I had an interview with Decha Warashoon, a Thai national artist, about his life and career. The more I talk to him, the more I think that he
is someone who is living with happiness.
Professor Decha Warashoon is an art lecturer who was chosen to be a Thai national artist(Visual Arts) in 2007. He is a role-model art
teacher who develops artistic templates for his art students to learn and improve on the creations he has made. He first graduated from Pohchang Academy of Arts in Bangkok,
which is an educational institute that focused mainly on artistic skill. Many artists who studied there are famous and dedicate themselves for the benefit of Thai society. He
then continued his art education at Silpakorn University.
ProfessorDecha talked about persistent working as a key artistic factor. He said that this kind of work was made by instinct first and then
it can be improved completely. This takes vigorous training and practice to achieve this result. He frequently makes some replica of his works as samples and learning materials
for his students. During past years, from 1967 to now, he has had many art exhibitions and competitions. He was also awarded several Honorary doctoratedegrees related to arts
from eight universities in Thailand.
Janine Yasovant with Decha Warashoon
I am truly honored to present you some of Prof. Decha Warashoon's paintings that were exhibited in art exhibitions in
Thailand and abroad.Apart from painting, he is also interested increating in leather, as well as sculpting Buddha images. He is a
humble and selfless artist who prefers a simple lifestyle. Along with painting with oil, watercolor and acrylic, printmaking is one
of the other techniques he chose and felt proud of. It can be said that the preparation of printmaking is quite different from
realistic painting that requires high painting skill of the artist. Printmaking requires much planning ahead in the production
process. To search for suitable symbols for using artistic elements, it is significant to train the thought and imagination
correctly. Professor Decha demonstrates his work as an
accomplished artist and works as an excellent art educator.
Here is the interview.
JY: Please tell us about your experiences and impressions as an art lecturer.
DW: For students, the study in an artistic field requires self-training with diligence. They need to put in more time and pay
attention to their works. This way, they gain more experiences. Apart from the theories they learned from lectures and books,
practices are also important.A teacher is the one who provides suggestions and comments about good and bad things in
students'’ works so they can correct their mistakes. Realistic painting is the issue of correctness that the students have to
train hard to achieve good results. For creativity, students have to think a lot because artisticthinking training is the delivery of
experiences and expressions of art for each student only. One of the efficient ways to train creativity is to sketch lots of pictures.
As a lecturer in art subjects, I wholeheartedly motivate by delivering knowledge and experiences I am also a guide for my
students to focus on theirindividual styles of art. To do this, I have to be a role model as an art lecturer and an artist who
frequently creates his own works. I was appointed assistant professor in 1980 and then associate professor in 1983. In 2003
I was appointed professor by King Bhumibol. Later, I was awarded as a national outstanding lecturer in the department of
art and social sciences by the committee of the university's lecturer council of Thailand in 2004. I was very proud of these
events and impressed with my teaching experiences as a lecturer.
JY: You received so many awards and honorary doctorate degrees from several universities in Thailand. This greatly shows
the determination to educate art students which is so honorable to society.
DW: In my childhood, I loved many kinds of handicrafts and to help otherpeople. During my work as a lecturer, I often helped
some poor students with good conduct by giving them money as scholarships for bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees
because I thought that the spare money I have would be better spent for the future of good people. Until now, I also give some
advice and support to teachers and lecturers who wish to be promoted quickly in their teaching careers.
In my view, to be a good art teacher, one must be the role model of giver and artcreator for a lifetime. This is a stage of gradual life
development. For my artistic achievements from participating in art contests in Thailand, I received awards from the National Art
Exhibition many times including an excellent artist award for printmaking in 1982. In 2007, I was chosen to be one of the
national artists in visual arts. Likewise, for my success as an art lecturer, the position of professor was given to me by the King
and I also obtained the sash insignia "Knight Grand Cordon (Special Class)of the Most Exalted Order of the White Elephant".
