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‘Art’ Category

  1. The Hungry Workshop

    September 1, 2013 by The E.A.T. Team

    top photo hungry workshop-5

    ON THE CANVAS 
    The Hungry Workshop
    ON THE GLOBE
    Melbourne, Australia
    ON THE TEAM
    Jenna & Simon Hipgrave, Designers

    I whizzed down High Street on my borrowed little white Toyota “Toyosha” bike for the third time that week on my way to Melbourne’s city center, glancing to see if there was any movement inside. The lights were off, no one was there, and I let out a little sigh of impatient anticipation. Damn.

    Fast forward one week, and almost two months after I initially emailed The Hungry Workshop, we were all finally in the same place at the same time. They had returned from a trip to Europe, and Hannah and I were staying just up the road from their studio in Melbourne.

    We met Simon and Jenna on a sunny and crisp winter’s day. Its never advisable to go into a situation with high expectations, but damnit, I couldn’t help myself. After seeing their beautiful prints and designs on their blog and reading their inspiring story about quitting their jobs to finally pursue letterpress full time, moving a huge printing press from one side of Australia to another, I just imagined them being people I’d really get along with. Luckily, my high expectations were met and exceeded.

    Simon and Jenna were extremely warm, incredibly talented and knowledgeable in my favorite form of printmaking, and full of great ideas to help us on our own paths.

    “Our enthusiasm for the craft of letterpress combined with our expertise and love of design, typography and illustration ensures that every project, big and small, is imbued with heart and soul.”

    Their studio is big and bright, with a sign and shopfront window welcoming passersby to take a peek inside the studio while they slave away on The Beast, their classic Heidelberg Windmill printing press. Pale grey high school gym lockers keep the inky bits stowed safely, and framed prints from their Trophy Lives exhibit line the walls. The interior of their bathroom is covered in handmade illustrations. A colossal bookshelf stacked high with design volumes (and “trashy novels at the top”) peppered with bits and bobs they’ve collected is a stunning highlight and my favorite part of their studio (though of course the video arcade game is a close second).

    Their incredible work and talent aside, Simon and Jenna are just genuine folks and we can’t speak highly enough of them.

    Read on to hear words straight from the Hungry Workshop’s mouth.

    12.6 hungry workshop collage

    It’s a really cool work space!
    Yeah, sorry for the smell, we’ve been painting! The back is storage, but the bathroom in here is fun. We got an illustrator to come and do it. These two illustrators called Tom Claxton (Aka Tom Tax Return) and Gabriel Woodmansey (Aka Gabriello Woodmandez) of SPEW CORP., they painted our bathroom. It’s very interesting. They are very clever guys. Gabe is an Art Director who works at JWT and Tom is a copywriter looking for love.

    What are the presses that you have in the studio?
    We’ve got the two presses at the moment.

    Do you do both design and print?
    We do design for our direct clients, then we do printing of our own designs, experimental projects and things like that. We also do printing for other design studios. We run our own projects and like to mess around a bit. The prints in the studio at the moment were all part of an exhibition that we organised. They are all of the stuff-ups and test prints that we do. The real ones are on the wall. We’re looking at doing more stuff like that.

    Do you sell the finished prints or are they just for fun?
    We sell them. It’s just an excuse to have an exhibition and a party. They are 5 illustrators that we’ve met in Melbourne. We did the invitations.

    What do clients come to you wanting?
    Design and print. We do identity stuff, people often want letterpress wedding invitations, so we do a lot of that. We’ve got a website that’s being built at the moment that we’ve designed. We do all sorts!

    You make cards as well, right?
    Yeah, we sell them online and they’re stocked in a couple of shops here, and in Japan and Canada.

    Are you working everyday?
    Pretty much, yeah!

    How long have you guys been here?
    We quit our jobs last June and we’ve been in this space since Christmas (2011).

    Was that big leap to quit and start doing this full-time?
    Well, we were already doing this alongside working for a while. We wanted to move to Melbourne and found this space through an estate agent after 4 or 5 months. We had to renovate it as it was an upholstery shop before. It was covered in carpet and curtains. The whole thing was carpeted from the front door all the way to the back. There were make-shift walls made out of bits of wood, upholstery straps and a whole lot of staples.

