Believe it of not Chiang Rai has several dozen established and well-known artists – among them Thawan Duchanee, Chalermchai Kositpipat and Somluk Pantiboon – and hundreds of other talents in all genres of art. It is believed that the number of well-known artists (excluding persons from musics industry) born in Chiang Rai is just behind Bangkok.
Many of the artists exhibit their works at galleries adjacent to their homes and studios, which in many cases, they have designed themselves. The artists here usually open their homes and studios to special guests to show their work. Their homes reflect their personalities and aesthetic, and as such are the ideal environment in which to display their work. These studios and galleries have become popular meeting places for friends, art lovers, critics and collectors all year round.
Let’s find out who the local Chiang Rai artists are.
Aphirak Punmoonsilp (อภิรักษ์ ปันมูลศิลป์ )
One of the distinguishing features of the impressionist art by Aphirak Punmoonsilp is the way the flowers float across the canvas, as if there really is a breeze. For Aphirak art is a form of emotional release and the natural outdoor space has become his studio where his amazing talent comes to life on the canvas.
Address: 79 Moo 10, Ban Mai Pattana,
Pasang Municipal Area, T. Pasang, A. Mae Chan, Chiang Rai 57110 Tel. 08 1603 2758
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Songdej Thipthong (ทรงเดช ทิพย์ทอง)
Songdej is a passionate artist with great skill in construction and patterns in the world of Thai architectural art. His work is built upon the foundations of the Buddhist faith and it recounts the wisdom into its patterns. His work also reflects the contemporary expression of today. For instance, he uses the traditional tale of ‘Nowakop the Millionaire’ as inspiration to tell the tale of the ninth Buddha, which reflects Thailand’s “charity”.
With his passion for art since childhood, the paintings created by Songdej Thipthong are unique for their simplicity – light drawings with a sense of tenderness reflected in each piece. The content contained in his works perfectly reflects the personality of a man who’s grown up in Lanna society, in a valley where Buddhism has a strong influence on everyday life. That’s why all his work purposefully portrays peacefulness and the faith man has toward religion.
Address: 68/1 M.1 Ban Mae Kham Sobpeun, T. Mae Kham, A. Mae Chan, 57240
Chiang Rai 57240 Tel. 0 5377 9494, 08 9555 0758
Naris Rattanawimol (นริศ รัตนวิมล)
Naris Rattanawimol is an artist who sees tenderness in rough stones. He carves a number of stones and turns them into gracious Buddha images. From huge rough heavy stones, it takes time, great energy, and certainly great devotion for the artist to create such a beautiful piece of sculpture. Above all, these pieces are all done purely by his faith in religion.
Tel. 053-733412 Fax: 053-734533
Doi Din Dang Pottery
Artist: Somluk Pantiboon (สมลักษณ์ ปันติบุญ)
Well known for his ceramics, pottery created by Somluk- Pantiboon contains the perfect blend of the four elements: earth, water, air and fire. Combining all these elements with his hands, the quality and uniqueness of his work has been proven by his domestic and international success.
Somluk Pantiboon is an international artist whose award-winning ceramics are flavoured by a great sense of the locals. Born in Chiang Rai and trained in Chiang Mai, Somluk worked for five years on pottery and printing projects at Khmer and Laos refugee camps before training with master ceramicists in Japan.
His training in Japan allowed him to fully understand how a variety of influences and techniques may be absorbed and distilled. On settling in Chiang Rai, Somluk and his wife, Tamako, founded Doy Din Dang, a showcase and studio for his work. Nestled amidst idyllic scenery, Somluk and Tamako are ever-present to greet visitors, and their café adds to a certain ambiance.
Tel. 053-705291, Fax: 053-706128
Baandam the historic art museum of the national artist Thawan Duchanee
Artist: Thawan Duchanee
Thawan Duchanee is an icon amongst Thai Contemporary Artists, having gained a reputation not only at a national level but also at an international level. Baandam is a powerful repository for Thawan’s spirit, and is ripe with the fruits of his creative journey. Baandam has become a part of Thailand’s cultural heritage, maintaining the immortal work of Thawan Duchanee.
Chiang Rai Ai Oon Gallery
Artist: Chaiwichit Sitthiwong (ชัยวิชิต สิทธิวงค์)
The paintings created by impressionist artist Chaiwichit Sitthiwong mostly portray the surrounding nature; from rice fields, to mountains, rivers and flowers. His love of nature draws him to travel to numerous locations and really immerse himself in the natural beauty of Chiang Rai.
Address: 26 Moo 2, T. Ban Doo, A. Muang, Chiang Rai 57100
Tel. 053-702647, 086-6709581
Home Haeng Hug Gallery
Arist: Teerayut & Orapin Suebtim (ธีรยุทธ & อรพิน สืบทิม)
Teerayut and Orapin Suebtim are a husband and wife team who’s inspiration comes from each other. Teerayut uses water color to create his realistic paintings of flowers, whereas his wife Orapin paints females in acrylic color. Indeed they are the Ying and Yang of the Home Haeng Hug Gallery.
