If there is a person who always brings a bag to pick soil from the ground or who feels happy every time when seeing the soil poured and mixed with water. If there is that kind of person, that person must be ” Supot Kunanukun” an artist who uses earth clay as a raw material for doing his artwork. Adapt with the wisdom of the ancient method and the wisdom of artisan teacher which has been inherit for hundreds of years, until it becomes a unique work ‘Kunaukun’ showing a internal delight and internal growth.
Supot Kunanukun acquired Thai painting skills from Silpakorn University. After graduated, he spent his life being an art teacher at Rung Arun School, an alternative school where he started to learn and understand about his inner self. After 12 years of teaching, he decided to become fully independent artist making work for Terengganu State Palace, Malaysia, and has had the opportunity to travel to Dubai for art work for many years.
From earth to art
It has been almost 10 years of Supot Kunanukun’s life that has been intentionally recording and consciously perceiving various sense which has driven him to start making artwork with soil.
“Soil used as a material of art is nothing new. Appearing in old school paintings, this natural medium remains charmful and inspirational for applying this traditional technique atelier to contemporary paintings.”
Supot told that “Many people keep asking that painted artwork with soil not going to be last long. However, it’s not always correct. we must explain that the ancient wisdom i did is the wisdom and technique of the Ayutthaya period. which the color texture is not just on the wall surface but penetrates into the wall. Even nowaday, there are new innovations such as a non-glossy coating that penetrates into the paint, helping the texture of the painting not change and stay more longer.
A gift from the Earth
The first collection of Supot Kunanukun were made form the soil that can be found easily from Chiang Mai. It is ‘Yellow Soil’ from Hang Dong in Chiang mai province which this type of dust is famously used for making clay statues. Just only one handful soils can make a big size artwork with 2 meters!
Clay coloring is nothing complicated. However, it took quite a bit of time to prepare. Some clays are large and hard. must be beaten with a pound hammer until it turns into powder Then sift out the sand and grass clippings. Add some water and some acacia glue. will get a color suitable for painting.
Supot told that “Now i begin to observed and noticed surrounded things more than before, especially the ground to look for the soil and i’m happy to look at them . Once in a trip to Ajanta Caves in India. We collected a little of the soil from the caves and put it back in bags. We also left the a little money. on the ground to pray respect and so no one will come back to claim it (laughing). Every painting can identify where the soil was collected. It is an expression of gratitude for the land.”
Peaceful mind and happiness
Soil Art doesn’t give you the hot and flashy sensation as acrylic paints. but it gives a feeling of intimacy and warmth especially for city people. Soil paint may be a part that helps to create a bond that connects humans closer to nature by just looking.
For Supot as an Clay artist, The soil had given him miraculous happiness which make it easier for him to see the value of the little things.
“Instead of running around looking for something more for myself, It turned out staying with the soil is fun and joyful. By just look at the soil dust and those rocks is more than enough for me. I’m happy to see the water pouring and mixing with the ground. It also smells like fresh rain.” – said Supot
Award and Exhibitions
2010/2012 : International Photographer’s Honor Award “Narisnuwatiwong Day”
2022 : A Group Fresh Air exhibition by AIR (Artists in Residence) ,RCB Galleria River city bangkok
2021 : Portrait Prize 2021 River city Bangkok
2019: Solo exhibition “Time” at Baan Tuek Art Center, Chiang Mai Province
2018 : Group show “Bangkok Hall” Bacc, Bangkok Art and Culture Center
2017 : Participated in Asia Plus exhibition .In the hearts of Thailand throughout the world” The Queen’s Gallery