    Where do you find and buy machines like these?
    They sort of find us. We were printing up at the place where we learnt and this guy came along, knew a guy that was selling one [a Heidelberg Windmill] and asked if we wanted it. It was from a commercial printer who didn’t need it any more. The other press came from a guy who found us online and was getting rid of his stuff. We are getting another one too which came to us the same way. We don’t shop for them, they find us. You see them on eBay for crazy amounts!

    I guess these people want to get rid of them but make sure they go to a good home?
    Yeah, well the theory is that if it comes here, we’ll keep it oiled and in good working condition. We’re not going to scrap it, it’s not for display purposes, it’s actually going to get used. The guy that sold us one of the presses was a big believer in that printing was a fraternity and how it’s a really important part of society and that it needs to be maintained. He believed that printing was crucial to human development and it can’t be lost, it must be passed on and continued. He also used to hold the world record for Gallagher, the arcade video game. Printing people are weird!

    How do people find you usually, is it through the internet or from the street?
    It’s probably word-of-mouth and the internet. We make sure the website is up to date and use things like Instagram.

    Your shop front is one huge window, is it off-putting when people peek in?
    We specifically chose a place with a shop front. There’s a message on the door about having to book an appointment to see us so it doesn’t bother us much. If it were a cafe or we set up a retail store in the front, we would have to be here all the time, we didn’t want that. We open whenever we feel like it. We did have a doorbell but someone stole it.

    That’s a weird thing to steal!
    Yeah, they took all of the doorbells along High Street.

    How is it living in the same place that you work?
    It’s good, especially when it’s raining. We don’t have to go anywhere in the mornings and when you know you’re not going to be out in the front here, you can totally wear your slippers to work.

    For more information on Simon & Jenna or to collaborate on a print project with them, visit The Hungry Workshop online.

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  2. Cubic Goodies: in.cube8er

    November 29, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    ON THE CANVAS 
    in.cube8er gallery
    ON THE GLOBE
    Brisbane, Australia
    ON THE TEAM
    Vicki Sinclair, franchise owner

    From kitsch to couture, in.cube8r ® has it all under one roof. We stumbled upon this mini mecca of handmade goods on a walk in Brisbane, just a couple blocks shy of where we spotted Harajuku Gyoza.

    Enticed by the sign outside “90 Brisbane artists under one roof,” we ducked in, hoping we might spot some more great art. The handmade goods were lovely but it was the business itself that captivated us that afternoon.

    Glass boxes full of creative goodies shone like diamonds in the late afternoon sun. Curious, we wandered inside. Brisbane franchise owner Vicki Sinclair welcomed us in with a warm smile and explained the in.cube8r model to us.

    “Each in.cube8r® is home to more than 90 of australia’s top crafters. in.cube8r takes no commission on sales. Each gallery is divided up into glass cubicles, shelves, racks and partitions which artists can lease for a small cost, from as little as $21.00 per week over a 3-month period. in.cube8r is the first and original model of this concept. It is open to anyone who makes things by hand and for anyone who loves buying one-off unique items. There is no commission on items sold; when an item is sold the artist receives 100% of the retail price. in.cube8r® runs like a long-term market; this gives its artists and hand crafters the power over display and price.”

    Isy Galey, creator of in.cube8er, woke up one morning (after another nanny contract had ended, due to children growing up and going to school) and calculated that she had changed close to 25,000 nappies over the last 20 years, so perhaps it was time to fulfill the dream.

    We love the idea of having an affordable platform for both emerging and established artists to display and sell their work.

    For more information, please visit:
    http://www.incube8r.com.au/

    Quotes by incube8er.com.au

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  3. Save The Date: LA Dinnerparty

    October 21, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    We’re throwing a dinnerparty in LA! California, save the date: November 17. Be there or be square. RSVP here.


  4. By The Sea With Christie Rigby

    October 5, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    A chef AND a painter.. my heart be still!

    ON THE CANVAS 
    Surfing seascapes
    ON THE GLOBE
    Byron Bay, Australia
    ON THE TEAM
    Christie Rigby, Painter

    She opened her antique suitcase and out spilled layer upon layer of dreamy waterscapes. Women in the sea, overflowing with power and grace reminiscent of Greek goddesses. Christie Rigby’s paintings are mellow and feminine, yet portray immense confidence and strength.

