Death, pain and not dealing with it

Why is it that life has become to busy to even take time out to think. Why it it my mind longs for extra hours in a day but knowingly if I had extra hours I would still fill them with work or something to busy my mind.

Five years ago one of my close friends died. Life has never felt the same.

Four years ago my girlfriend at the time died. Life has never been the same.

These events solidified the absolute realisation that life can end in an instant. Having things close to your heart ripped away without warning is as much a reason to want to crawl up and die your self as it is a driving force to make the most of life.

For me the last five years have been the latter. I've kept myself so busy that I have barely had time to mourn and defiantly haven't had time to properly chill comfortably, there has always been something hanging over my shoulder. Money, mostly gathering enough to survive was an issue for a few years, in this way being freelance was all consuming. My days were filled with work and earnings were spent on supplies to do more work. I didn't treat myself to much with fear that I would go under and loose the independence I was fighting for. My only condolence was that every month I would look back at all the things I have done to earn money and cut out the things that I didn't enjoy, so in that way I made the struggle, no matter how hard, enjoyable and made it feel like it was worth fighting for.

Then came a time when the things I enjoyed started to cost more than my income, I started painting murals on public walls around town and after getting a spray addiction it was a slippery slope, cans cost money and walls are hard to sell. I needed to find a job. Finding work, starting new jobs, this became my new distraction, that and also trying to juggle the freelance stuff on the side, my aim was to get a stable income with minimal hours so I could afford to do what I enjoyed. No job that was fitting was found.

In the end I got lucky in a way I didn't plan, I found a forty hour work week job, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was a job as Art Director for an animation company.

At first I tried to juggle my freelance stuff on the side, body painting at clubs at night, doing murals and canvas work in the weekends and any spare week nights. It soon burnt me out, I had looked for an income so I could pay for what I loved doing, and when I finally found the job I had no time free time to do any of it.

I've been at this job two years now and it's become very comfortable, I am busying my mind with other things now. I ride BMX nearly every day, am writing my book in lunch times and every other night I'm not on my BMX and keep up an active social life. After all this, I get to bed at around twelve or one AM every day, wake up and start over. My mind is busy. My feelings hidden, my life is a mess but I hide it from even myself.

There was a time in New Zealand when I suffered from a deep depression, there are many reasons that I ended up in such a hole, drugs, alcohol and a steady job with predicable future being the most of it. When I was going through these times (which I wouldn't wish apon my worst enemies but am also glad I went through them) I talked to a detective who had been through some rough times as well. He was able to help me a bunch, his main piece of advice that really helped me in my dark days was 'make goals, then reach them'.

I made goals, some long term some short, I worked hard at them.. then completed them all in half the time I though it would. Being focused on something did clear my head by busying it, it did gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning, but when I accomplished all my goals had to ask myself, 'what now?' .

Do I just make more goals and reach them too? Surely life is more than just chasing something that's just out of reach? Are we all chasing a carrot?

A few blogs ago I made some more goals, I'll still work towards a few of them but over the next few weeks I am going to rethink how I perceive myself in this world. Tonight I had time with a close friend and the topic of Talei (my ex) and Jake (my close friend) came up. These are two people I have lost in recent years. While thinking of them I came to the realisation that all the time since their deaths I may have just been running, running from being hurt, distracting myself from the pain. Busying myself to rid depression.

Recently I had a three day weekend, I was going to take my new motorbike and do some travelling around Thailand, ticking a few goal check boxes. The more I thought about it though, the more I seemed to get stressed, I didn't quite understand it then, but maybe it was because I was afraid of being alone in my head.

I used to meditate a lot, at least an hour a day and once did a 14 day retreat that involved no talking and 11 hours meditation a day. I used to be able to still my mind, these last years my mind has been anything but still.

Even while writing this I've been distracted a few times, got up from my computer and done other things.

I decided that I didn't want to take the motorbike out of town, I wanted to relax for once. I booked a hotel near the local skate park I BMX at (not to far from my house) and packed my laptop preparing myself for a riding an writing weekend.