Furthermore, I received eight honorary doctorate degrees from eight Thai universities including:
1. Chandrakasem Rajabhat University
2. Songkhla Rajabhat University
3. King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang
4. Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna
5. Rajamangala University of Technology Isan
6. Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin
(Pohchang Academy of Arts)
7. Burapha University
Merits of giving without conditions is the happiness of the giver and the recipient but fortune, rankings, and money are only
byproducts of unconditional giving.
JY: I have heard that you went to foreign countries many times for field trips and artistic collaborations. Please tell us about
your impression of the distinctions and advancements of art in foreigncountries.
DW: I went to many countries during field trips and personal trips. These are very precious experiences for me as a lecturer
and artist..In many countries, art is regarded as a necessity for living because it can help people to be happy. During art
exhibitions, people wait in long lines to attend these exhibitions and sometimes even students and visitors wait for the opening
hour of the museum. The love of art is greatly instilled in their minds so they have deeper comprehension for the beauty and
importance of art which is beneficial to intelligence and mental health. Art in the museums or exhibitions is exhibited in
different sections ranging from various archeological periods or ancient to contemporary style as well as themes such as realistic
and abstract. In the USA there are many modern art museums which people can visit almost every day free of charge.
JY: Tell us more about yourself, education, work, awards and personal hobbies.
DW: I am the youngest son of the three siblings. In my childhood, I was very observant of the surroundings and loved
handicrafts, art, music and sports. At first my father did not agree with me about art study because he believed that an artist
did not earn much and has no future. But in the end, he allowed me to study for three years at Pohchang Academy of Arts in 1962
-1964 (This school was renamed officially toPohchang Academy of Arts,Rajamangala University of Technology Rattanakosin in
2007). During my time there, I was interested in all kinds of art study in the school. I usually went outside the school to do
watercolorpainting. One day I met some students from Chang Sin College. One of them greeted me and talked to me casually.
His name was Nonthiwat Chantanapalin (He received a national artist title in 2006). After graduation from PohchangAcademy of
Arts, I met him at the faculty of paintings, sculptures and graphic arts (Silpakorn University) and we became very close
friends when we studied there. This was intensive study. I diligently created many art works in my free time and many of
those works won national art awards. This is the origin of my confidence to create abstract art.
I received a bachelor’s degree from Silpakorn University in 1969.
In 1971, I began teaching art at the faculty of architecture at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang. I taught there
for 40 years from 1971 to 2011. During 1976-79 I alsostudied for a master's degree at Silpakorn University. Most of the subjects I
was assigned to teach were basic art courses. In my free time, I also made some art works.During that time I made printmaking
works for national art exhibitions and won many national art awards. Then I was honored as anexcellent printmaking artist
and some of my printmaking works were submitted to various international printmaking exhibitions. I used those awards as
means to advance my career to assistant professor and associate professor respectively.
I am a person who does everything by myself, if I can, such as building a concrete house using bricks and cement or making a
wooden table. I also sew my own clothes and make leather bags. These things are my personal passions and hobbies, not
products to be sold. I try to adapt the concept of sufficiency economy, suggested by the King, for my living. It is really the
happiness of success to make something by yourself.
JY: What about collaboration with other people?
DW: After I was chosen to be one of the Thai national artists in 2007, I went to join a training program for students and art
teachers in a National Artist Workshop tour of four regions” of Thailand including, North, Northeast, Central and South, every
year, as one of the art educators.This activity encompasses visual arts, painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media,
photography, architecture, literature, music and performance. Each year,school children and university students participate in
this program, over 1,000 people, and around 60 people are art teachers. Moreover, every year I am invited to join art
workshops by various universities in Thailand that have art programs.
JY:Tell us about your impressions of King Bhumibol and the arts.
DW: It is widely known that the King was interested in every important and essential matter of people such as art, literature,
music and sports. For art, he was interested in many kinds of painting including realistic and abstract.. For me and other
artists, he is the role model of an artist who dedicates himself with effort.I am a fortunate person who follows the King's teaching to be a good, honest man.
The concept of sufficient living and unconditional giving makes every day completely delightful.