February 2015

Komson Pumpanya - Arts of Thailand | Janine Yasovant | Scene4 Magazine February 2015

Janine Yasovant
 คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย

In this Month Of Love, I would like to reveal some points of view from an interesting young artist, Komsan Pumpanya. He lives in Chiang Mai and works for a small organization to express his freedom in artistic creations. Let me give you a bit of background. There are numberous public financial supporters who are art lovers, such as the Nacha Coffee Company. This company won a prize “Best in Asia” for coffee quality at the annual meeting of the international coffee association in Long Beach, California in 2007. Mr. Preecha and Mrs. Woranan Pongcharoenkul, the owners of Nacha coffee, formed a non-government organization in Chiang Mai last year. They hosted “The Nacha Artist Art International Symposium” in Chiang Mai and contemporary art workshops at the Nacha coffee fields on Doi Thepsadej Mountain. They also hosted the Nacha Residence and held “The first art exhibition” for international artists in Asia, America and Europe to come and discuss supporting traditional art in the area around the Mekong River. With cooperation between Thai and foreign artists, several Thai artists take field trips and do workshops overseas. It was at Nacha Residence that I first met Komsan Pumpanya. At that time he created images of people using coffee beans. We talked about his nude painting exhibition a long time ago at Dharadhevi Hotel, Chiang Mai. Back then I only saw paintings but did not know who the painter was. This time I invited him for an interview.




JY: Please tell us about your experience as an artist in Chiang Mai as well as your role as a curator of the gallery and workshops with Thai and foreign artists.


KP: In my view, Chiang Mai city is so rich with culture and traditions, and many established educational institutes. Some colleges and universities specialize in art. This is the reason why I choose to study art in Chiang Mai. This city is so livable that the exchange of art knowledge happens regularly. Art exhibitions and workshops can be seen throughout the year. This is really beneficial to everyone including artists, art students and even myself.


This inspired me and my friends in Chiang Mai to create a small organization of arts. We are sponsored financially by the Nacha Coffee Company which is so generous and very fond of art. Our organization hosts various activities such as art exhibitions, charitable activities for the arts and art workshops with Thai and international artists. Particularly, each workshop strengthens the bonds of friendship among artists to make better connections in Thailand and abroad. Occasionally, I participate in art workshops in many countries,such as Japan and India. This broadens my vision greatly and I learn some new things every time.


In recent years I was very proud of myself that I did so many wonderful things. One of them was the art workshop in Myanmar. We used art to help in the treatment of children who were autistic and we taught them about using art as a part of living. I worked with the Thai embassy in Myanmar and Chiang Mai University. It was led by associate Professor Padungsak Kochamrong. There we held art workshops two times in the same year. This has been an ongoing project that will happen again in the coming years.


JY: About nude painting, what satisfies you about this genre?




KP: Nude painting is a form that I've been interested in since I was an art student. I applied many artistic techniques to achieve interesting presentations. For nude painting, I mainly use my own viewpoint or emphasize some aspects of the female body. It is so challenging for me that if the female model changes her posture even a little bit, the composition and mood of the painting will also change entirely. Sometimes I try to compare flowers and women. I find that women have different kinds of beauty in the same way as the shapes, smells and colors of flowers.




JY: What is your perception about the mixed- media art you did before?


KP: From my experience during field trips in many nations and studying arts from around the world, I believe that art in Thailand is still developing continuously and some art works are even on par with Western art. Once, I and my friends in Chiang Mai used coffee beans in our works and held exhibitions at the Nacha Artist Residence. We received a great deal of attention from the press and people. That was the time I used coffee beans in my nude paintings. The main concept was to observe social change through the image of a female body. We saw awkward and unnatural postures. This concept went so well with the coffee beans' color which was so gloomy and heavy.




JY: Please tell us about your personal story, awards you received and works you are proud of.




KP: I was born in Phrae Province. As I can remember, when I was young I was interested and loved to create works of art. I started learning art seriously when I enrolled at Phrae vocational college and went on to get a diploma. Later, I went to Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna, Payap campus in Chiang Mai to get a Bachelor’s degree. All my life I never wanted to do any kind of job that was irrelevant to art. I am so proud every time I paint the image of King Bhumibol of Thailand. This is also a blessing for my life.


Lastly, I want to tell everyone that art is a miraculous medicine for mankind. If you observe properly, you will see that art plays an important role in everything around us. Art is a crucial thing that should not be overlooked in the quest for happiness for people. 



Food for Love


If you have a chance to visit Chiang Mai during the month of love, the food I would like to recommend is called “Khao Soi”. It is northern Thai food mixed with Burmese food. This food is popular and easy to find in Chiang Mai from the small street vendors to the expensive restaurants in hotels or department stores. Eating Khao Soi in the afternoon is preferable but you can eat it any time you like. The cooking steps are quite simple.




First of all, flat yellow egg noodles (local Burmese noodles) can be prepared beforehand or bought from supermarket. Yellow noodles we make ourselves are called “Sen Sod” or fresh egg noodles made of wheat flour and eggs which should be used for a single day only. To make egg noodles, we mix wheat flour and eggs with some water and knead for at least 20 minutes with hands and a wooden roller until the dough is formed properly. Then we cut the dough into several pieces with knife or other equipment to make some noodles. Most of the flat egg noodles will be boiled but some will be fried in a pan with cooking oil to make crispy noodles as Khao Soi’s topping.


Second, Khao Soi soup is from coconut milk and herbal ingredients such as chili, garlic, pepper, ginger, shallot, parsley seeds, and shrimp paste with  a little bit salt. Pound them all until they are mixed well. This is the basic and original recipe for Lanna curry. Later on, we mix Indian curry and Lanna curry paste, 1to 3 along with spices such as cumin and masala to improve the flavor. (Indian curry paste can be bought in supermarket.) Turmeric is used to give yellow color to the soup. To make Khao Soi soup, mix all these ingredients with undiluted coconut milk in the pot first until it smells good and then add  chicken, or meat in the same pot. Heat all ingredients around 20 minutes.


Season the food with fish sauce or soy sauce and brown sugar as well as stir all ingredients in the pot until they are all cooked properly.


Finally, pour Khao Soi soup into a bowl of flat egg noodles. We can use crispy noodles and parsley as topping. In addition, slices of lemon, fermented cabbage and sliced shallot are a side dish to be eaten together with Khao Soi quite well.


In northern Thai if someone wants an extra hot and spicy flavor cup, the chili paste is made from roast dried chili blended with some cooking oil.


For people who love to walk along the Nimmanhemin Road during the day or night, If you don’t drink or you have children with you I recommend you to visit Fruiturday near Nimmanhemin Soi 15 for a healthy refreshment. There you can order some beverages made of seasonal fruits, smoothies and fruit ice cream as well as mango and sticky rice. The shop opens from 10 AM – 11.00 PM every day.   



Happy Valentine’s Day.


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คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย
Scene4 Magazine: Janine Yasovant

Janine Yasovant is a writer in Chiang Mai, Thailand and a Senior Writer for Scene4.
For more of her commentary and articles, Check the Archives:

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©2015 Janine Yasovant
©2015 Publication Scene4 Magazine




February 2015


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