I ended up nearly breaking my leg and was in hospital at one AM getting fixed up. Because of this it was hardly the relaxing weekend I had planned but having to keep my leg up ment I did get a lot of writing done.

I was alone at the hotel so when I decided that my leg was so bad that I needed to get to the hospital I needed to ride myself there on my scooter. I packed my bags, strapped my BMX to my scooter and started riding.


I was alone when I decided that my leg was to bad to sleep with, I was worried it was broken because my shin was swollen badly and parts of my leg were going black. The swollen shin was pulsing but the pain was constant making walking very laboured. I limped around my room, packed my bag, got down stairs to my motorbike and drove myself to the hospital. On the way to the hospital I was singing and whistling to get my mind away from the pain, again I was distracting my mind from feeling hurt. Much like I have been doing for years.

Examples :

I set goals and reached them to take my mind off my depression.

I travelled to Mexico when Jake died.

I left Columbia for Indonesia when Talei died.

Lately I set some major travel goals and have been focusing on extreme sport to distract me from life.

I'm not saying goals and passion are a bad thing. Personally I need it all and love to accomplish and put 100% into what I'm focused on. The change in thinking is knowing when your keeping yourself busy to hide your feelings from yourself. I know I need to step back and take note more often, this way I hopefully won't get caught up in a whirlwind of distraction. I have decided to re-evaluate my goals and add things that will calm my mind. Starting now:

  1. Read more

  2. Chill

  3. Stop, sit and observe

    These tasks seem simple when written down, but these are things that are being missed. I'm sure this will develop further but for now I need to sleep.

  4. Go to sleep earlier

    Hope all is well. MD

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Motorbikes and Australian girls pissing

Another few weeks down and here I am putting pen to paper again, or more like keys to keyboard in our technologically infected age. I started my hunt for a motorbike with advice from the very person who suggested we ride from Bangkok to India, Ned. Ned’s a Kiwi guy who works here in Thailand. He teaches adventure sports on school camps and a few years ago I worked for his company in a mountain range near Bangkok. Ned’s a ‘matter of fact’ dude and already has his bike for the trip, he brought it through a dealer so I thought I’d give that a go too. Contacting the dealer on facebook, I asked him if he had any bikes in my price range (around $600) the first thing he replied was that $1200 was a more comfortable price, comfortable for his pocket I think but I was after a bargain. He suggested we meet and chat right away so jumped on my scooter and I went to his house only a few kilometres away from my home. I waited outside a 7/11 below the guys condo, recent rain had cooled the evening and car headlights swam over an oily road. Shane a heavy set, thirty something, Thai guy and his younger business partner turned up sporting the usual Thai smile. Shane spoke English very well and went on to tell me he worked and studied in England. His currently business was finding motorbikes for foreign people in Bangkok then helping them change registration and getting the bike legal. His bikes are said to come from all over Thailand and he says when given a deadline and deposit he can guarantee his team would find a bike on budget. To me it sounded like he was selling stolen bikes so I tread carefully and kept scoping him out. Upstairs in his office we Googled bike types I was looking for and explained the price ranges and how his business was a real one. He showed me his facebook where he had posted photos of his happy customers with their new bikes, any photo he was in though, he wore a V for Vendetta mask hiding his face, hardly trust inspiring. We left Shanes apartment and went to the car park below his condo, I memorised his room and floor number because I still didn’t trust this guy. In the basement car park he had a few bikes for me to check out,  the bikes he was selling were clearly over priced which made me think that maybe he was actually legit and making a living from buying and selling bikes. I rode a few different bikes but said goodbye before riding the 1000cc Kawasaki Ninja.. a bike I would surly kill myself on even in the carpark. I told Shane I would call him back if I want to use his service but first need to do more research. Over the next few day dredged Thai and English online classifieds and forums, I didn’t have much luck there until I one of my close BMX friends ‘View’ started helping. View is a twenty year old BMX riding and car enthusiast, when I told him what kind of bike I was after, a small Cafe racer type Honda, he loved the idea and finding me a bike became his personal mission. Every day he would send me a few bikes to check out and explained a lot of the grey area laws about modified motorbikes in Thailand. Eventually we found a bike in the province next to Bangkok, Nonthaburi. Our friend Pat drove View, Ao and myself out there on an extra dark and rainy Wednesday night. The was roaring down making driving visibility minimal. Thankfully by the time we finally arrived at the bike it had eased off and when I agreed to buy it, it had stopped. I was able to get home only . The bike went great, the previous owner was a mechanic so it was tuned well, a lack of battery meant the lights and Speedo didn’t work and the ignition looked like it had a screw driver punched in it years ago. It’s a 100cc Honda GL, an ancient little bike that has a lot of history but is also in good condition. I’m not sure yet if this small engine will be able to get me to India, I know a lot of people will laugh at the idea but that even makes it a little more interesting.  Over the next few months I’ll machine test it on the open roads and see if it’s worth keeping.
New bars, Rear mudflap, Seat, Mirrors, Smaller tail lights and indicators .. will change the colour this weekend

