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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Showbiz

When art comes alive

The Nation/ANN | Saturday, May 3, 2014

After drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors last year, the Living Arts Festival has returned to Ratchaprasong in Bangkok this weekend, brightening up the neighbourhood with street performers and 3D paintings.

"Our aim is to develop this festival every year and work to make it bigger, better and more interesting," says organiser Yuth Wanichanont of Nannapas Publisher.

"Last year, we had a terrific response from Bangkok residents and tourists and many of the paintings went viral," adds Korakot Srivikorn, marketing communication director of Ratchaprasong Square Trade Association.

"This year we are anticipating some 300,000 people to take in these breathtaking shows and remarkable paintings in 3D and 4D."

Covering a total exhibition area of 100,000 square metres, the festival takes in the Platinum Fashion Mall in Pratunam, Gaysorn, Groove@CentralWorld and the Ratchaprasong Skywalk. The Bt50-million showcase will offers works by 31 street artists, showcasing 3D and 4D paintings on the theme "Treasure Hunt".

There will also be living statues, who will aim keep visitors entertained for hours with their realistic poses.

Among the performers will be Stone Hearted, a Netherlands living-statue team that depicts a rock-covered couple pushing a baby in a pram. There's also a medieval dentist and the "Falling Waiter".

Others are Blanco from Germany, Australia's The Butler and Mr Doll, Turkey's MimDepo and Chocolate from Portugal.

"We also have a performance artist who hides his face to create his statue. I think he'll serve as an inspiration for any Thais with an artistic bent," Yuth says

New this year is tape art, a new trend in which artists create huge, elaborate murals out of coloured marking tape.

"I am fairly sure that this will be the first time Thai people will witness tape art," Yuth says.

Among the 3D artists will be Tracy Lee Stum from the US. "Her 3D paintings are best viewed through a camera lens or a mobile phone to take in the depth and dimension. Tracy's 3D art is made more stunning by the fact that she uses a technology called augmented reality or AR with her art. It's a very interesting approach," says Yuth.

Other 3D painters include Julie Kirk Purcel from the US, author of "Sidewalk Canvas", and Filip Mrvelj, Croatia's only 3D artist. He created the world's longest anamorphic picture - 140 by 30 metres - setting a Guinness World Record. Germans Marion Ruthardt and Gregor Wosik are also known for their giant 3D works.

Once again Chey Chawala is the only Thai artist taking part. A graduate of Rajamangala University of Technology Lanna's Arts and Architecture faculty, he was inspired to get into 3D painting by Mexican artist Juandres Vera. Chey drew praise for his work at the Chiang Mai Fest and Art on the Street in 2012.

"I haven't yet seen any 3D paintings from any Thai artists but hope to see many more after this festival," says Chey, whose real name is Ekkarin Inthasook. For the festival's press conference, he created a 3D painting of a snake with its eye on pirate treasure.

"Street art in 3D offers an illusion of depth and dimension. In creating these works, we have to clearly understand the subject we are drawing. The perspective of the drawing is an important factor. The best point for people to see the illusion of the painting is at the mark given by the artist. It's from here that the artist is telling people what he wants to communicate to them," Chey says.

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