saddo was invited by the bukruk festival in bangkok, thailand, to paint a mural for their first edition. he was part of an international selection of street artists (16 european artists from 10 countries and 10 thai artists). each artist was allotted space for their mural.
saddo is back from asia now and he’s sharing his experience with us.
how did it happen that you attended the festival?
i think i was recommended by the guys from get freaky, a french illustration magazine in which i had some illustrations. they also organized a series of group shows in lille, bruxelles and hong kong in which i had a few pieces. and they were also partners in the organization of bukruk festival. so, i was invited to be part of the festival.
then, i had to look for funds for the flight, housing and food. i wrote to the romanian embassy in thailand and their answer was unexpectedly positive. they managed to get the funds for me, and they supported my participation in the festival. they were super enthusiastic and nice.
the festival is the first major collaboration between europe and thailand in the street art / illustration / lowbrow scene. it had a really nice exhibition featuring all the artists in the festival. i saw some really amazing art there, lots of awesome screen prints from nicolas barrome, amandine urruty, rick hedof, daan botlek, akacorleone, some beautiful big canvases and a huge 3d character by alex face from thailand, some super cool paintings on wood by lowbros, lots of good stuff. the show can still be visited at the bangkok art and culture center in siam square, until march 17th.
this was the first edition of the festival. how did the people receive it? and how did they receive you, the artists?
the people’s reaction was great. i think it was better than in other similar festivals in europe.
i was painting near a huge parking building, and the people working there, security guys, the guy who was picking up the trash, the annoying kid with the bike, they all seemed really impressed and happy, and they were always nice and helpful and smiling.
i think people are also pretty used to murals. i noticed that at least in the more commercial areas, there are lots of murals: colorful prints with crazy characters, but most of them are commissioned. so seeing some bigger, more artsy pieces being painted under their eyes was pretty exciting for the people.
there were lots of people taking photos, stopping their cars to yell “very cool!”, lots of people asking about the meaning and the inspiration behind the pieces, even a group of kids from an international school who were taking a tour of the festival asking really nice fresh questions.
tell me about your experience in bangkok.
my experience in bangkok was pretty much limited to sweating, trying to avoid rats, painting the mural, eating lots of awesome food and drinking shitloads of iced lattes. it was also really nice and rewarding meeting some of my favorite artists and illustrators, and to be able to hang out with them and watch them paint their murals, get some insight in their process and technique.
also, it was cool hanging out in the romanian embassy and having lunch with the ambassadors! 🙂
and did i mention food? there’s food everywhere, i was really amazed by the importance of food. i think you can just go in a random restaurant, put your finger on something in the menu, and most likely you’ll get something super nice and tasty. cheap, too! 🙂
other than this, the weather was a bit hard for me, really hot and humid, not the best weather to paint large murals. and the city is pretty crazy too, very big, lot of traffic, lots of crazy scooter riders trying to squeeze between cars, a lot of big concrete buildings, rats, dogs, snakes, crocodiles. :p unfortunately, i didn’t have enough time to see the nicer stuff. I mean the old part of the city, temples, more nature, etc.
what does one need to paint a large mural such as yours?
first of all, you need to have some nice people who can deal with all the hassle of organizing such a festival, getting funds for materials, artists, dealing with sponsors, authorizations to paint the walls, to close parts of the street, renting cherry-pickers for painting very high walls, or scaffolding for smaller ones, getting the paint, spray cans, brushes, and whatever other materials needed, etc, etc.
and then, you need to know how to paint, and how to feel really comfortable about painting such big sizes; make a sketch on paper, sketch out the line work with a light colored paint or with chalk on the wall, and then start painting…
was it your first trip to asia? did you enjoy it? what were your highlights?
yep, my first trip to asia, a bit of a cultural shock, mixed with an almost 24 hour trip, the fact that aitch wasn’t with me in this trip, lots of traffic and the sudden heat, the realization that the wall i was going to paint was higher than i expected and the cherry picker could only reach half of its height. at first, i couldn’t really say i enjoyed it. but then i got a new, smaller, nicer wall, i discovered iced lattes and food and the miracle of air conditioning. by the time i was about to leave, i had started to like it! especially that i had got to swim in gabriel’s pool (gabriel was the “official” photographer of the festival, and he also made the movie about the festival).
i’m really happy about my mural, about meeting all the artists, but i don’t think i’d like to live there. it was an interesting experience! 🙂
thank you, saddo!
click here for a map of all the completed murals.
photo and video credits: gabriel camelin, saddo, finerats.com