New bars, Rear Mudguard, Seat, Mirrors, Smaller tail lights and indicators .. will change the colour this weekend.. and maybe give it a wash

-------------- Saturday night I got on a plane bound for Australia. Three Thai artists, a Spanish artist and myself had been asked to come over and help paint a friends restaurant in Perth. All parties bar myself hadn’t been to Australia so everyone jumped at the idea. After nine hours of we are in the back room of Customs in Australia. The Thai boys are standing at stainless tables with their bags open ready to be searched. The hefty customs officer who dragged us all here tells Sandro and I we should wait for the Thai boys outside. They got thoroughly searched but got to keep their clothes on, the Customs officers had spotted food in all the boys bags. When filling out the arrival forms they all just copied mine so didn’t declare that their bags were crammed of Instant Noodles.
Mama noodles and packet ready meals

Mama noodles and packet ready meals

  Perth was fun for the week, we did enough painting to make me sick and saw some stereotypical colours of Australia. The area we were staying and painting in was Northbridge, an area in Perth city with lots of bars, clubs and kebab shops next to kebab shops. This clubbing area was directly between our house and the place we were painting, so nightly around 1 or 2am we would wander home through scattered groups of semi-coherent drunks and people out to make trouble. A night didn’t go by when something odd didn’t happen. A stand out moment was when a trashed girl who was all sorts of messed up came and asked us if we had any weed, one of her eyes was going south on its own and she was having trouble standing straight. A small loose, backless dress exposed her boobs on every sway and when she stumbled off she popped a squat and took a piss on the street, shook it off then carried on her drunken night. This is the impression the Thai boys were getting of Australian girls, but I assured them they are not all this maggot.
Alex Face X Gong X Diamond One

Alex Face X Gong X Diamond One

The crew

The crew

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The low down – Past, Future, present