    Christie was the guest of honor at our dinner with Mamabake, and she graciously invited us to stay with her in Byron Bay. We accepted, and we’re so glad we did.

    We caught her at a very busy time–prepping for an extended trip to Europe, working almost full time at Heart & Halo, curating and framing her paintings and prints for buyers and a group exhibit, painting daily, and trying to squeeze in surfing in the mornings.. her life was packed. Yet somehow she still found time to cook us an incredibly tasty quinoa stir fry (did we mention she’s a trained chef?), show us her studio, and send us in the direction of the industrial estate, where we met Real Creative Design and The Design Kids. Christie was an integral link to our epic Byron Bay experience and we are eternally grateful!

    Christie’s paintings are just like her–calm, expressive, honest, energetic, and all about the sea. The daughter of a fisherman and an artist, it all makes perfect sense to us.

    For more information, please visit:
    http://christieleebythesea.blogspot.com/

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  5. The Design Kids

    August 27, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    ON THE CANVAS 
    Graphic design
    ON THE GLOBE
    Byron Bay, Australia
    ON THE TEAM
    Frankie Ratford, Designer

    A stone’s throw away from Real Creative Design Studio, we moseyed over to round 2 of Byron Bay’s industrial estate and to another heaping spoonful of inspiration. Maria of Real Creative walked us there herself and introduced us to Frankie Ratford, the creator of The Design Kids.

    Frankie is all over Australia’s design scene, having worked with Frost in Sydney, studying in Melbourne, managing the Design Kids in Byron Bay, and lecturing in Brisbane. Which is no small feat considering how huge Australia is and how many of those gigs she does simultaneously.

    The Design Kids is a platform for emerging designers and creatives in Australia to sell their work. Frankie helps facilitate real world opportunities for design students to get a taste of what the industry is like outside of the classroom, and she’s doing a kick ass job of it. Their most recent exhibition, the Terrible Twos paired each student with an established studio to collaborate, and the sale of each canvas went to a charity of the student’s choosing. More on the win-win scenarios that Frankie’s created below (and a photo of Frankie’s collaboration from the Terrible Two’s exhibit.. the one with the kitchen stove.)

    Frankie’s fire fueled our own. She’s got a fantastic mix of the necessary design skills, intuition, and business sense to create some serious damage (the good kind, that is). Finding my favorite business book the 4-hour-workweek on her shelf didn’t surprise me in the slightest.

    Keep your eye on this girl. Read on for more about The Design Kids and Frankie’s background.

    I have ‘Frankie Fridays’, I don’t work Fridays. You need time away to do what you want and refresh.

    How did you fund the show?
    I got the space for the show for free and got a drinks sponsor. Desktop magazine got involved too. Sales of the art went to charity and the studios and student got exposure.

    Do you make money from this?
    I lecture 2 days a week in Brisbane.

    When did you move to Australia?
    10 years ago I moved from Bournemouth. I lived in Canada, then studied in Melbourne for 4 years. I worked for Frost in Sydney for 4 years and have been in Byron Bay for 6 months. As soon as I had the resources and had learnt about everything creative, I moved here. I made sure to learn about blogging, teaching, and marketing. Once I had the skills, I moved here to set up the business. As soon as you say you’re looking for work, it snowballs!

    Do you have any tips for emerging designers?
    I would say to stay true to yourself. I have ‘Frankie Fridays’, I don’t work Fridays. You need time away to do what you want and refresh!

    For more information on the Design Kids visit:

    http://thedesignkids.com.au/

    https://www.facebook.com/thedesignkids

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  6. Real Creative Design

    August 9, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    ON THE CANVAS 
    Custom surf board covers, graphic design
    ON THE GLOBE
    Byron Bay, Australia
    ON THE TEAM
    Maria Nilsson, Real Creative Design Studio

    What do you get when you mix a world-famous surf scene, beautiful beaches, hippies, hipsters, a lush region for fruit and veg and a whole lot of sunshine? Answer: a booming hub of creatives working and living in the same tiny space. In our eyes, Byron Bay lived up to all the hype we heard about it and then some.

    Surf artist Christie Rigby tipped us off about an industrial estate full of art and design studios just outside the buzzing hum of Byron’s core, and what a treat it was.

