Get to know the artist ‘Monthian Yangthong’
‘Monthian Yangthong’ was born and raised in Phuket Province, Southern Thailand. Phuket is the only large size island that is govern as a province. Locating by Andaman Sea, Phuket had been enriched by historically cultural diversity through oversea commerce. Moreover, also fertile in natural resources as well as breathtaking sceneries.
Living childhood’s life closely with local wiseman as well as such skillful craftsman including banana stalk pith carving, coffin carving, masonry, carpentry and poem writing like his father, giving him opportunity to be a helper from a very young age. That was probably the starting point for his art career. “My family never forbade me to learn some art. Back then I used cardboard paper to make shadow puppets. I also made fish traps and bird cages. I was delighted to make and use these tools in daily living without understanding anything about art”, said Monthian. His skill was growing naturally then gradually transforming to the next level of creating works by hands, “Art”.
His path way as an artist started by received a Certificate of Technical Vocation in Applied Arts from College of Arts and Handicrafts, Nakorn Si Thammarat Province. After that, spending a year painting umbrellas and fans at Bosang Village in Sankamphaeng District, Chiang Mai Province aiming to gain experiences. Then in 1991, he enrolled for Bachelor’s degree from Faculty of Education, majoring in Art Education, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus. He graduated in 1996.
The Woodcut Printmaking
After graduation, Monthian worked in the art department of a hotel in Pattani Province. A year rolled by, he first started his career as an artist along with being salaried employee. Originally his art work was about his surrounding and memories using oil on canvas technique. Anyway, as his paintings were unintentionally kind of a reproduction of senior oil color artist. He withdrew himself to woodcut printmaking instead, which he did pretty well during his studies and also compatible with his usual job.
His turning point to be a full-time artist had occurred after his first solo art exhibition in Phuket province back to 2006. He then able to research, analyze, experiment, and create variety ways of art production. “I found a better woodcut technique that could delivered new sensation, furthermore, I kept improving the woodcutting aiming to creating certain line specifically for certain theme or story as I wished lines to be like flesh and blood in people portrait printings as well as water’s running and wind’s blowing in nature printings” said the artist. Apart from developing the mold or the woodcut plate, he also experiment on new printing’s medium to further find a new dimension of woodcut printmaking.
The brief process of the oldest form of printmaking, Woodcut printmaking start with preparing woodblock which depend on the size of image and sketching design. Then tools carving a design into the surface of a wooden block. The raised areas that remain after the block has been cut are inked and printed, while the recessed areas that are cut away do not retain ink, and will remain blank in the final print. The block is then inked evenly by using a dauber or a roller. Then placed the block on the bed of a press. And a sheet of dampened paper is placed onto the inked surface of the block. Once printed onto its paper support, the woodcut’s design appears in reverse of the original on the block.
Transferring memories from within featuring local custom of the hot season: The Summer Mantra
In this printmaking, the artist placed his self portrait, both front and side profile, on the right of the foreground. While the left, the farmer custom of rice harvesting was represented. Those elements were chosen to be align to reflect the artist’s memories. Closing eyes and still looking face of the peaceful front profile, the artist gazed into his mind which the rhythmic winnowing scene playing within. Yet he had printed rice grain over his face to further emphasize the action. The silence of the outer was intentionally a paradox of the inner’s sound. The willful side profile though was the source where rice harvesting scene had been passing on. And the composition arranged gives the sense of how stories are flying within the artist’s mind.
The scenes displaying in this art work, rice harvesting and winnowing, is the very last stage of rice field’s local custom. Normally those action would take place during the end of each year that the weather become cooler, or after the fall of the rainy season. However, in the southern part of Thailand that there are only two season, rainy and summer. And the rainy season take longer than the other region. Planting rice would be later as well as rice harvesting and winnowing. Yet different from the other, the south finish rice field during summer. Making this art work, as intentionally named and printed, the perfect representation and explanation of the local living exclusive to the south.
Becoming the printmaking composition
Monthian had formerly done quit number of portraits. Eventually those kind of work was no longer appealing to him the way they used to. “Portrait could not stimulate me nor my sense of art anymore”, said the artist. He then shifted to produce the rice field landscape instead. Nevertheless, he had reconsidered what he had gained during the time that portrait was a certain thing for him. “I thought back to those day how portrait had made me grow as an artist and also the only value that no other subject could give, human’s face expression”, added the artist. He improved his art work to be more than portrait or natural landscape by combining both element to complement each other.
