Artist Residency in Thailand-Southeast Asia Series
Works I created during my artist residency at Rajamangala University and works created from sketches abroad in Southeast Asia.
I used to work as a research therapist for children with autism. The kids were great; the work schedule and commutes were soul-draining. I reached a point of breaking and decided to quit and visit the places I always told myself I would go and do the thing I always told myself I would do. You see, I have two degrees- one in the awesome world of biological sciences and the other in the equally awesome world of printmaking. I decided to side-step my linear track bound for a job that actually has benefits and call myself an artist. Thus, here I am showing off my prints to you from the places I visited after quitting a huge chapter of my life.
It was pretty incredible being introduced to printmaking in Chiang Mai, Thailand. To be perfectly frank, I had no idea what I would find. I can tell you I was not expecting the level of perfection in technique that I did. What was interesting about the experience, was being able to draw out similarities between the Pacific Northwest printmaking community and the Chiang Mai printmaking community. What I found most interesting, however, were the differences.
As per usual, I found it difficult to process exactly what my feelings and thoughts were about my experience. Rather than write everything down, I chose to sketch things that stood out to me. Once in place for the residency, I was able to translate many of these into prints (one of which is now in the permanent collection of Rajamangala University). I was particularly drawn to the landscape interactions. At first, I thought I was being cheesy. I mean, landscapes? Really? I kept with it, though. Just going along with my gut because otherwise I may have become overwhelmed by the experience in the moment.
Looking back now, I think the landscapes were tugging at something in the back of my brain my conscious alert self was not able to take time to analyze. The use of land and space in Thailand is very different from Seattle or the Northwest, in general. Along the Mekong, small fishing boats are used to catch fish daily. This is incredibly sustainable and leaves a much less devastating footprint behind than does commercial fishing (this also happens in SE Asia for sure, but not to the extent other nations rely on it). Seems great, but then I see example of non-eco friendly activities take place simultaneously. For example, at the University, harsh silk screen chemicals used for cleaning were dumped right into the street behind the university, leeching out into the nearby soil.
I still haven't fully processed through my time spent there. I hope to go back soon and spend more time getting to know the Thai artists I was able to meet. Learn more about the techniques that differed from what I was trained to do in school.
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