Last month I set an appointment with another outstanding artist who is also very fond of the art of Printmaking like Srijai Kuntawang whom I wrote about in the previous issue. His name is Kitikong Tilokwattanotai. Not only has he been well-known for around 20 years, but he is also part of the newer generation of printmaking artists in Thailand. On interview day, he was preparing an the upcoming exhibition in Bangkok in late September. His studio is called C.A.P. (Chiangmai Art on Paper) which is located at Nimmanhemin Road, Chiang Mai. He was working as usual with his friends and some foreigners came to meet him in the late afternoon. I called him instructor Kitikong because he is the instructor from Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna. He smiled and said that he has worked as an art instructor in Thailand for 15 years and it was about time to quit from his present work to start a personal business as he intended.
JY: I would like to know more about your life?
KT: I was born in Lampang Province which is nearly 200 km from Chiang Mai and I graduated from the faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University. After graduation, I continued to study more about printmaking at the college of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales, Australia. Printmaking is an interesting choice of art in that it relies mainly on working by hand more than machines for digital prints. It is expected that more people who understand art will love to preserve it. Despite the fact that the world is changing to support more advanced technology, I believe that this creative art still exists to be appraised and collected.
JY: What about printmaking versus digital prints?
KT: There is a difference between printmaking and digital prints that can be noticed easily. Looking at the pattern of printmaking closely with a magnifier, you will see that the colors are smooth and mix together well. Digital print, on the contrary, we will see the ink dots clearly and its pattern is not as smooth as printmaking. In my view, handmade printmaking has exceptional characteristics and is fascinating for aspiring artists as well as enthusiastic art collectors. It is thought that the primitive way of printing could even absorb the hearts and minds of people.
In this case, I want to clarify the meaning of printmaking and digital printing since many people are confused between these two terms. For each printmaking work, the artist will limit the exact quantities of copies he could create and make sure that his works are not produced more than that. All copies of printmaking are made by hand only and their quality is also controllable due to the limited number. Moreover, the process of printmaking is arduous and repetitive but it is also rewarding. Nonetheless, digital printing is a high resolution image file from a computer that can be printed anytime and in any given number if you have a good printer and sufficient color ink.
The price of printmaking at C.A.P is affordable and people can buy them and decorate their home.
JY: How many years have you worked as an artist?
KT: Around 20 years. After graduation from the department of paint, print and sculpture at the faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University I went on to pursue my post-graduate studies at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales (COFA UNSW). I learned about business and marketing as well and after that I collaborated with famous artists and professors from many Universities in Australia. When I came back to Chiang Mai, I bought land and a building at Nimmanhemin Road 7 years ago to start my own business.
JY: You were lucky to buy this asset here because the location is very good for business.
KT: With this preparation, I decided to leave my current job at Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna soon. But I will still be able to function as a guest instructor.
JY: How do your works reflect change and progressive movement?
KT: In 2003, when I was in New South Wales, I did a design called Etching as a graduate project. It was about Thai alphabets which are very complex. This is a story of lines to create shades of space and cut out some part of the alphabets to combine with various parts of the work. But I did not stick with only one style of art. We can apply them in many kinds of art including home and commercial decoration or printing and many other types of media. In 2005, I exhibited and created a project called "Visions of lines". Until 2007, my works were mainly oil on canvas, etching and lithography. In 2010, my printmaking is called abstract burned print which resemble beige colors. In 2011 the Etching was still popular with its bright colors. This year you can see around my studio that my work uses contrast of color as a main concept. The creativeness and coworkers bring happiness and attract the imagination of young generations that can be the medium to be used in many suitable occasions and to bring our life back to joyfulness with lines and colors.