Ok,  so here’s the deal The new year coming up (2015-16) will be the fourth anniversary of my arriving in Thailand. I arrived here after a short stay in Malaysia and five months sailing and exploring the western coast of Indonesia. Arriving here with a small back pack, a drum from Jamaica, ambition and the need for land under my feet, I ended up in Bangkok, a city that surprisingly meshed with me. The colours, people, food, grime, shine, history, culture, youth, you name it, Bangkok has it and it all appealed to me. I may need to point this out to people who've only heard nasty tales of this metropolis, but the dreamy life I found here didn't consist of sitting in gogo bars (girl bars) getting my fill of beer and woman. The first two years was I was consumed by art, I had run out of savings and started supporting myself by selling paintings, murals and doing odd jobs like body painting models. After two years of an exciting struggle with finance and art production, I applied for some teaching jobs. Teaching was something I’d said I would try many years ago while travelling central America but it wasn't for me.  I ended up leaning back on my animation training and became an art director for an international company making Pre-Vis TV commercials. My Bangkok life changed overnight, from having no money and days where I could pick and choose what I did, I became again a slave to a 9-5, but now my pockets were lined with cash. I moved out of my basic 3 bedroom Thai style house that me and friends were renting for $300 a month between four and moved to a condominium near the center of Bangkok. The condo had more comforts, was closer to work and was in an area where there was more food and lifestyle options. I’ve now nearly spent four years living two very different lives. Both styles of life have been interesting and both have their pro’s and con’s. I feel very lucky to have lived in this city with no money, and then again with money, I meet a lot of foreigners here who only see one side of the coin and find a simple Thai lifestyle hard thing to comprehend. So here I am, Mr. Bendinglifesrules, “I’m never going to work again” working day by day like everyone else. It has taken me a while to get used to and at first I tried to do everything I would when I was freelance after work and in the weekends. I soon burnt out and realized I would have to make some cuts so that I could stay awake at my day job. I would have left this job after saving enough for my next adventure if it wasn’t for one fact, I enjoy the work. I have been hired to manage people of a different culture and with a team of people under me we aim to raise the quality of the entire studio. A studio of two hundred hard working animators who together make up the best Pre-Vis animation studio in the world. It’s pretty neat. I stopped writing my blog routinely during the first two years here because I always had money on my mind. It wasn’t like I was some business tycoon wheeling and dealing, needing to be secretive, I was just trying to earn money to eat and live. I have never thought money was the center of our world so stopped writing because although the struggle was real, I lost interest in the blogs content. Now I have a 9-5 job the struggle for money is over, but I have once again entered a world where I struggle for time. My holidays every year, seem to be all spent on going home to New Zealand to be with my family, which I love,  but where is my adventure? My philosophy to find happiness has always been, ‘Try everything that you are interested in, then from the knowledge of experience, find what you actually like or don’t like, then remove what you don’t like from the equation. Hopefully your left with a life full of things you enjoy and make you happy.’ I try a lot of things. I think everyone should. There’s something special about learning or trying to learn new things, in Zen they call it ‘a beginners mind’ they say that this mind should be nurtured even if you become a master, you should always have an open, beginners, mind, it's part of being alive and fully interacting with your surroundings and the present moment. The question I have been losing sleep over these last few months has been this: ‘How do I add adventure back into my life?’ I have taken up BMX, it’s been good for my fitness and the adrenaline is great but it’s not adventure. I have started film photography and develop and print my photos the traditional way in my bathroom converted into a dark room, but it’s not adventure. Something needs to change. I have reached a point again where I need to step out of the norm, the norm for me now is a wild Asian city where everything is chaotic and in many ways upside down. I wonder if I’m now trying to fill a bucket that cannot be filled?  But I must try. Time for a new goal list. This list will vary and change as this year goes on but I need to make a start but by putting them down on paper (or this blog) this way they solidify and if you meet me later and I haven’t done them for some reason, slap me around and ask me why. Goals: By the end of 2016
  • Finish and publish my travel blog into a book format (now this book is around 90,000 words, since putting an end date to this task I have been working on it at least an hour a day)
  • BMX every BMX track/park in Thailand
  • Have a solo Exhibition
  • Ride a motorbike to India or equivalent (Vietnam, Myanmar, Malaysia, Laos)
  By the end of 2015
  • Be part of a joint photo exhibition in Bangkok.
  • Finish 30 Chapters of my book (currently at chapter 12).
  • Sell everything in my apartment I don’t use or need.
  • Buy a motorbike -make a BMX mount for the bike -Ride through Kantanaburi -Ride through Khao Yai
  • Be doing things interesting enough to blog about weekly or at LEAST bi weekly
  Next weekend I am going to Australia with some friends to do some graffiti in a restaurant and tomorrow I’m going to look at a motorbike to buy.. lets see how things go, but I need a change, if it’s not on the list above then it needs to be drastic. Thanks for reading, hope you’re out there doing what you love Matt  
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Night Etchings