    We set off in our campervan in the late morning, the sun breaking through the rain clouds for the first time in days, a double rainbow filling the sky, as if to say.. this day is gonna be fucking awesome.

    This is the first installment of a small series of the people we met that day.

    Maria welcomed us in with a knock-out smile and showed us around their big, bright new studio. Brilliantly curated antiques and op shop goodies collected over the last six years peppered the entire space. Colors splashed all around, old mixed with new; the art and design created in the studio blending seamlessly into their collected treasures.

    We chatted to Maria about the design scene in Australia, her immigration from Sweden, and the gorgeous custom surf board covers that she sews. Read on.

    Everyone gets together and hangs out, we all have a unique style, so we work together. We put on creative nights all the time where we have parties and do art.

    When did you move to Australia?
    I moved from Sweden in 2006.

    Did you study in Sweden?
    Yep, Media. Then I studied design in New Town and moved to Byron Bay in 2009. I spent the holidays in Byron Bay and loved it. As soon as I had the chance I moved here and started Real Creative.

    How did it all start?
    Real Creative started in internet cafes. Diva and I worked as a team, we called ourselves ‘Real’ and grew from there. For a while we were sharing a studio with The Design Kids on one computer. It wasn’t long before we realised we needed one each as things were taking forever to get done. It hurt our brains! We earned some money, bought another computer, moved in to a new unit, and got going!

    How did you find your clients?
    We got our initial clients through friends as we had our previous portfolios of work to show. We visited art shows too and got work from those. We’ve also been asked to do Byron Bay Surf Festival.

    Is there a lot of competition within the design community in Byron Bay?
    No. In Sydney I found it was quite competitive but here not at all! Everyone lives and breathes for each other. Everyone gets together and hangs out, we all have a unique style, so we work together. We put on creative nights all the time where we have parties and do art.

    Do you sell the art that you make?
    We make most money through design. People don’t like to pay too much for art, especially if you’re not a well-known artist. We get clients from the shows and markets that we do. We sell prints and photo blocks. We find that people just want a little memento from Byron, so the smaller pieces do well. It’s something little, like $20, not a big investment piece.

    You have quite a few surf boards here too, do you paint them?
    Yeah, we paint them, send them off to get waxed and there’s a company that sells them.

    For more information visit:

    Real Creative Blog
    https://www.facebook.com/realcreativedesignstudio

    http://real.lagr.se/

    realcreativedesignstudio@gmail.com

    6/12 Tasman way, Byron Bay, New South Wales, 2481, Australia

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  7. Tasmania’s Controversial Museum

    June 18, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    Tasmania is, despite erroneous myths of inbreeding and being overrun by hillbillies, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Generally a peaceful, quiet rural island full of great fresh food from local farmers and stunning natural beauty, you wouldn’t expect to find one of the most shockingly un-vanilla art museums in the world on the island. Chock full of penises, macabre, and unexplained homages to pop stars, this museum is an odd-for-its-setting but refreshing and intriguing place.

    MONA was officially opened on 21 January 2011. $100 million museum owned by David Walsh, it is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The impressive building in Berriedale took more than three years to complete and is as interesting as the art it contains. At the end of the vineyard-lined driveway, visitors are greeted with an amazing view of Hobart and the first surprise – a rooftop tennis court speckled with giant Mickey Mouse-esque glove shaped seats.

    The building itself, designed by the Melbourne architect Nonda Katsalidis and built by Hansen Yuncken, is an engineering feat – three levels underground, carved into the sandstone cliffs of Berriedale Peninsula. Inside is a labyrinth of spiral staircases, lifts and foot bridges. There are concrete floors, beautiful wooden benches and beanbags offering guests a place to sit and digest the works on show.

    At the bottom of the staircase sits a bar serving Moorilla wines and Moo Brew, which are both made onsite. Walsh positioned the bar here stating that, “You’re here to have a good time”. He believes that the understanding of many of the museum’s artworks is assisted by increased alcohol levels.

    Upon arrival at MONA, you are given an iPod and headphones. Using clever software and GPS, the devices automatically detect where you are standing in the museum and offer information about nearby artworks. You can hear interviews, music, and even rate whether or not you like each piece of art. All data is uploaded randomly, making the information you are reading different to everyone else around you. At the end of your tour you can opt to receive an email telling you how long you spent at each piece and offering links to more facts about the work.

