Widsanupong Noonan has received many awards from competitions. He also has had solo exhibitions and joint exhibitions with his friends from 2007 to 2020. He is most happy sculpting Buddha images and a realistic statue of the Royal family of Thailand. These works are very popular and sell out quickly.
He started painting while at the university. He studied at the faculty of Architecture, Department of Fine Arts, King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, Bangkok, Thailand where he received the best student award for two years, in 2005 and 2006. He also achieved an MFA in the Program of Visual Arts, Department of Painting, Faculty of Painting, Sculptures and Graphic arts, Silpakorn University
Most of his works are very large. They are realistic paintings mixed with sculpting using oil color on fiberglass.
I asked him, "Is there anyone who works in the same way as you?"
"As far as I know, this is my original idea" he replied. "It is coincidental that the surface of fiberglass is suitable, so I can draw and sculpt anything on it."
Few artists can express feelings in the same way as he does. Each piece is a personal creation. Viewers clearly understand his work. But there are hidden mysteries. There are two parts to each artwork. For example, the first part is the painting of a woman whose facial expression can be sad or lonely. The second part is sculpting from his imagination, which can be touched. It depends on the concept of what can be seen with the eyes, or what is tactile.
Each of my works takes a long time to make because of resin mold sculpting and painting. It is a direct expression of feelings. As I said before, everything is an illusion and this is what I want to express. The size of every painting is different but all of them have their completeness. It is also two-way communication between spectators and me to see what they think after looking at my works. In my view, different thinking is neither right nor wrong.
I had an opportunity to interview with Widsanupong Noonan again after many years. He says that he expresses his dreams of sculpting partly while painting.
JY. As an artist who gets attention and has success making art, both drawing and sculpture, please tell us about happiness in your work.
WN. Happiness at work. It is probably the first thing that inspires artists. And what has come out is the last thing I have gained from that effort. Happiness should be present in every event. It should be something to reply to instead of only at work time. Wishes surpass the intended the way I think about my work which makes it quite varied.
JY. Please share your personal history. What are the results of the work?
WN. I have always been a freelance artist, I am married and now have three children, the first two are daughters, and the youngest, now two years old, a boy. My children were born finding me working in art, but I didn't want them to lose their childhood because they were interested in what I did. People ask me if our kids make me so tired? If you know me you will see that raising children is not a burden. We love to see them grow up, see their development each day. The answer is: it is happiness.
Here is a story, as an example, that I have been burdened with. One day, I went to a Pad Thai shop. I saw the youngsters coming to serve, very young, all half-Thai and Indonesian, The owner of the shop told me they came from a poor family and their father had just passed away. They came to work for food. Their mother was suffering from stress, a very uncomfortable life. I knew that they would not be able to continue their education because of lack of money. Therefore I tried to help to become a basis to make the children happy again. I pursued improving the quality of their lives. It helped get them through to this day. I think this is one of the things that I had tried to give back to society.
I missed myself wanting to study. I had planned my life throughout my studies, it must be as serious and dedicated as art. To know the truth, study what you see, the desire to work it out completely, to overcome the framework of problematic knowledge before every work. I want people interested and to see me in the effort. And I have the courage to create a pattern, for example, a statue of the King's family. At that time, no one dared to work like this, perhaps because of fear of making mistakes. But I think another way. I wanted to try what I intended.
The idea of creating this work came when I realized that I was going to be a father. At that time I saw a picture where all of the royal family walked hand in hand. And it reminded me of fatherhood. The fatherhood of the land came up revealing two layers overlapping like this. I wanted to create this.
I had created works about His Majesty King Rama IX before, but only a few people know them. There is one small sculpture called 'untitled' made from Japanese clay. It was a picture when he was young, standing in a row of three people: His Majesty King Rama VIII, His Majesty King Rama IX, and their sister. Luckily Thanphuying Putrie Viravaidya came to see it. So I had the opportunity to be presented to the King.
For the feeling that I received at that time, I know that King Rama IX saw this work and was pleased. I got a letter of appreciation from the Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary which was so good for me.
JY. Please share your perspective on art development in Thai society
WN. I would say: Success will be our first chance to achieve life in a Buddhist way. Born to be human.
This is my opinion of my fellow artists. Who would like to hear opinions from an artist like me? We must try to escape from ego as a vaunted self, hearing from an open-minded art collector would be a very nice thing to work on. Buddhadasa Bhikkhu, he once said: The artist who will also travel with religion could do an unlimited creation of work.
Behind my drawings and that part of the painting and mix of fiberglass. It is a real figure, real life. And part of the so-called illusion. I used to do one thing I wanted to find myself in a mixed-media method. The work was intended, the audience was satisfied. But when it is found that working like this will be harmful to health. I also stopped doing it when the highly respected monk Pramaha Vuttichai Wachiramatee warned me to save my life, to stop creating with fiberglass mold and fire.
My recent painting, an image of King Rama IX. From his back, there is a sweat mark on the shirt... I would like to convey a story. The viewer will know who this man is, how hard he works.
Once we were asked by a teacher if art has boundaries. Some said yes, and others said no, boundaries. I began to see conflicting diversity. I answered indiscriminately. We must look at the content and the way of thinking. I always felt that way. So how can we present it, to make art tangible?
Example of "a bike for dad" work that I did ten years ago. It is a sculpture from a photograph. His Majesty when he was young. I brought the feeling of being seen and having happiness in the setting. Trying to creatively express with personal taste. The context of work in Thai society at that time was still not open to works about the Royal Family.
Later, seeing the importance of the family institution, the six people were formed. They held hands together. I found that everyone had seen my sculpture and smiled.
My life started easily. In every corner of the house, the house is full of pictures of the King and the Grandmother. As far as I can remember I have spent a lot of time considering and thinking about the image of His Majesty. Similar to my life, I found the way. Even new and old calendars will tell you the same date. But the days, months, and years from now will be more valuable to me.
Life with a prototype. Makes me happier every time I come close to dreaming. The more days that passed, the many reasons for my love of art began to fade away. Even though the origin is fading, the way to go is clear. I am an ordinary person who would likes to see you once in my life. I know… If I spend a long time dreaming, the dream becomes difficult to come true. But once a small opportunity arrived, in the form of a contest: "National Art" award recipients will receive a medal from the King. It only makes me devoted to art. I intended to study art when entering university
Life is a joke that I'm obsessed with at this stage. The size that I enter and the opportunity to receive awards. Only knew that in the past several years. It is a reward from his representative And that day, the day that I received the award, it seems that I could only come halfway. Or I came to a dream too late. I don't even dare to use the prize money. Even though money is still important to me today, it's not as important as the "people on the banknote."
But my life must go on with love. Because I love art. And I love Him. The sky has sent me a long way. I will never wonder if I got a meaningful life from anyone. And I will continue to live my life to meet someone someday. One of the proudest of my works was the Head sculpture of Princess Siriwanwaree, a daughter of King Rama X. A stunning piece of art and a precious one of her beauty.
The form of working as a molding, such as molding Buddha statues, has long been recognized as the most beautiful sculpture in the world. Over a thousand years, what we see is creativity. The basic principle that I work on: I didn't sculpt a Buddha image. But I sculpt a dharma concept that can be tangible. Here, abstraction is a requirement.
I've been to India. The story and the concept are measured by beauty. But I want to go back and stick to the dharma, People who see the work will get more than the first. The veiled Buddha image will also become symbolized. Keep people interested and keep thinking I think that learning in work will create something beautiful, happy, comfortable and what collectors want.
Whether I draw Buddha sculpts or sculpt nudes, before working, I meditate first to achieve my intended success, the source of happiness and confidence.