• EXHIBITIONS

    2014 - CHANGMOH


    Exhibition dates: 27 MAY – 15 JUNE
    Opening: Tuesday 27th May, 6 – 8pm

    Thai sculptor and painter, Naidee Changmoh, says his art is inspired by children. Hardly surprising, since he lives at a kindergarten.

    His girlfriend owns the privately run kindergarten which provides care and education for 150 children under the age of six in the suburbs of Bangkok, and their home is next door. In fact, the romance blossomed after Changmoh's girlfriend approached him to run classes for the children. He was already a celebrated ceramicist at the time.

    So what was his art like before he was immersed in the world of children? ‘The same,' says Changmoh, with a smile. His delightful ceramic figures and large painted canvasses, depicting small children and a cherubic novice monk, will be on display from 27th May - 15 June.

    One thing that is different about Changmoh's art since his move to the kindergarten is the inclusion of the children's work in his pieces. ‘When I observed the children painting, I could see that their creativity is so pure. I wanted to combine my work and the children's work in one painting.'

    While it may seem strange - and a little brave - to allow children free range on your canvas when you are an accomplished artist and they are unskilled beginners, the results are surprisingly cohesive and successful. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

    Changmoh uses a new type of water-based acrylic which appears matt when the piece is finished. ‘Most people think that acrylic paint is shiny,' he says. The flat finish, combined with his sombre colour palette, lends a gentle gravity to subject matter which is otherwise playful and light-hearted.

    Changmoh also takes inspiration from a series of Japanese cartoons of a young monk which he used to watch on TV when he was very young. ‘When I was at uni, drawing, I would think about this cartoon figure and create my own character who had quite a large head. Half of my work is creating this novice, this young monk.'

    A Buddhist, Changmoh says his religious belief informs his art. ‘Always part of my work has this religious philosophy behind it.' He has been commissioned by a patron to create a number of concrete sculptures for a Buddhist temple in Paris.

    Though he studied painting as an art student, for the past 20 years, his main interest has been in ceramics. In the past few years, he has been invited to attend conferences and hold workshops in China, Singapore and Taiwan, and is invited to Italy and the US later this year, and India and England in 2015. Last year he came to Australia by invitation to give a demonstration at the tri-annual national ceramic event held in Gulgong in central western NSW. From that exchange, he was invited to the visiting artist program at the National Art School during May this year.

    ‘The clay is different in every country and I adapt myself to the local clay. I don't know what I'll encounter. It took me two days to get used to the clay here and then there were no problems. The artist has to adapt. If the local people can use it, I can too,' says Changmoh.

    ‘With my clay figures, I start from the base and build up by coiling and pinching to make the form. That way you can control the way you want the piece to go. My figures mostly have bases but are hollow. I don't usually lose work in the firing process because the temperature I use is not high, only 1,050 degrees. Clay workers are usually firing at 1,250 degrees,' he says. 

    Thai sculptor and painter, Naidee Changmoh, says his art is inspired by children. Hardly surprising, since he lives at a kindergarten.

    His girlfriend owns the privately run kindergarten which provides care and education for 150 children under the age of six in the suburbs of Bangkok, and their home is next door. In fact, the romance blossomed after Changmoh's girlfriend approached him to run classes for the children. He was already a celebrated ceramicist at the time.

    So what was his art like before he was immersed in the world of children? ‘The same,' says Changmoh, with a smile. His delightful ceramic figures and large painted canvasses, depicting small children and a cherubic novice monk, will be on display from 27th May - 15 June.

    One thing that is different about Changmoh's art since his move to the kindergarten is the inclusion of the children's work in his pieces. ‘When I observed the children painting, I could see that their creativity is so pure. I wanted to combine my work and the children's work in one painting.'

    While it may seem strange - and a little brave - to allow children free range on your canvas when you are an accomplished artist and they are unskilled beginners, the results are surprisingly cohesive and successful. The whole is definitely greater than the sum of the parts.

    Changmoh uses a new type of water-based acrylic which appears matt when the piece is finished. ‘Most people think that acrylic paint is shiny,' he says. The flat finish, combined with his sombre colour palette, lends a gentle gravity to subject matter which is otherwise playful and light-hearted.

    Changmoh also takes inspiration from a series of Japanese cartoons of a young monk which he used to watch on TV when he was very young. ‘When I was at uni, drawing, I would think about this cartoon figure and create my own character who had quite a large head. Half of my work is creating this novice, this young monk.'

    A Buddhist, Changmoh says his religious belief informs his art. ‘Always part of my work has this religious philosophy behind it.' He has been commissioned by a patron to create a number of concrete sculptures for a Buddhist temple in Paris.

    Though he studied painting as an art student, for the past 20 years, his main interest has been in ceramics. In the past few years, he has been invited to attend conferences and hold workshops in China, Singapore and Taiwan, and is invited to Italy and the US later this year, and India and England in 2015. Last year he came to Australia by invitation to give a demonstration at the tri-annual national ceramic event held in Gulgong in central western NSW. From that exchange, he was invited to the visiting artist program at the National Art School during May this year.

    ‘The clay is different in every country and I adapt myself to the local clay. I don't know what I'll encounter. It took me two days to get used to the clay here and then there were no problems. The artist has to adapt. If the local people can use it, I can too,' says Changmoh.

    ‘With my clay figures, I start from the base and build up by coiling and pinching to make the form. That way you can control the way you want the piece to go. My figures mostly have bases but are hollow. I don't usually lose work in the firing process because the temperature I use is not high, only 1,050 degrees. Clay workers are usually firing at 1,250 degrees,' he says.