Conscious dreaming -Exerts from a notepad beside my bed filled with bent words that were etched in darkness
Myself and a close friend were walking along a path that wound in and out of a densely forested area, there was a feeling like we had just been up to no good or were somewhere where we didn't belong. This friend of mine is another graffiti artist so this feeling was no stranger to us yet when a third person entered the scene, a man who rode past us on a nearby road on his bicycle, my friend and I stiffened up. We walked on trying to keep casual as we went, trying not to alert the seemingly suspicious man whose eyes were fixed on us as he passed.
                Our path lead us back into the forest and trees began to block our vision of the man on the bicycle. I turn to Cece and state that we should run for it, his expression mirrors my words and I briefly turn behind us to look for any paths in the thick forest. When I turn back to Cece he is gone.
                I panic a little, eyes and head darting around, searching the area he used to be, did he run already? Had he been taken, if so by who!?
"Cece!" I call out in as loud and quiet as I could muster "Where are you?!"
I spin on my heal and am startled by four floating mouths all facing each other, I ask again "Cece, where are you?" my eyes latched to the mouths in front of me. They speak.
"I hear this question in my mind every day, is life just series of repetitions? Am I just hearing this same question over and over from different mouths?"
With this question and an answer in my mind I wake up and reach for my pad and pen, what follows is what was released onto paper at around 2am 10.22.14 --------------
If our lives were just a repetition then that's all we would know, we wouldn't differ from plant or the likes of things that are unknowingly content on their cycle of growth and death. The fact that we already have, and do soak up information about our universe is enough of an argument to say that we are not a stagnant being, but an ever evolving systematic organism.
                We are not stuck in a cycle we are on an outward spiral and as an evolving being we are never content, we are always looking to progress ourselves. Being stuck in a cycle is an absolute nightmare for us and our mental states, our minds are constantly expanding  and as we learn more of our universe and knowledge of self our conscious and reality expands with it.
Some people are held back because they think that thinking differently could be ridiculed and shunned by others, that they would be thought of as 'crazy'... these thought patterns are bullshit.
Everyone having their 'own' personality and thought process is what's crazy, we are all made of the same genetic makeup, us as humans and us as a entity in this universe.  The fact that we all think we are individuals and actually act so to such an extent of creating wars to kill each other is one of the craziest things one could ever dream of.  Yet we do it anyway, maybe we know we would do it , or know we are doing it.
                Hypothetically if we were a whole we may have decided that separating into different organisms with 'individual' thought processes would be the fastest track to learning. Us wanting to kill each other because of this self imagined separation is just an unfortunate side effect of our division, one which in the grand scheme of living, discovery and learning doesn't really matter.
                 If you live to the age of 10 or 100 you still play a part of being , but if a child (or anyone for that matter) is to die we all feel hurt, hearing of a death especially a young one seems like such a waste, it's as if we loose a branch from a tree that could have gathered light, experience and photosynthesize information for the collective.
                We also think it's a waste when we see people spending their lives in ways we don't agree with, it could be somebody sitting in front of a play station smoking pot all day or a suit in an office counting earned money, both are wasting their lives if they are not conscious. If not conscious both will feel the underlying depression of an unfulfilled soul. Time for more sleep.
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Near Death in Laos, Fumes and Flights