An Appreciation from the National Artist, Somsak Chaothadapong
By the time Somsak Chaothadapong who is the National Artist was the guest of honor for the “Magic Field” exhibition’s opening ceremony in 2018. “Using an original woodcut method that requires skills, workmanship and the planning of carving wood for woodcut printmaking as well as a manual print method by hand, all the processes mentioned could not be accomplished by only the skillful craftsman but the Artist at heart”, stated the National Artist.
- 1991-1993 – Study period 3 times, Pattani
- 1996 – Contemporary exhibition Thailand-Australia at Hat Yai, Songkhla Province
- 1998 – Contemporary exhibition Thailand – Australia, Pattani
- 1999 – Nithararot, Samila Group, 9th time, Pattani
– Nirat, Andaman flavor in Phuket
- 2000 – Art Exhibition in Honor of Artists of Southern Artists in Songkhla
– One Exhibition of Art Education in Pattani
– Art Conservation Exhibition in Trang
- 2001 – Samila Group Exhibition # 11, Nakhon Si Thammarat
– Subconscious mind exhibition in Pattani
- 2002 – The Second Exhibition of Samila Group in Trang
– Clay Pottery Exhibition, Southern Region, Pattani
- 2003 – Hundred Art Exhibition, Local Phuket, Phuket
- 2004 – Rusa Milae Group, Budu Na Rice Noodle, Chamchuri, Bangkok
– The Patanian Group Exhibition in Phuket
– The Queen’s Birthday 72th Anniversary Celebration Exhibition, Bangkok
– The 1st exhibition of educational content at Pattani
- 2005 – Exhibition of Southern lifestyle in Pattani
- 2006 – Art Teacher Exhibition Southern Region, Pattani
- 2007 – Art Time Exhibition in Phuket / Songkhla / Pattani
- 2008 – 40th Anniversary of Education in Phuket
– The 1st Rocky Mountain to Andaman Exhibition at Chamchuri, Bangkok
– Exhibition of paintings and photographs in honor of His Majesty the King in Chiang Mai
– Phuket Exhibition to Kanchanaburi City, Kanchanaburi
- 2009 – Phuket Creativity Exhibition
- 2010 – The 2nd Mountain to Andaman Exhibition, Chamchuri, Bangkok.
– The 2nd International Visual Arts Exhibition of Thailand, Bangkok
- 2011 – Artist Exhibition under Santisuk, Trang / Bangkok
– Niratrot Art at Trang Hospital
– Exhibition of Happiness to the South in Hat Yai
– The 3rd Mountain to Andaman Exhibition in Khon Kaen
– The 84th Birthday Anniversary Celebration in Phuket
– Exhibition of International Visual Arts Association Of Thailand, 3rd time, Bangkok
- 2012 – The 4th exhibition of Rocky Mountains to Andaman in Krabi
– Exhibition of 50 Southern Artists in Hat Yai
– The ASEAN Artist Exhibition in Pattani
- 2013 – The Sri Trang Forever Exhibition at Hat Yai, Songkhla
– The 5th Mountain to Andaman Exhibition in Khon Kaen
– The 6th International Visual Arts Exhibition of Thailand, Bangkok
- 2014 – Santisuk Southern Border Exhibition, Yala
– Exhibition of Civilizations in Phitsanulok
– The 7th International Visual Arts Exhibition of Thailand, Bangkok
- 2015 – International Exhibition in honor of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn at Hat Yai,
– The 8th International Visual Arts Exhibition of Thailand, Bangkok
– Bangkok Footprint Life Exhibition / Phuket
– IDEAL & MINERAL exhibition in Phuket
- 2016 – Mini Art Exhibition in Phuket
– Bangkok Hortri Group Exhibition
- 2017 – Exhibition of the Visual Arts Association of Bangkok
– The 9th Mourning Exhibition in Phuket
– The Royal Phum Phum Ban Exhibition in Trang
– The exhibition of His Majesty the King in Thai Eternal Hearts in Krabi
– Exhibition of 100 days, 1000 pictures at Loei
– Exhibition of Father Phim Luk Phim at Buri Ram
– Visual Arts Association Exhibition The King who traveled to Bangkok
– Group Exhibition 108 in Krabi
– The MIND exhibition in Bangkok
– Exhibition to visit the Kingdom of Phuket
– Lions Art Charity exhibition in Phuket
- 2018 – The 1st and 2nd Phuket Art Club exhibitions in Phuket
– The 3rd Phuket art club exhibition, Krabi
- 2020 – Art Exhibition Yuyuan art and antique at Long 1919, Bangkok
Solo Exhibition :
- 2007 – Whisper from Pattani, Phuket
- 2009 – Way of Faith at Phuket
- 2014 – World Artists in Phuket
- 2016 – Civilized Bangkok
- 2018 – “Magic field” exhibition at Chamcuri Art Gallery, Bangkok