    Among the 400 pieces on show, a couple really stood out to us. ‘Cloaca Professional’ by Belgian artist Wim Delvoye, is a machine that imitates the human digestive system, producing waste at regular intervals. This intriguing mad scientist approach to such a natural bodily process really interested us. Inspired by his belief that everything in modern life is pointless, the most useless object he could dream up was a machine that serves no purpose at all, besides the reduction of food to waste. Despite the unavoidable stench in the room, the intricately constructed pods with digital displays of temperature and pressure entice you to take a closer look. The work seems to make comment on the art world and how it has been so far consumed it has almost ‘come out the other end’.

    In a room resembling an over sized light-box, 30 Madonna fans sing renditions of her Immaculate Collection album, each one on their own TV screen. This exploration of idol-ism and super fandom is sure to make anyone smile. They all sing like no one is watching with dramatic gestures and the glimmer of hope that Madonna might one day see the footage, making it a refreshing and lighthearted installation in an art collection heavy with dark subject matters.

    That's a whole lot of poop.

    Another piece that got our attention was an installation called ‘Fat Car’ by Erwin Wurm. The bulging red body work of the Porsche Carrera seems to make comment on consumer over-indulgence. Wurm takes one of the world’s most desirable objects and totally defaces it, almost beyond recognition. The perfect red paintwork stretched uncomfortably over the bloated body turns a once beautiful object into a beautifully shiny, but ultimately useless pile of car. The detail is impeccable, even the interior is ballooned – the seats bulge at the seems and the wing mirrors are covered in swelled red metal. Well known for the use of humor in his works, Wurm has been quoted saying: “If you approach things with a sense of humor, people immediately assume you’re not to be taken seriously. But I think truths about society and human existence can be approached in different ways. You don’t always have to be deadly serious. Sarcasm and humor can help you see things in a lighter vein.”

    http://mona.net.au/

    655 Main Road | Moorilla Estate, Berriedale, Tasmania, Australia

    T: (61-3) 6277-9900

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  8. Eat Meet: Dr. K Sato’s Architectural Landscapes in George Town

    May 13, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    ON THE CANVAS 
    Architectural Paintings & Illustrations
    ON THE GLOBE
    George Town, Penang, Malaysia
    ON THE TEAM
    Dr. Sato Katshiro

    “Sato draws like no one else is the world, it’s very unique.”

    - Khoo Lye Huat

     

    Image courtesy of Dr. K Sato

     

    By profession, Dr. Sato is an architect and has worked in architectural design firms in Japan for 20 years.  After obtaining his PhD in Engineering, he was associated with various universities in Japan and Canada as a professor.  He is now a key member of the Penang Art Society.  Dr. Sato’s drawings are currently exhibited in the Heritage Hotel, Penang.

     

    I met Dr. Sato by pure chance, on a morning run in the fantastically historic and artistic city of George Town in Penang.  I spotted him sitting under a bridge, sketching the city scape.  A few meters later, I passed a woman doing the same.  I jogged on for a while with the two of them on my mind, and on my way back I worked up the courage to say hi.

    I’m so glad I did.  Dr. Sato turned out to be an extremely friendly, knowledgeable, and experienced architect and artist–the woman sat a few meters away drawing was his wife.  Apparently they do that together every weekend.  I can hardly imagine a sweeter ritual.

    I told him about The Eat Team and asked if we could interview him.  He invited us to join him at Penang’s Cultural Street Fair, where we got to see several of his finished paintings, meet some of his family and friends, and chat to him about architecture, living in Malaysia after retirement from Japan, and being a teacher.

    I was mesmerized by the dreamy motion that Dr. Sato’s watercolour style gives off.  He has a truly brilliant way of capturing the vibrance and energy of the bustling creativity that makes up George Town.  Don’t you think?

    Take it away, Dr. K!

    Where are you from?
    I’m from Japan.

    How did you come to live here in Penang?
    Conditions in Japan aren’t ideal after the natural disasters so we decided to relocate. I moved here 4 years ago to retire.

    Why Penang?
    I was attracted the Georgetown because of the mix of buildings. The contrast between old and new structures is interesting. It’s a very multicultural place with a great atmosphere. I hope to stay here for the rest of my life.