I leant over the bed to unplug my phone from its overnight charge, grabbing the cord attached to the phone, I start to spasm as heat pulses through me, wave after wave of electric  through me. My body feels like it wants to pop, my hand was now glued to the phone and cable as more current flowed through me, I start to let out a scream as the tension rises in my body causing my  back to arch and feet lift off the ground, my quivering contorted body was now balancing on the bed by my stomach. As my skin stretches over my cramping muscles I start to topple to the left, as I do so the cord tightens and pulls from the wall.... my body relaxes in an instant and I take a breath. A backpacker in the room jumps out of bed
I was in Laos, a friend had paid for my flight here for a long weekend so that I could paint some walls at his hostel apart from the unexpected electrocution it was a dope weekend and being that the electrocution didn't snuff me from existence it has to be forgotten and the culprit charger thrown into a deep trash sack.
The weekend went down like this, flights from BKK with Nok Air apparently involve two buses transfers making an hour flight a 4-5 hour journey, still better than a 10 hour bus. I arrived in Vientiane Laos where I last got arrested for painting and held in a cop shop for two days to, ironically, paint again.
My German friend Steve flew Tom (MateTwo) and myself to him in Laos and gave us 100 cans of quality paint then said...
We had 3 days to paint and we smashed it, it was really fun having all the paint we needed and blank walls for days. Here are some pics.
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On the day of leaving I read some times wrong and missed my plane, classic, so had to catch the 10 hour bus I despise arriving at 7am then go to work at 9:30
Bring on Christmas and New Year in Thailand, I had checked flights earlier in the year and was going to go back to New Zealand for Chrimbo and NY, then in December flight prices doubled, so I decided to go back in February when the flights were cheap.
In steps Mum and Dad. I'm not shy to say I love and miss my Mum and Dad to bits and them being in New Zealand will always draw me back t visit. The majority of my mates are spread around the world and usually come back to see their parents for Christmas also. My old man being the smart ass/Wise man that he is said this to me on Christmas eve.
"It's better to come home for a short time over Christmas and be with your mates than for a longer time in February and hang out with yourself"
I was on a plane within 12 hours getting upgraded to business class and spent the next 7 days in New Zealand.
A few pics
 000020 000035 000034 000033 000038 000027 000011 New Zealand Steak000032 000020
I got given two cameras while I was there by some close friends. One 35mm Fujica and one Canon 1000D DLSR.
I don't have the charger or battery for the Canon but here is the best pics from my first roll of film in the 35mm
The two sunrise pictures are the first sunrise of 2014
 35mm film cow mountain 2014 first light sunrise new zealand 2014 first light sunrise new zealand new zealand beach sun fishing new zealand beach sun
I only spent a small amount of time in New Zealand because I wanted to get back to Thailand for a work meeting... yeah some might be thinking 'work meeting! that's hardly anti conformist'... well "HA" 😀 my jobs great at the moment so I didn't want to miss it.. Lucky too because my work laid it out for us. They flew all the big names in our company to Thailand and gathered a select few from the studio here in Bangkok and put us up in a 5 star hotel for the weekend, dat shit was plush! When I first went into the room I thought I had it wrong, there was no bed ! It took me a while to find that there was actually a bedroom attached to my private lounge and study.
Vie Hotel v hotel bangkok Vie Hotel v hotel
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Writing, Photography and Riots

Alright here we go, another blog entry even though I said I was going to leave it for a while.
 I have taken up writing again, so after slowing down for a few months expect some colorful stories of the exploits and shenanigans here from me in the land of smiles.
I've actually been writing a lot, I now write monthly for a Nightlife magazine called 'NINE' it is about Street Art, Graffiti and anything street. I have had an article out in the local rag as well as one coming out in Invasion, Asia's graffiti Magazine, so I figure, why leave my blog to rot.
Some major changes have been happening for me over here, I mentioned one in the last blog, I now have a job, it’s a job. I had forgotten what one was. I am art director for a studio of 170 Animators and Illustrators, I've been hired to raise the quality of athletics and movements in the advertisements we make for Coca-Cola, Lays, Corona and such.  Anyway, if you read my last blog you know about this new job already. What was I getting at?.. ah yes... life with a job.. The first thing I noticed is that I had no time to notice that I had no time!  When I was freelance things were more difficult, I couldn’t spend money and was working 7 days... but 5 days a week working for someone else, well... if the job wasn't fun, I don't think I would invest so much time into it. It sounds selfish maybe, but hey, life’s what you choose.
Anyway, Lucky for me.. the job’s sweet.
So what have I been doing with all this new money from a steady job?........... eating mostly, but I have started Thai language lessons and I can afford a few beers here and there. I don't need to sacrifice eating to buy paint anymore so that's great,  I have got a fixed gear bicycle so I can burn around parks with my goon bag.
Also photography. I have always been into photography;  if you were reading some of my older blogs from the time I was in central America I'm sure you were in absolute awe of my amazing photography skills ... most probably you weren't, HA! 😀  but that's fine, I like to take photos so with my new pay check I started searching for a new picture maker. Cameras these days are dope! The photos look so good, my Buddha they are crispy.
I checked some price tags, threw up on my chest a little and realised that that this dream is snuffed out before it began. I close that door and look for others; I asked myself "what do I want from photography?" What do I want from my images?  I want something different, I want images that I can make into paintings to put on walls. I find looking for images to paint on Google horrible, I just know I'm entering the same key words as the next guy and unless I doctor the photo I feel I am only doing half the art work by painting it.. the other half is in the hands of the photographer.
Reality check though, I can't afford a fancy pancy camera, so I had to look at other ways to get some images.
While researching I read about ‘film soup’. A cowboy way of creating effects on analog film. In a nutshell it’s getting 35mm film and throwing it in boiling water, dish washing liquid, vinegar and anything that you have in your kitchen, let simmer for a day or so, dry it out and shoot...
This sounds so sick... I'm keen.
I went out and brought myself a shitty plastic camera. This camera is beyond shitty, it's from 1960-70 period and was hardly even sold, they given out as gifts and prizes at fairs and such.  But being so shitty and analog there is some cool stuff possible Here are a few photos from the first film (note I haven't tried film soup yet)
1467334_564583540291604_1228788960_n 1456088_562276790522279_676727610_n 1390472_562276743855617_951406216_n 603885_564583530291605_1328323569_n 1483149_564583533624938_1881507995_n 1479468_562276753855616_1762827848_n 1467404_562276750522283_654602330_n Matt Diamond photography lomo policeMatt Diamond photography  lomography Matt Diamond photography thailand bangkok lomo lomography 35mm
Meanwhile in Bangkok, there are armies of civilians being rallied in an effort to drive the prime minister out of government. Dude, they all camp on the motorways I use to get home. Bastards, ha, as if traffic wasn't bad enough here in Bkk.
10,000,00 people ended up being rallied and it was like a big antigovernment street party. We got involved with some graffiti……as we would.
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But other than that inconvenience and the few days when it started to get violent and I had to ride my way through tear gas, police and mobs it didn't really affect me. Unfortunately it did affect the four who lost their lives and the 80 people who were injured. RIP
 I also got a mention in New Zealand Artist Mag:
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Samui, lao, BKK , Paint, Bodies, Jobs.. and stuff

