Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture
CHATCHAWAN RODKLONGTAN | Janine Yasovant | Scene4 Magazine - March 2019

Chatchawan Rodklongtan
A New Generation of Artist

Janine Yasovant
 คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย

Chatchawan Rodklongtan graduated from Rajamangala Institue of Technology in 1992 and 1994 (Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree). He is a new generation of artist who is well-received by many. His inspiration mostly came from Buddha’s stories and Buddhism. His depictions of Mara (Devil) are all female. Many of his paintings use faces from famous Thai models and actresses. His works are mainly nude paintings with oil or acrylic on canvas and use mixed media to add another dimension to existing paintings.


In 2007, Chatchawan received an excellence award from The Beppu Asia Biannale Contemporary Art 2007 at BeppuArt Museum in Japan. He has been exhibiting his works for 24 years as a member of the Mekong River Artists.

During my interview with Chatchawan in February 2019, he was a representative of ​ Dg​ Arts​ &​ Crafts to do workshop at Rijks​ Museum, Netherlands.


His next exhibition “The Light for life ” is scheduled in April at Thai General Consulate in Los Angeles,USA. 

Here is the interview

JY: Please tell us about the inspiration that brought you the stories about women in Buddhism and Thai literature and portrayed them in beautiful, meaningful paintings .


CR: I was born and grew up in a family of strongly faithful Buddhists so I usually followed my parents to many temples. I was also interested in the stories in mural paintings and patterns of stucco art but as a child I didn’t know much about meaning of Thai traditional arts. This was the origin of how I discovered myself to be a person who really likes to paint. From then on, I practiced my drawing skill with happiness every day even during school hours.

I enrolled to study in a diploma course in arts at a vocational school, at that time I had to find my own method of making arts and topics for my art thesis. That reminded me of my impression about faith in Buddhism and from this point onwards most of my works always connect with Buddhist philosophy and the core principles of living. I studied some stories about faith and meanings from things I was interested in. Those were local traditions portrayed in mural paintings, ancient tomes and scrolls.                             


Selections of stories in my paintings are mostly symbolic media that not many people are interested in. Content from a chapter of the Buddha’s biography about his enlightenment just before the confrontation with the Mara (Devil) is something most Buddhist have already seen and acknowledged but what I saw was the impact of the mind as well as comparison of the past, present and future. In fact, original mural paintings are my inspiration for me to see and understand the truth of myself. An image of three devil’s daughters was just a small component of content in Buddha’s biography because the it is mainly about the Buddha’s virtues to suppress all devils. This is what I saw and was fascinated to learn more by reading Buddha’s biography and practicing his teachings by myself.                             


Then I realized that the symbols of three devil’s daughters in the Buddha’s biography are Nang Tunha (Desire), Nang Rakha (Lust) and Nang Orati (Jealousy). They are not just in the tales but they exist in abstract form all the time from the past, present and to the future. Many of us cannot see and have no interest to look into our own shortcomings but I can see them. This is the reason why I portray these abstract symbols into three beautiful women as the representative of desire, lust and jealousy respectively.

The first woman Nang Tunha is the epitome of endless desire to possess and to become something. The second woman Nang Rakha is the embodiment of fanaticism for all kinds of beauty and worldly pleasures. The last woman Nang Orati is the quintessence of anger and jealousy that cannot tolerate someone better. All of these faults are within many of us human. All sufferings and attachments that we take form others or others take from us are root causes of all problems in throughout the world and the universe. Our minds are manipulated by these three women. I brought those stories to mix with my own imagination of internal fighting. Actually, we are fighting ourselves and this fight will only end if we can put down those materialistic attachments.                      

JY: I like the way you use color and the technique to create the clear atmosphere in the painting. Many of women in paintings are mixed race between Asian and European people. Could you explain more about concepts, equipment and techniques you used in Three devil’s daughters and Nareephol (Fruit maiden).


