Thai pop art is having something of a moment with plenty of exposure at home and abroad. Graffiti street artist Alex Face’s three-eyed, rabbit-onesie-clad babies are recognizable pop icons with a message, while Gongkan has had a series of high-profile collaborations — among them, with a musician, a supermarket and a camera maker — that featured his deceptively naive characters.
But they aren’t the only artists who are making a splash around the world. Here are some names to look out for.
Yuree Kensaku, who is half-Thai and half-Japanese, is no newcomer to the art world. A regular feature in galleries around Bangkok, Kensaku’s cartoonish yet sinister works have also been showcased in exhibitions from Taipei to Moscow. Kensaku’s artwork now hangs in the permanent collections of museums in Yokohama, Singapore and in the MAIIAM in Chiang Mai. A work like Bleu Blanc Rouge draws on her time as an artist in residence in France, depicting a cat as a gussied up Marie-Antoinette character surrounded by floating baguettes and as a black artist character wielding a paintbrush who might just be a let-them-eat-cake downtrodden soul.
Varagun “Andy” Chongthanapipat, the artist who goes by MRKREME – and who has a master’s degree in Industrial Design from the Pratt Institute in New York – follows a tradition of uber-creatives who lend their wild imaginings to a wide variety of pursuits and across creative genres. One of his series features monsters who all have elaborate backstories and inhabit his Kooky World. Each monster comes from its own ecosystem, and their interactions with each other form the narrative arc of the series. From a mushroom thief to a toy glutton, viewers can follow their adventures as MRKREME makes these characters available on everything from postcards to figurines. MRKREME’s own distinctive tag is also on his fashion line.