I ask myself, has it been to long, or not long enough between blogs? I haven't felt the urge to write a new blog for months honestly I feel it's because my progression in the direction of a life of art seems like less action to write about than the action of a traveller in central America of in the Indian ocean. Although to me, its still just as exciting as getting robbed at gun point or smashed into the reef in Indonesia. Still I feel like I should update you on whats going on, the blogs won't be coming week by week anymore, but they will keep coming.
Where to start? The last blog was in April and was comprised of a few months also, I had just come back from Samui when I wrote it and funnily enough I'm in the same situation now.
'Nikki Beach' on Koh Samui island invited me down to paint at their Arts and Fashion weekend, if you were following this blog when I first came to Thailand, this event was one of my first as a traveling artist. The weekend was great, the hosts down there are amazing, they put me back in the cliff top Villa overlooking a private beach. From the cliffs I could lounge in the infinity pool, bask in the heat of the jacuzzi or just enjoy the huge premise made of granite, wood and rock.
All sounds ideal but when I got there I collapsed into my bed, I had been up most of the night prior packing my things and body painting three models at Bash [Bangkok’s upscale nightclub]… the last few weeks have been absolutely flat out for me, in good ways of course.
I've been doing a few canvas's and working on realism with spray cans, while doing so I've discovered the control, colour range and superiority of Montana colours. Unfortunately with quality comes a price tag, the one shop that sells them in Bangkok has a monopoly and cans are nearly 4 times more expensive than the cheap stuff.
So... I have really put my self in a strange position here. For the last year and a half I have been surviving … just .. on selling canvas's and doing commissions. I have had no problem with that, merely surviving is ok with me as long as I'm able to do what I really want to do.
But now... I can't afford to do what I want to do ..
Time for change
I decided to get a  job and the first thing I stumbled into was a job Teaching English. Teaching isn't so bad, I worked only a few hours a week so I still had time to paint and kids (some of them) are hilarious, but after settling into it, for me it really felt like work, I was something I HAD to do and I didn't really enjoy it..
I gathered a few pay packets, quit then started looking elsewhere. At first I thought maybe I could just work harder at the commission stuff. I teamed up with a fellow painter and friend I live with and started putting together a portfolio. I had done it all before so knew how much work would be involved but unfortunately my partner in crime didn't. Things just weren't going to work. I started going through the catalogue of jobs and trades I've dabbled in over my life and decided to try for an Animation job [I used to be an Animator in NZ making kids cartoons]
A friend of mine, lucky for me, worked at a big studio in town and arranged for an interview. One thing led to another, me and the boss  hit it off and I became the Art Director for a studio of 170 people. So far so good here, the job is enjoyable, the people nice and the Animation level is high. My job is to critique every scene that goes through the studio on selected movies. Our goal is to raise the quality of film and advertisements that the studio puts.
I'm working 9:30-6:30 now so with that comes a full months pay, so no more stress about money for a while and I can afford to by the paint I want. Downside, of course is lack of time to produce the amount of work I was before. I will try though.
A brighter note though is that I can even afford to go have drinks with mates these days 😉 Amazing
Social Media … My facebook ( Matt Diamond Expressive ) reached over 1000 people liking and following my art this month so I decided to clean out the closet and put on a sale of my canvasses around my studio to say thank you. The sale ran for 48 hours and 6 canvasses sold. Thanks everyone I hope you enjoy the canvas's
To be honest lots of other things have happened but better than chatting about them I'll show them in photo's and everybody likes photos and vids 😉

