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Lockdown Lowdown: Illustrator Terawat Teankaprasith on a post-pandemic art world

As Bangkokians go through another round of lockdown, they have creatively adapted their homes to function as offices, gyms, art studios, and so much more. In our Lockdown Lowdown series, we talk to professionals from different areas of life to discuss how they are keeping on with their careers, what they are doing to stay sane during the new normal, and give us tips on how to live a better life at home.

Textiles have always been Thai artist Terawat “O” Teankaprasith’s favourite canvas. Having designed prints for brands like Sretsis, Painkiller, and Uniqlo, his most recent work was for Hermès in the form of the Carré 90 Masan & Masan scarf as part of Hermès’ autumn winter 2021 collection. Teankaprasith’s design was one of the six winning designs for the Grand Prix du Carré Hermès scarf designing competition. Recently, he was tapped to create Hermès’ latest window display featuring his winning scarf design titled  “The Journey of Masan.”

Despite his celebratory feat as the first Thai to design an Hermès scarf, Teankaprasith continues his daily work as a creative director for his creative agency, projecttSTUDIO. We recently spoke to the artist about his creative process in lockdown, his thoughts on the post-pandemic art world, and of course, his love for textiles.

Along with 10 other Le Grand Prix du Carré Hermès finalists, Terawat Teankaprasith, (far right) was invited by Hermès to learn about the brand’s scarf making techniques in Paris.
Image credit: Design Boom
What do your days look like right now? Talk us a little through your daily routine during this time.

Most of my day is spent working from home for my design agency projecttSTUDIO. I run the illustration department with three team members. My mornings are mostly spent on Zoom calls. Once we have our assigned tasks, we touch base throughout the duration of each project.

Because I spend a lot of time on screen, I try to take breaks to draw and sketch. I also make sure to check up on my pets and my loved ones before resuming my daily responsibilities. I usually end the day with some light exercises that are easy to do at home.

How has COVID-19 and the lockdown affected your artwork?

The uncertainty of the whole pandemic has definitely put a lot of pressure on me professionally, but I use that to push myself harder. Thankfully, this hasn’t affected my personal projects and passions.

“The Journey of Masan” window display Image Credit: Hermès

What is the best idea you had during this time? What is the worst?

The pandemic has changed many things. I couldn’t pursue some of my ideas due to the limitations within the lockdown. But holding onto things that could have been is a terrible way to live through these times. I believe the best mindset to have is to learn to adapt and be content with what you’re currently working with.

Hermès Carré 90 Masan & Masan scarf, designe by Terawat Teankaprasith
Image Credit: Hermès

Where do you find inspiration these days? Who or what is influencing you?

When it comes to my professional work, I’m inspired by my clients. I look for ideas that match my clients and what they like because I want them to be happy with what we create for them.

For my passion projects, my inspirations come from within. I go through all the images that I’ve captured in my memories and pick out the ones I want to use as the foundation for what I create. It’s nice to have everything in my head so I’m ready to go, rather than trying to look externally for inspiration when I don’t know where to start.

How do you stay motivated?

This past year, I had the chance to create something that I consider the epitome of my professional career as an artist. This piece is what motivates me to want to be better going forward.

Image Credit: @oterawat via Instagram
Have you picked up any new hobbies or skills? What are they?

I usually don’t shop online, but it’s something I started doing in lockdown. It’s so much easier than going out to shop! I enjoy endlessly browsing things to shop online, which has led me down a rabbit hole of buying vintage textiles. Since I work with them a lot, I have a fond appreciation for them. I am currently in love with Hawaiian shirt patterns, especially the types used to make scarves – but they must be vintage! I’ve been buying so many of these vintage Hawaiian shirts (and I’ll admit, I wouldn’t even wear some of them), that collecting them has become my new hobby.

Image Credit: Hermès
What is the first thing you will do once things go back to “normal”? 

I want to take my loved ones out for a meal.

What are your future plans?

My priority is setting new goals that are in line with the opportunities that come my way. I also want to experiment with formats that I haven’t touched before such as prints, 3D, installation art, and crypto art.

Image Credit: @oterawat via Instagram
How do you think the world of art has changed/will change after the pandemic?

I can’t really speak to this on a broad scope, but from a more immediate perspective, things will definitely change. People can’t visit galleries to experience art in person anymore. Galleries and museums that rely on frequent collaborators will no longer stand in the face of a newer generation that likes novelty.

NFTs have also democratised art in a way that hasn’t been done before. Artists from all walks of life now have equal opportunities to showcase their talent and creativity. Many artists I know are pivoting toward NFTs, which has opened me up to many possibilities and a number of exciting surprises in the world of digital art.

Lastly, a word of advice for other artists and creatives during this time:

Having good taste is important, but it’s the fundamental components like lines and proportions that matter.

Minnie Ongsricharoenporn
Managing Editor, Bangkok
Minnie is a distance runner and fitness junkie who is always on the lookout for her next runcation destination. Gyms, spas, and hotels are her natural habitats. She hopes to complete all six World Marathon Majors one day.