    So do you still have family back in Japan?
    Oh yes, I have 4 children who still live there. They visit sometimes.

    Do you ever go back to see them?
    I hope to visit sometime soon to see my family and paint.

    How do you choose what to draw or paint?
    I used to be an architect so I like to draw buildings as I understand structures.

    How long does each painting take?
    They each take around 2-3 hours.

    What materials do you use to create them?
    I mainly use pencil, pen and watercolour.

    Do you know many other artists here?
    Yes. I sit and sketch with my Japanese friend every weekend in Georgetown.

     

    For more information on Dr. Sato, please visit his websites:

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  9. Eat Meet: Ko Lanta Ink

    March 31, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    ON THE CANVAS 
    Custom Tattoos
    ON THE GLOBE
    Ko Lanta, Thailand
    ON THE TEAM
    Mr. Sitt & Wel, Tattoo Artists
      
     

     

    Palm trees, blue skies, clear water, sand crabs, fruit shakes, and happy tourists on rented motorbikes.  That’s what we found on Ko Lanta, a gorgeous island off the southern peninsula of Thailand.

    We also found Mr. Sitt and Wel, two of Thailand’s most talented tattoo artists.  Thailand is an extremely popular tattoo destination, especially for westerners: sometimes a chance to get a permanent souvenir of their holiday, other times an opportunity to get a custom design at an affordable price.

    We loved chatting with these two.  A brilliant mix of talented and humble, we talked to them about how they got started in the field, tattoo culture in general, traditional Thai tattoos, and what makes them tick.

    Introducing Mr. Sitt:

    Where are you from?

    Hat Yai.

     

    Do you live locally on Ko Lanta?

    I live in the shop.  Well, when you work as many hours as I do …I might as well live here.

     

    You’re a tattoo artist, where are your tattoos?!

    (Laughs) I don’t like so many.

     

    How did you get into tattooing?

    I studied Engineering in Bangkok, but a lot of the companies closed so I could not find a job after I graduated. So I have never worked as an engineer. I taught myself tattooing.

     

    Did you enjoy Bangkok?

    Yes, for that time it was nice. There are many people and many things to do. Now I go there on vacation for a week, maybe 3 days and it’s too busy for me.

     

    How did you change from engineer to artist?

    I couldn’t find a job with my engineering degree. I was looking for one for 3 months and one day I looked in the mirror after a shower and saw my first tattoo (a phoenix on my upper arm to celebrate finishing high school) and realised.. I could do that, and that’s what I want to do. I told my parents about my idea and they said no because I had a degree as an engineer. I didn’t have much money, I borrowed some from friends. One friend 1000 baht, another friend 2000 baht, and bought what I needed with that. My first tattoo was a tribal design that was very small but took 3 hours. I sweated a lot!

     

    Was it easier the second time?

    That was 15 years ago, it’s easier now.

     

    So you taught yourself by practicing?

    Yes. I read a lot of magazines and learned by doing.

     

    How did you choose Ko Lanta as the place for your shop?

    I heard there weren’t too many American and English people here, sometimes they are too loud. There is a lot of Swedish but they are more chilled. Also, there aren’t many French people. I find it hard to understand them which is difficult when talking about tattoos. Sometimes I draw for many hours, when they come back there has been a misunderstanding and I have to re-do the whole thing.

     

    What’s the difference between the normal tattoo machine and the bamboo tattoo method?

    The machine is 50 strokes per second and bamboo is just 2.

     

    Does it hurt less to have a bamboo tattoo?

    Yes, 50% less than machine.

     

    Do a lot of people scream in pain?

    No. Fifteen years I’ve been doing this and no girl has ever passed out. Only men have when they have a lot of muscle!

     

    Is it cheaper or more expensive to have the bamboo method?

    It depends on the size as it takes a long time to create it by hand.

     

    Do most people opt for the bamboo, or do they mostly choose the machine?

    Bamboo is the traditional Thai method and it’s easier to take care of after too, they are quicker to heal.

     

    Do all tattoo studios use the same ink?

    Mostly. I use one that suits us. You have to be careful though as there are fake inks from China that don’t always stay in the skin and can cause infection.

     

    Do people ask you to design the tattoo, or do they normally already know what they want?

