Georgie and I have just returned from a lightning visit to Bangkok. In all we were there for a little over 72 hours.
Three days in Bangkok. Was it worth it?
Part of selling art is creating relationships with artists. It’s a 2 way street. We all rely on each other to end up with the art arriving on somebody’s wall. I have always strived towards having real friendships with the artists that Tusk Gallery represents. Part of the deal with the Thai artists is visiting Bangkok on a regular basis and spending time with the artists discussing plans and talking about the future.
Back in May 2011 Attasit Pokpong and Kitti Narod came to Melbourne. Attasit was our feature artist at “Art Melbourne” and Kitti had an exhibition at Tusk. During this visit Attasit talked about a new idea that he was working on. This was to culminate in V64, a rather huge undertaking that involved setting up an art co-operative that involved around 60 studios and showrooms. A place where young Thai artists could work and share their ideas and inspiration. It would also be a showpiece for their art. A place that art collectors and lovers could come to view and hopefully purchase the art that they created.
During the first year Bangkok was hit by floods.
This didn’t deter them. They soldiered on. Over the past 3 years there have been many significant moments that linked V64 and the people who created it to my life. But that’s another story.
Just before we arrived for our 3 day visit, V64 came to an end. There were many reasons for it’s demise which I won’t go into now.
In some ways this could be a catalyst that will strengthen the Thai art scene. Time will tell.
The first morning of our trip was taken up with a visit to Bas Dylan’s group exhibition “Under The Radar”. Bas is a 26 year old artist who works with recycled denim. His works are quite unique and I believe he will go on to international fame.
Bas is now working in a studio with Paitoon Jumee another artist we represent. The studio is in the old family home owned by Attasit Pokpong. I’ve had two memorable visits to this house over the past 5 years. Now Attasit has moved on to a new home and studio a bit further out. It’s a lot bigger and in many ways a lot more prestigious. We visited both of these places o that first evening. Bangkok traffic is notorious on a Friday evening. We weren’t disappointed. The trip from Sathorn, in Central Bangkok to Attasit’s studio and home took us over 2 hours. Georgie couldn’t believe the lengths I went to in order to cement our relationships. I’m so used to it now after almost 8 years that I take my efforts for granted.
We finished our long first day with a well deserved dinner with Attasit, Bas, Paitoon, Anchana and Dusit Pimchangthong.
What we achieved on our first day was quite significant. Attasit agreed to organise a group exhibition in Melbourne with himself, Bas and Paitoon. If this happens it will be a very memorable exhibition. Attasit also talked about working with Tusk to lift the profile of Thai art internationally and earlier in the evening he gave Georgie and I a stunning gift of one of his water-colour portraits. At the tale end of the evening he drove us on a very long trip back into Bangkok and we finally went to sleep.
There were other achievements in the first 24 hours which significantly included Paitoon actually working on 3 commissions that we have been waiting for for almost 4 months. Thank god our client is understanding.
Saturday and Sunday were taken up with meetings with countless artists, old and new. Our only respite was a sumptuous dinner together on Saturday evening at The Sheraton in Sukhumvit.
By Sunday evening we were en-route to Suvanabumhi Airport with 80 kgs of paintings and artwork.
Overall I’m re-inspired about Thai art and Tusk Gallery’s involvement. Since arriving back we have almost sold 2 significant paintings to an “internet client” in the USA.