Art has many purposes. As one of the greatest goods of human experience, art is used to teach, to urge, to challenge, to serve, and even to support a revolution! 29-year-old Thai Chinese artist Phatchara Pantanakul uses art to heal herself. This is her story.
- What inspired you to turn to art?
I went through a lot of stress at work. I had been relentlessly working in front of a computer, day after day, for six years. I couldn’t focus on anything, and that’s when I finally decided to quit my job. And suddenly, there was a lot of time on my hands.I decided to give myself some rest. I also began to draw again to treat my Major Depressive Disorder symptoms. I spent my time reading and going out for long walks. Gradually I picked up my interest in drawing again, and so began my journey towards healing my heart. Art was the best thing I did for myself.
I remember that I was always interested in drawing and coloring since I was in pre-elementary school. But sadly, I stopped after I joined university. So going back to an activity that I genuinely loved has helped me a lot. It’s a healing process everyday, and now I want to spread the joy through my art.
- Where do you draw your artistic inspiration from?
My grandparents are Chinese immigrants to Thailand and we speak in the Teochew dialect. My mother used to make me listen to Chinese songs when I was growing up. I ended up being deeply inspired by their culture – especially opera and movies. It has a lot of elements that can be translated as teachings for children. One of the reasons why I love staying connected to Chinese culture is because it’s not just unique, but also makes me nostalgic about my family.
- Describe your creation – Phatchi
When I got back to drawing again, I just instinctively started drawing things that were very close to my heart. Soon I found myself designing a character that was a representation of me. She is an Asian girl with braids in her hair called ‘Phatchi’. I got my idea about this character from the Chinese art of paper cutting. Especially about the lines that connect the character’s eyebrows, nose and mouth. I adapted it to my own line art style.
Phatchara’s imaginative character, Phatchi. “She is an Asian girl like me with braids in her hair”
- An artist of Chinese descent, and now living in Thailand. How has that influenced your art – and what you do in general?
I stay in Bangkok and the place inspires me immensely. The city has many interesting spots – they always have a story. That’s why I prefer walking around the city a lot. It allows me to see many facets of the culture. I watch people playing their part in various communities. My most favorite hangout spots are Old Town and Museum. Same time, it is always good a spot various Chinese influenced things along the way. I always click a picture of the places I like and draw them later. I mention about these places when I share my work with people so they can experience such beauty for themselves.
It feels really good to find something amazing like an old, traditional Chinese restaurant in a small lane when you’re exploring a city – just walking. It’s impossible to make such discoveries otherwise. I get enough time and space to stop by and appreciate the intricate details – like the pattern on the spice cabinet in that restaurant you love to visit.
- Are your illustrations for sale? Where can we follow your work?
You can follow my work and pictures from my travels on my Instagram profile. In the near future, I plan to host my own website where I will sell my work too.So stay tuned.