    Sometimes they ask me to draw but usually they have seen what they want before and come with a design.

     

    Do people ask to keep the line drawings you make when designing custom tattoos?

    Not usually. I put them up on the wall for examples.

     

    Do you keep sketchbooks of your work?

    I do each tattoo one by one, no books.

     

    Next we spoke to Wel, Mr Sit’s colleague…

     

    How did you get in to tattooing?

    I like it. If you don’t like it, you don’t start.

     

    Did you study drawing?

    I just learned, I like to draw. When I was 14 I would not go to school, I’d go to my friend’s tattoo shop on Phi Phi Island.

     

    Did you work there before here?

    My Mother had a restaurant there so I stayed there when I was young. I saw a lot of the tattoo shops and I liked what they did. Then I came here and learned. At first, I only helped them stretch the skin in preparation for the tattoo, that’s the first stage.

     

    Mr Sitt said that he was really scared the first time he did a tattoo, was it the same for you?

    Yes!

     

    Do you get the same fear every time?

    Not anymore, but before. The first, second and third. When they are simple like this (the three crown design I’m putting on the customer now) I don’t get nervours, but the first time I did a dragon I was scared. Now, not anymore.

     

    How long have you been doing this for?

    I started at 14 and now I’m 21.

     

    How did you meet Mr Sitt?

    (They both laugh) I think he can tell you better.

     

    This sounds like a good story! Mr Sit, how did you both meet?

    He worked in the enemy’s shop. Then he followed me here.

     

    When was this?

    About 4 years ago.

     

    What do you like best about your job?

    Finishing a tattoo and seeing the customers smile. We make dreams, we build a dream. Tattoo artists put the dream on the customer. For my customer, they dream the dream, then they come to me and I draw and put the dream on them. I like this a lot. You can read in the comments book how happy people have been. Sometimes we cry together!

     

    Tears of joy?

    Yes yes! A guy last week he came to me and asked for a tattoo of two fists together to remind him of his very best friend. Every time he saw his friend they would do this, like a handshake. They did it for 20 years. He was crying when he saw it finished.

     

    Would you change anything if you were to start over?

    Maybe I’d help with the family business–palm oil.

     

    Do you think you’ll do this for the rest of your life?

    Well, I like cooking too actually, I’m going to open a restaurant with a Swedish friend down the street, make Thai & Swedish food.

     

    What else do you like to do?

    I’d like to make a bar too, we’ll see.  Being a business owner is great for making friends.

     

    How is the tattoo scene in Thailand different from other places?

    Well in terms of the television shows.. LA ink is quite scripted.  London Ink is more realistic.

     

    Why do Thai people age so well?

    Its all the chili we eat, contains special ingredient which helps regenerate cells.  And herbs.

     

    How old are you?

    37

     

    Who is the most famous tattoo artist in Thailand?

    Jimmy Wang, his family also makes tattoos and he even started the tattoo convention in Bangkok.

     

    Do you have any advice for people wanting to start a career in tattooing?

    It’s easy! Go to youtube and look at ‘How to make tattoo’ and then go to ebay and get a machine.

     

    Special thanks to Mr. Sit and Wel for the interview, and to Christer Roosk for being a fantastic sport and letting us photograph him being tattooed.

    If you’d like to contact Mr. Sitt and Wel for a custom tattoo, send an email to sit.marley@hotmail.com or call +66816797805 or visit Lanta Ink in Saladan on Ko Lanta, Thailand.

    If you like this project, subscribe to our free monthly newsletter for updates.


     


  10. Eat Meet No. 3 – Photorealism in Chiang Mai

    March 16, 2012 by The E.A.T. Team

    ON THE CANVAS 
    Photo-Realistic Charcoal Portraits
    ON THE GLOBE
    Chiang Mai, Thailand
    ON THE TEAM
    Ditcha Pong Donkeaw, Illustrator & Painter

     

    We spent four days in Chiang Mai, a small-ish city in northern Thailand.

    Hannah describes it as “friendly, compact, has everything you’d need, enough to do that you’d discover places regularly, but not so much to do that it’s overwhelming or touristy, impossible to get lost, the community vibe that I didn’t feel in Bangkok.”

