Suthamma (Ta) Thimkaeo is an exciting Thai painter whose works have gained international recognition and who is one of Singulart’s bestsellers. Working in a representational style, she boasts a versatile body of work that includes soft colors and shapes, inventive subjects, and influences of the cubist and surrealist movements. Her paintings are quirky, featuring figures with eggs for faces and curious characters playing jazz. Get to know Ta and her passion for painting through a typical day in her studio in Thailand.
Hello Ta! What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
I always make a cup of tea and take my two dogs for a walk on the beach. I’m a very early riser and I like to watch the sky changing by the second just as the sun is coming up. The dogs antics make me laugh and I can think about the day ahead. Then I’m ready to work.
What inspires you to create every day?
I once said that it would be easier for me to walk on the moon than to become an artist, yet I have now sold my work in over 43 countries. It was all thanks to a cheeky little sketch I did back in 2011- that drawing changed my life.
The more I paint and send my work around the world, the more my life changes. I had to leave school at 12 years old to work in the rice fields, and at 13 years old I was working in a sweat shop in Bangkok making shirts. This was my dream job- you trying working in a rice field in the baking hot sun from sunrise to sunset with no shade anywhere and you’ll understand why.
Now, people have written and told about my work, bringing tears of happiness to my eyes- you don’t need more inspiration than that. Every morning when I wake up, I want to get into my studio and bring my imagination to life.
What does your work space look like?
Most Thai houses have a large space under the main part of the house used for cooking or laundry. I use my space for a studio. It has everything I need but most of all it’s quiet. When I’m in there it’s my world and I do everything from painting to packaging the work. I love it when I’m in my studio because I am never interrupted!
Describe the core of your technique or style.
Nowadays I paint mostly with a palette knife. I just love the feel of it and the texture on canvas. I sketch out my idea on the stretched canvas and then get to work with the brush and knife.
What are your top 3 studio essentials?
My imagination, my heart, and my palette knife.
How do you know or decide when an artwork is finished?
I’ve been asked this question many times before, and I always answer that I know when it’s finished when I’m happy with it, and when my painting is sharp and focused.
What do you like to do to unwind after a day’s work?
Although I’m an early riser, I often work till late in the night. I may sit for a while and catch up with the news on the iPad, but it’s not long before I’m ready for bed.
What’s your overall favorite aspect of the creative process?
Once I have an idea in my head, I want to get it on the canvas as quickly as possible. I love to see the idea come out of my head and see it hanging on a wall.