Christopher G. Moore Book signing Friday evening, Dec 11th, at Liam's Gallery in Pattaya, Thailand. The show will continue thru December 31st.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

From BangkokEyes:"Through the Neon & Black-Light Looking-Glass with Chris Coles"

Bangkok's nightworld expands undiminishingly, and has done so in three dimensions for several decades - there is no end in sight. It has become a fathomless, garish world, the dynamics of which are no longer capable of being comprehended by a single person, or organization or government entity. More complex than any single living organism, the Bangkok Night Scene has, like the fictional SkyNet in the Terminator series, begun to function independently, both inside, and outside the boundaries of society's manmade laws, ordinances and norms.

Bangkok's Nightworld complexities can be seen, in parts, by anyone venturing into the streets after dark, however, a holistic comprehension shall remain beyond the pale. The Night Scene 'whole' is now made up of too many 'parts' - many of these parts coming into contact with the other parts, and many not. The immensity and complexity of Bangkok's Nightworld is such that no two individuals perceive the Bangkok Nightlife Scene in the same way. It is more likely than not that individuals living in, or coming to Bangkok will not be exposed to all, or even some, of the same things - and will almost certainly carry away with them entirely different views of Bangkok's Night Scene - it has become that big - that multi-faceted.

While self-annointed "Old-Bangkok-Hands" will tend to be skeptical of this view, they are in fact, the first to be lulled into a simplistic view of 'The Scene'. To illustrate : - the Khao Sarn Road crowd, with their Lonely Planets in hand, often do not see any other 'Bangkok Nightlife'. There are those who prefer the laid-back bar beer scene, with a regimen of darts and pool, and there are those who are exclusively "pub people". The drug dealers and pushers live in their own stratum of the Nightscene, as do the street hookers, who rarely or never mix with other Nightlife strata. The gays see only their gay world within the Nightlife Scene, never needing to leave Soi Twilight, Soi Katoey and the like. The mainstream "Bangkok Bar Scene" boys see their own "Bangkok", as do Bangkok's police, as do the night street vendors and sidewalk barkeeps. Then there are the "party" crowds who, by design, keep to themselves and their soft drugs and orgies - their 'Bangkok Nights' being separate and apart from the others. There are also those who prefer the specialty massage parlors over the bars, and spend virtually all their (night) time at these venues.

And there are others who only see, physically, a small part of Bangkok's Nightlife; one soi, or perhaps two or three sois in a given neighborhood (such as Washington Square, or Rachada, or RCA, or Suthisarn, or Jatujak). And there are those from Germany who see and know one 'Nighttime Bangkok', while those from Nigeria see and know another -almost exclusively. While it serves no purpose to ennumerate each and every aspect of Bangkok's Night Scene, it should also be noted that there are some individuals who 'partake' of more than one of the above. However it becomes abundantly apparent that it is physically impossible to partake of the entire "Scene" in all its forms and in all it's localities.

And while there is no finite, all encompassing definition of this potentially dangerous, high-energy morass of boozers, soft and hard drug addicts and traffickers, whoremongers and whores, gays and straights, pedophiles and child prostitutes, scammers and hustlers and pickpockets, drug-you-and-rob-you katoeys, liars, human traffickers, bent and honest cops, dishonest and honest taxi drivers (and etc), Bangkok's Nightlife denizens do exist, do adapt, and do develop an overall sense of how to, and how not to, navigate through much of our midnight jungle. It is, rather, this navigational sense -this ability to remain functional in a darker world where cause-and-effect is often not obvious- that defines the "Bangkok noir".

One such denizen of Bangkok's 'electric nights' is an expatriate American artist by the name of Chris Coles, whose paintings you are now viewing. His total immersion in Bangkok's Nightlife Scene preceded his current series of 'noir' paintings - his absorbtion of that around him was, and is, complete to the extent that he "sees" each of his subjects as though illuminated in neon and black-light. Originally, these paintings were thought to be "weird", however, because his unique surrealism keeps this one hook in reality (abundantly apparent to Bangkok's like-minded denizens), the interest in this one-of-a-kind artist and his works continues to grow. A recent showing of his works at Liam's Gallery in Pattaya was more than modestly successful - one local expat now owns two of Coles' works, and others are considering it prudent to add one to their personal collections. But regardless of who owns, or doesn't own whatever, Chris Coles' Nightscene works are the real deal - a part and parcel of Bangkok's neon circus.

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