    We both agreed to live there at some point.  We loved getting around the city by bike, the relaxed atmosphere, the fast wifi, and the hidden quiet gems with greenery and space to breathe dispersed between the chaotic Thai streets that line each city we’ve been to so far.

    One of the highlights by far was interviewing illustrator Ditcha Pong Donkeaw in a quiet spot underground Chiang Mai’s night bazaar.  He creates illustrations so realistic, you have to look twice (or three times) to make sure that they’re not photographs.

    Though I’m a certified artist (got a piece of paper from the University of California saying as much, so it must be true), I’ve never been able to draw realistically.  Eventually I let go of the notion that artists “should” be able to draw that way and my jealousy that I could not, and focused on my strengths instead..

    Ditcha, or Dui for short, really warmed our hearts.  Initially shy to be on camera and quite modest about his unbelievable skill, he warmed up quickly and opened up to us about how he honed his talent and what his family thinks of his life as an artist.

    Introducing Ditcha:

     

    EatTeam1CollageDuiChiangMai

    What’s your name?

    Ditcha Pong, but my nickname from University is Dui.

     

    How long have you worked at the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai?

    Six years.

     

    You look really young.  Can we ask how old you are?

    Not so young!  I have small wrinkles.  Twenty-nine.

     

    How long did you study art for?

    I studied at university for four years.  I worked here ever since.

     

    Were you naturally talented with drawing, even before studying?

    Yes, as a child I was very good.  My dad guided my hand when I was young.  He helped me learn.

     

    Did you start drawing in this photo-realistic style, or was your style in the beginning something else?

    I drew everything.. acrylic, watercolor, charcoal.   Sometimes abstract–if the customer likes it that way.

     

    What kind of customers usually buy from you?

    Mainly Europeans but also Americans, Canadians, Brits.

     

    Do all the artists here in the market know eachother?  

    Yes, we are all part of different companies.

     

    So you’re all competing?

    Yes.. that’s why everyone is looking at us, wondering what we are filming!

     

    When you create an artwork for a customer, do they sit for you while you draw?

    No, that would take too long.  I draw from a photograph.

     

    Do you enjoy drawing still after so many years?

    Yes.

     

    In your free time, do you draw other things just for fun?

    Yes, I really enjoy drawing animals, flowers, abstracts.  Jackson Pollock, Picasso.. yeah!

     

    Do you give drawings to your friends sometimes?

    Yes, especially for birthday presents.

     

    Hannah and I are both artists.  I can only do abstract, child-like drawings, totally different from your style.  I get embarrassed looking back through old sketchbooks, at the bad quality.  Do you get embarrassed too looking back to the beginning?

    No, I like it better–there’s so much innocence in it.

     

    Where did you grow up?

    A province called Phaie, its 2 hours from Chiang Mai.  I moved here for university.

     

    How old were you when you started learning how to draw?

    I started studying at 18.

     

    So eleven years now.  And you said your mom and dad wanted you to be an artist?

    Yes, my dad.. but not my mom.  She wanted me to study electronics.

     

    Did your dad push you to be an artist or did he support you in your decision?

    He supported me in my decision.

     

    Do you prefer black and white or color when drawing and painting?

    I like black-and-white better, its more classic and its easier.

     

    What’s the strangest picture anyone’s ever commissioned you to draw?

    Six months ago, a customer had me draw their head in the body of a mermaid.

     

    How long did the drawing we’re looking at take you?

    Two days.  That’s the average amount of time they usually take.

     

    How much did it cost?

    About three-thousand baht. ($100)

     

    Do you like drawing people or animals better?

    People.

     

    The bigger drawings for sale in your gallery were made from photographs too?  They’re real people?

    Yes.

     

    What do you usually draw with?

    Charcoals, chalks, pastels, pencils, lots of different brushes.  No water, its all dry.  Sometimes I wear a mask because the materials can be dangerous.

     

    Where else do you exhibit your work?

    Sometimes I enter contests and show in galleries.

     

    Who are your favorite artists?

    T. Tawan Dutcha Nee (very famous Thai artist), Michelangelo, and Da Vinci.

    Special thanks to Winit Kumrai for translating.

    If you’d like to contact the artist or order a custom illustration, email Ditcha at ditchapongart_9@hotmail.com or call +66892612669.  You can also visit his studio in Chiang Mai’s Night Bazaar.

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