Scene4-Internal Magazine of Arts and Culture
Watana Kreetong | interview by Janine Yasovant | Scene4 Magazine | May 2017 |

Janine Yasovant
 คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย

Around two years ago, I had a chance to meet Watana Kreetong in the evening at Engka Café & Gallery, Doi Saket, Chiang Mai Province. At that time, the sun was going to set and I saw a man diligently drawing a picture of roses in the garden.


His face clearly showed the sign of delight in his work. This appointment was important for us. Watana Kreetong is an independent artist who travels to many places in Thailand and abroad to draw distinctive pictures with strong determination. 

His long journey in Thailand could be called "painting-rider" because he rides his motorcycles to many provinces in Thailand. His intention is to portray Thailand in his way of touch and feel. He began his long trip in early 2014 in the South and the West. In 2015, he shifted his route to the North and the East and then in 2016 he went to the Northeast. This year he went back to revisit the South in Betong District, Yala Province with his motorcycles. He also teaches young children in some schools there.

In 2016, his watercolor painting won the first prize at the watercolor exhibition in MexicoPensando en grande Large Size, International Watercolor Exhibition 2016. He also received an honorable mention that same year from another painting he submitted in this exhibition.

In April 2017, he won the second prize, Best Composition from the 2nd Tirana International Watercolor Biennaleat Tirana, Albania.  

Here is my interview with him:


JY: As you are part of a newer generation of artists who are successful in painting, what is your view regarding Thai society and art?

WK: The majority of peopleperceive art as image or the characteristic of image, but they usually forget about the story of thought. Images accompanying story of thought nowadays are sometimes seen just as exaggerated fictions and fairy tales. People who look at the paintings might be frightened of misinterpretation or misunderstanding a piece of artwork. Sometimes the stories made up by artists are too irrational so that people cannot go along with them. For this reason, art is so distant and uninteresting that people might think it is unnecessary. Then art is eventually branded as "nonsensical things" for daily life and equivalent to just paintings with a frames in a museum.              

Several artists see themselves to be successful with lots of money and wish to receive many awards and medals. That is another way to look at art as image or the characteristic of
image. Sometimes we might think it is too difficult to

What is art containing the story of thought?


In my view, life has been unreal since we were born. Religion, beliefs, way of life are the concept of thought.Thinking like this, art will be closer to us and sometimes almost undetachable from our life as art could be reflected by daily activities and environments. In the morning, we wake up in the bedroom with nice decorative items. That is the art of interior design. We prepare food with the art of cooking. There is no place without art whether we are in the city or in the countryside. In our own office there is no exception. Once we understand that art is everything around us, it makes no sense that we should go out to find more art anywhere else.


Artists have the direct responsibility to portray all those thingsfor everyone to understand. They should be easily approachable. Looking from another perspective, sometimes animage or a characteristic of image cannot be easilyunderstood. Understanding this, the fear of looking at the painting disappears and disagreement is no longer at fault. Maybe nonsensical things could become art.
Do you still think art is unreal? 


JY: What about your personal story? 

WK: I was born on 10 September 1967. My personal story is rather normal and uneventful. In 1992, I got a bachelor’s degree from the faculty of painting, sculpting and graphic arts, Silpakorn University. Two years before that I got a scholarship for an exchange program in Japan. It was The Friendship Program for the 21st Century fromJICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency).


I used to think that every artist should make at least one masterpiece which is outstanding enough to create a new trend of art. Thinking too hard, I was reluctant to make it. I decided to flee to work in a different career using labor and abilities to determine the rates of payment since I was afraid of poverty.


Then I decided to start my life anew. Like boxing, I dizzily walked out from the corner and raised my guard like a boxer. I realized I didn’t have to stay in the boxing ring any longer and I can work without the salary. I could draw anything I want with simple techniques continuously. As the nature is always changing,I don’t have to think about it. I just record my stories through paintings and then the paintings will reveal my stories to others.   


JY: Let’s talk about your exhibitions during the past recent years.   


WK: From 2014 onwards, I had some international watercolor art exhibitions in Thailand and abroad.

- WWET World Watermedia Exposition Thailand
- Thailand watercolor to globalThailand

2015 - 2016
- VIZart International Watercolor Biennale 2015, Albania 2016
- Pensando en grande, Large Size, International Watercolor Exhibition 2016, Mexico
- 1st Fabriano IN Acquarello Convention, Italy
- The International Watercolor Society International Watercolor Triennial – Varna 2016, Bulgaria
-  The International Watercolor Society,The 1st IWS International Watercolor Biennale In Vancouver  2016, Canada
- Hua Hin BluPort International Watercolor Art Biennale 2016,Thailand
- The International Watercolor Society, Love United. The 1st International Watercolor Biennale Hongkong
- The International Watercolor Festival cum Plein Air workshop 3-10 November 2016, Nepal
- Master of Watercolor –Elite 2015-2016 Tirana, Albania

- The 2nd Tirana International Watercolor Biennale. April 2017,Tirana, Albania
- 2nd Fabriano IN Acquarello Convention, Italy

From my point of view, although receiving awards and attention is good, it cannot make me lose my way since I don’t want to compete with anyone. I feel happy that many people agree with the way I work on my paintings and they ask for my method so they can use it to improve their own works.         


JY: In general, what do you think about art development in Thailand?

WK: If art is placed where people cannot reach, it is surely difficult to develop. Likewise, the artists who lose their focus and always rely on help from the others have no chance to develop themselves.

Regarding this question, is it reasonable for the government to create art communities by just constructing huge art museums and borrowing some world-class masterpieces from the foreign artists? Security measures like in sci-fi movies will be broadcast and expensive tickets will be sold. Many foreign artists will receive grants to set up international art workshops. Practically, it is simple for the government to organize such grand events but how can the government really ensure that more people will come to see the wonderful artworks?


In my personal view, there are many things to do first before art in Thailand can be properly developed, such as law, education and economy. The most important thing to understand is that the way of life is art which could be developed further. Extravagant investment in art is totally unnecessary. Lastly, I wish to tell everyone including artists to have focus on what they doing and also to be virtuous in their thoughts, speeches and actions.



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Click Here for this article in Thai 
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.

©2017 Janine Yasovant
©2017 Publication Scene4 Magazine




May 2017

Volume 17 Issue 12

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