Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Street Artists of Chiang Mai

Throughout our journey I am continually on the search for interesting artworks in all their forms. This has seen us visiting many of the world’s major galleries and a lot of smaller ones too. Then of course there is always the artists of the street, who simply set up a small stall in a public place and manage to survive by selling to passing trade or quickly completing works on the spot. The quality of such works at times is very mixed, with the accompanying displays of completed works not always matching what you see being produced in front of you. There are however occasions when you see pieces that catch your attention as you admire the artists skills. Such was the case in Chiang Mai where there were numerous opportunities to view artists working in a variety of media to produce works that were generally in a realistic style. While there were plenty on the streets at the various night bazaars, there were also quite a number who had small studio spaces in the commercial part of town. Clearly most of these were involved in fulfilling commissions by working from photographs to produce highly realistic renderings. The process they followed was in fact a precision crafting process, with the artist carefully scanning over the photo with a magnifying glass and then painstakingly reproducing it section by section in an enlarged format. The results were often ‘super-realistic’ and produced to a technically high standard. As such works were relatively cheap, these artists seemed to be constantly working, often holding photos that had clearly come from western origins. Amazingly the standard remained consistently high throughout the town, with competition clearly dictating that they needed to produce quality work in order to survive. Whilst it certainly couldn’t be labelled as high-end art, you had to admire the quality of their drawing skills and their patience in producing these pieces. Maybe it was the number of tourist customers that had attracted them or simply the quality of the lifestyle in Chiang Mai, but over time a significant artist community has evolved, producing some of the better street art that I have seen during our travels.

No comments:

Post a Comment