Address: 60 Moo 1, Soi 8, T. Nanglae, A. Muang, Chiang Rai
Tel. 081-7845592, 086-1852271
E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wat Rong Khun
Awarded the Silpatorn Prize in visual art in 2004, Chalermchai Kositpipat was also awarded with a gold medal in the national competition when he was in his final year in college. After partly creating the murals at Buddhapadipada Thai Temple in London, he poured his passion and devotion into his masterpiece – Wat Rong Khun, in his hometown Chiang Rai. Apart from this exquisite temple, an exhibition room where his other works have been displayed is also located in the temple area.
Tai Yuan Art Gallery
Chalong Pinitsuwan (ฉลอง พินิจสุวรรณ)
Chalong Pinitsuwan creates his outstanding art with ballpoint pen. Taking a close look at his work reveals that every single detail of the piece; from light to shadows, buildings, mountains, rivers, sun and people, can be seen. Thousands of individual marks unite in harmony to form a single image. It actually surprises people to learn that all these amazing drawings are simply created with a ballpoint pen.
Address: 250 Moo 15, Soi 3, Rajyotha Rd., T. Rob Wieng, A.Muang, Chiang Rai 57000
Tel. 053-712137, 089-6319438
Promma Art Gallery
Artist: Promma Inyasri (พรมมา อินยาศรี)
Delicacy and exquisiteness is the best way to define paintings by Promma Inyasri. All the shades and lines he creates represent his roots; from his painting of the Buddha’s footprint to pictures of elephants, great Naga, and the Trayastrimsa, or the fifth of the heavens of the Kamadhatu where God Indra lives. Even though he graduated with an art degree, it
took eight years for him to become the well known artist he is today. Throughout the past 8 years, he has also been a farmer and businessman. But all successes do cost great effort and sacrifice, don’t they?
Address: 7 Moo 7, T. Wiang Nua, A. Wiang Chai, Chiang Rai 57210
Tel. 0 5366 2469, 08 9563 3325
Phanthong Saenchan (พานทอง แสนจันทร์)
Formerly an employee at an electronic devices supplier company in Chiang Mai, Panthong Saenchan has now quit his job and become a full-time artist. His works are recognizable for his unique style which involves shaking off the colors to form the pictures. Most of his work has a Buddhist theme,reflecting his roots.
Address: 36 Moo 12, Ban Patueng, T. Doi Ngam, A. Phan, Chiang Rai 57120
Sompol Yarangsee (สมพล ยารังษี)
In the middle of a valley called Wiang Kalong, Sompol Yarangsee, a realist painter, has found his passion for flower paintings. His works are rich in atmosphere and mostly portray the sweetness of wild flowers blooming in the lush green valleys, so typical of the region.
Address: 146 Moo 1, Ban San Maked, T. Wiang Kalong, A. Wiang Papao, Chiang Rai 57260
Tel. 082-381-9807, 089-835-5690
Nitaya Tamwong (นิตยา ตามวงค์)
Nitaya Tamwong has created an artistic oasis in the middle of a rice field in the valley of Wiang Kalong, Wiang Papao District in Chiang Rai. As a cliché, ladies are matched with flowers. Nitaya has brought the liveliness of flowers to her canvas in different aspects. Not only are her paintings beautiful, they also tell the stories of Nitaya’s attitudes towards different aspects to life. Apart from flowers, the richness of rice fields is also one of major themes she explores. And so, Nitaya’s Colorful Art Garden is indeed the “heart of Wiang Kalong”.
Address: 169 M.11 T. Wiang Kalong, A. Wiang Papao, Chiang Rai 57260
Do’s & Don’ts When Visiting an Art Gallery
There are plenty of galleries in Chiang Rai, however, most of them are located quite far from one another and it’s impossible to visit them all in one day. It’s therefore recommended to decide which galleries to visit and choose a route carefully. It is also important to remember that for most Lanna art, much of the inspiration comes from Buddhism.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to bear in mind when visiting an art gallery.
1. Aesthetic Rule: Do not touch any piece of the exhibited work as some of them may be fragile and may be damaged by being touched. Some art pieces take a very long time to complete, with great devotion and effort by the artist. It is necessary to keep this in mind and try not to do anything that may cause damage to the work.
2. Silence: Sometimes, it takes time to appreciate and understand each piece of art. Concentration and silence are needed. So try to make as little noise as possible to avoid disturbing the others.
3. Research: Doing some research about the artists and their work beforehand will give you a greater appreciation for an exhibition when you visit a gallery.
4. Dress code: Since the exhibitions include Buddhist-related art, it is important to be dressed properly and not too casually or indecently. Covering up will also protect you from the hot sun in Chiang Rai.
5. It is recommended to call before visiting galleries, as some are closed on different days and may have different opening hours