Meet Jirapat Tatsanasomboon

 Jirapat Tatsanasomboon is a Thai artist who was born in 1971, Samut Prakan, Thailand. He currently lives and works in Chiang Mai. Jirapat developed a love for art in early childhood, often drawing and painting superheroes and pop culture icons, which proved a great influence in his later practice. He went on to graduate from Chiang Mai University with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, and then attained his Master’s degree at Silpakorn University in Bangkok. Jirapat has gained international acclaim for his work, and was one of two artists exhibiting in Visions of East Asia for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He is most widely known for his reconstructions of world-famous artworks, in which he substitutes the original subjects with both Western pop culture icons and Asian mythical and religious figures, challenging the artistic interactions between the East and the West. It is incredibly exciting to have Jirapat as one of the contributing artists for the 2018 Secret Auction!

Jirapat’s work is inherently conversational. Not only do his paintings express a dialogue of cultural difference, they also demonstrate both Eastern and Western artistic styles. Jirapat’s own stylistic fluidity allows him to readily adopt the techniques of many high-profile and distinctive Western artists, including Rousseau, Van Gogh, and Botticelli, to provide the foundation for his own paintings. In The Transformation of Sita (From S. Botticelli), the coalescence of Eastern and Western styles is so important in articulating a cultural contrast. Here, Jirapat examines the relationship between Western notions of idealised beauty, and mythical Thai heroes. Often, as seen here and in many more of Jirapat’s paintings, the Thai characters originate from the Ramakien - the national epic of Thailand, an adaptation of Hindi mythology. These mythological figures, immersed in cultural significance, are put in direct contrast with Western cultural icons; celebrities, superheroes, or simply, as below in Break Free (After P. Mondrian), famous Western art motifs. The resulting works are brimming with political conversation.

The Transformation of Sita (After S. Botticelli) Acrylic on Canvas, 2006

The process Jirapat works through to produce each painting is extensive. Each of his works begins as a pencil sketch, which is then replicated on the canvas, before the application of finely blended acrylic paint. He then uses more pencil to soften the edges, and apply the finer details of the works. In order to remind a viewer of the authenticity of his paintings, Jirapat includes fine drips of paint, generally in smaller areas of the canvas, to elevate the painterly quality. This also works to remind us just how impressive Jirapat’s ability to reproduce masterpieces is.

Break Free (After P. Mondrian) Acrylic on Canvas (2010)

Jirapat Tatsanasomboon’s creative efforts to reconcile Eastern and Western artistic cultures are fascinating on many levels. His attention to technique when reproducing world-famous works of art is remarkable, and the simultaneously political and comical narratives that permeate his work are so engaging. We are incredibly lucky to have Jirapat on board for the 2018 Secret Auction at the Other Art Fair, so try to spot his piece on Sunday, 25th March!

 About the writer
Holly Cheeseman - 'I’m a 21-year-old student, currently in my last year of a BA in Comparative Literature at King’s College, London. When not working on my dissertation, I run the KCL Art Society, hosting weekly practical sessions and exhibition tours. I spend the majority of my spare time attempting to work on one of the many half-finished drawings or paintings littering my flat.'

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