RC: Before talking about techniques I employed, let me tell you about my initial inspirations in four steps. First of all, I brought some of my inspirations to interpret and converted them into symbols that I can communicate with general audiences. Secondly, two-dimension paintings of Thai cultures and traditions could still retain the uniqueness of nationalism that I draw some lines on canvas painted with gold color. The third one is the imagination in creating dimension, setting up atmosphere within the painting and imaginary lighting to be suitable for the content I tried to express the feeling of the painting with color frame. Finally, my intention was to draw a woman in realistic style and carefully selected a suitable posture for her to complement with the whole painting and content.    


These four main steps encourage me to draw something to reflect the subjectivity of my personal taste. For the Nareephol painting set, I focus more on Nareephol to see the close-up view. The traditional mural paintings don’t use this kind of viewpoint at all. Almost everything comes from my personal imagination in contemporary style and the old concept of Nareephol was reinterpreted by me for my own work.                    


Nareephol is a mythological fruit in the shape of beautiful young maiden who is the object of desire for many powerful men. Desire, lust and jealousy are the drives of these men to fight others over these fruit maidens who cannot live forever. All Nareephol only last for seven days after being cut from the tree and then they will eventually wither and die. For this, I try to create some paintings of Nareephol to show the natural beauty that should not be disturbed or taken for personal possession. Three devil’s daughters and Nareephol painting sets are the drawing technique using many lines. I choose to use acrylic color on linen canvas so my drawing will flow better and colors dry quicker. It is very convenient. For portraits with less Thai pattern, I prefer to use oil color as it has good balance of color intensity and more fun to draw. The majority of women in my paintings are not inspired by real people but some are referenced by real actresses and models for correct anatomy and realism.


I personally classify the beauty of female in paintings in three levels
1. Beauty from good shape and proportion
2.Beauty from the combination of visual element, line, color, material, volume, light & shadow and atmosphere.
3. Beauty reflecting or expressing the reality. 

JY: What about your study, awards you received for your success.


During high school I was not a good student because I was only interested in drawing. Most subjects made me bored and sleepy. My grades were quite bad but I still passed every subject. At the diploma level, I was very excited and surprised that my grades were unbelievably better than I anticipated. At that time I was like someone who rose from a long slumber. I received a grade point average of 4.00 that I never thought I could do in my entire life. I enjoyed and was interested in every subject I studied until I graduated and received a bachelor’s degree and I went to apply for many art competitions since I was a student. Some of my works received awards but many of them were eliminated in the competition. I also had solo and group art exhibitions. My previous experience helped me to learn about many precious things.          

Due to art competitions and exhibitions, my works and I were recognized by many people. For me, the greatest award that I received was the outstanding Award of Asia from Tha Beppu Asia Biennale of Contemporary Art 2007 at Beppu Art MuseumJapan. I am so deeply confident that I can begin my life by working as a freelance artist. Not many people in Thailand know about this profession. I started to collect my own works for a joint art exhibition with my close friends and the feedback was satisfactory for an inexperienced artist like me. For over 24 years, I have exhibited my works regularly. This year I plan to exhibit my works in many countries such as the Mekong artist group in Cambodia. At the beginning of 2019, I went to join as one of the artists for the upcoming exhibition of two Thai artists “the light for life” in the end April at the general consulate in Los AngelesUSA and many art projects in Thailand. Sometimes I cannot finish my work in time for the exhibition because each of my works requires a considerable amount of time but I still have a dream and wish to make more art in my current style or larger paintings and sculptures. The next step should be the art space that I design for showing my friends’ works and my latest works. This requires me to save some money for my personal fund. My wish is for my good health, normal eyesight and have enough strength to work without time restriction and all burdens before I leave this world.  



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คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย
Scene4 Magazine: Janine Yasovant

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

©2019 Janine Yasovant
©2019 Publication Scene4 Magazine




March 2019

Volume 19 Issue 10

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