Bangkok’s cultural scene never fails to impress us with its new talents and thought-provoking arts. The city has become a hot haven for dynamic up-and-coming artists, welcoming innovative ideas and talents with open arms. Dedicated to all these creatives in town, this series explores the journey and the edgy personalities of some of the most notable rising stars in the country. 

We got candid with the stylishly creative, fanciful, vibrant, and very humble Thai artist and fashion designer, Phannapast Taychamaythakool. Her unique and vivacious collection of illustrations and her love for Southeast Asian folklore and animal motifs in her work make Phannapast one of the most striking artists in the industry.

Phannapast made her mark on the global art map when she was discovered by the global fashion house, Gucci, via her Instagram page. Infusing passionate romance and modern fairytales in her work, Phannapast Taychamaythakool, designed a stunning graphic book to promote the “Le Marche des Merveilles” jewellery line in the most gorgeous way.

After she earned her degree in Fashion Designing at Chulalongkorn University, she also happened to be the creative director for the Thai fashion brand, Kloset. The road to success has been bumpy, but Phannapast has always been grateful and appreciative of what she has achieved, which makes her so honest and down-to-earth.

Sitting down for a chat with her, here’s her rainbow of inspiration.

Describe yourself in three words.

Vibrant. Over-the-top. Attention to detail.

What do you like about illustration? And how did you get into it?

I actually didn’t know anything about illustration until I started studying  fashion design at Chulalongkorn University. Once I started getting into fashion, I understood the foundation and basics of illustration. When you start drawing, you see all these meticulous details, and then it just all comes together. I got really deep into fashion when I was cutting and sewing all these fabrics, and then I started paying attention to each detail and curated my own designs.

Name the last TV show you binge-watched.

Pucca on Disney channel. I watch it every night before going to bed.

What is your favourite part about being an artist?

I used to work in the design industry with clients, so when you do something for mass production, you can’t really be yourself. But now, as an artist, I feel like I have the liberty and freedom to do whatever I want to. I can be myself and express myself wholly, and that’s what I love about being an artist.

What is a character you would like to play from a TV show or movie?

Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb. Because sometimes I secretly feel that I am playing the role of a detective.

If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?

This Thai song called Ngao Mai by Suphattharakarat.

Who do you think is the most underrated artist?

Frida Kahlo.

Who is your favourite artist?

Frida Kahlo and Kantapon Metheekul (Gongkan).

If you were not an artist, what would you be?

If I wasn’t an artist, I would love to be a chef. I almost even went into the hospitality industry.

What is an Instagram account you’re obsessed with?

The Instagram accounts of Jared Joseph Leto and Daniel Roseberry.

What are you currently reading?

I am currently reading One Piece Cartoon by Eiichiro Oda. I’ve been reading this book since high school.

If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

The Life of Rainbow.

Do you believe in fairy tales?

Yes, definitely. Because at home, my family and I have this Chinese-Thai belief which involves a lot of folk tales. So I just grew up believing that.

What is your catch phrase?

‘Gnong mak mae,’ which is a Thai slang used when something is confusing. I say that a lot.

What’s a wardrobe staple everyone should own?

Black underwear.

Name 3 essential items you always like to carry in your bag.

I always need a toy in my bag, like a doll. A lipstick. And pen/pencil and a notebook.

What is your favourite spot in Bangkok? And the best thing about this city?

Samphaeng. It has everything — from crafts, food, and toys, to people from all walks of life. Also, it’s near the Somchai stationery store where I like to get my supplies. I love Sapmhaeng.

In Bangkok, we have food everywhere so we can roam around the city and eat anytime. Unlike other places such as Europe, where you can’t really find food 24/7.

Do you have any favourite from your own work?

To be honest, I like every piece. And, every time someone is about to purchase my work, I have to deeply consider the person I’m going to hand over my art to. All my artwork is very special to me.

Could you tell us about the Le Marche de Merveilles jewellery collection and the Gucci Art Wall in New York?

Initially, I started with DIY sneakers and Gucci’s Bloom Acqua di Fiori perfume. Then, opportunity knocked on my door.

I was approached to be a part of this project. I was able to create a series of fairy tales that narrated three adventures taking place in The Wonder Factory run by all kinds of creatures crafting Le Marche de Merveilles jewels and charms. There were different animal motifs and myths for each one.

For example, one of the stories is about a love affair between a panther and dolphin, which symbolises gender diversity. Another one is a dancing elephant with a delicate floral pattern that is cheerful and smiley just like friendship should be. The blue cover has been named “Phraya” representing the river, and the pastel yellow is called “Phra-Chan,” and then “Arun” symbolises The Temple of dawn. All the colours of the characters are based around Thailand’s traditional colour ways.

Would you like to add anything else? A message for young aspiring artists who want to pursue this as a career?

Don’t feel disheartened, continue to work hard and diligently. Imagine, you are in a gold mine, and you have to keep digging until you find the chunk of gold.

My mom always tells me that nothing comes easily, and you have to work hard to get there. If today is not your day yet, then it’s ok, just keep working and your day to shine will come. The most important thing is that you should know what you want in life and what your goals are.

You have to be clear about what you are fighting for, and know that if you want a rainbow, you must also have some rain.

Alisha Pawa
Writer
Alisha is a passionate dancer and is always creating her own choreographies. She is a fan of rom-com novels, a coffee-drinker who loves tea, and is always on-the-go for her midnight chocolate cravings. She hopes to tick-off her never-ending bucket list one day by hosting her own travel show.