A fire extinguisher I modified to shoot paint



Oil painting
Cheers all MDE
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Breaking chains – China-Cambodia-Koh Samui-Khao Yai-Bangkok

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I’ve started writing this post three times now and as I look through what I’ve written I know its not post worthy. The last two months have been up and down like I would have never imagined, I have had the least money I’ve had since traveling, my bank has hit me up about my overdraft, I have traveled around 3 countries for work eating from 7/11 one week then eating Waguu burgers the next. A month of contrasts. 
 Sideshow kuts (SSK) has been good to me these last few months, we traveled to Cambodia and Macau (China), they did their DJ thing and I did some exhibition painting on stage for punters entertainment. 
Cambodia was a trip, our event was in Phnom Phen, the capital whose history is as dark as coal. For those who don’t know, 1975 Pol Pot lead the Khmer Rouge Communist forces began a vicious four year regime resulting in the heinous genocide of Cambodian people. 21% of the Cambodian population were killed (aprox 1.7 million) as Pol Pot tried to start life again at ‘year zero’. All this was hidden from the world as the Pol Pot and his regime had closed the boarders.  
People who were to be ‘cleaned’ (killed) were all people who were not farmers or did not work on the land, people were tortured and killed for such things as having hands that were to soft from not using manual tools.  
As you can imagine most of the city folk were lost.  
While we were in Cambodia we visited the ‘Killing fields’ where most of the city was killed. Mounds of earth surrounded pits where bodies were thrown and between our feet in the hard earth shards of bone and teeth could be seen. Every few months grounds keepers collect all the remains that have made their way up through the earth.
It was a heavy place to be in, a weight pressed on my chest through out the day as I tried to come to grips with what humans are capable of.
While in Cambodia i linked up with a charity that teaches underprivileged kids confidence through skating . I painted this mural at their skatepark ---
China... well... not so much China but an island off in called Macau, this island has its own currency and is rammed with casinos. People call Macau ‘Vegas of the east’. As an old Portuguese colony Macau has an interesting architecture and feeling in the old town, new town however is Casino, Casino, Casino. Glitz, Glamour and broken dreams.
This is the side we were working on.

The Hotel we were working at .. 38th floor lounge

 Our venue was the Altira, a 38 floor 6 star hotel/casino. The Altira lounge on the 38th floor was were I would paint and where the boys would DJ, they put on a good night... the place was so ritz, lucky for me I get to wear shitty paint covered clothes under the cliché  that ‘he’s an artist’ its aloud because honestly I don’t have any shoes with out paint on the currently, this isn’t a place I would normally go but was nice none the less. Everyone enjoyed watching me paint and the finished product, so that was cool also. 
Back to Thailand for only a few days and then I jumped on a plane to see my friends at Nikki Beach Koh Samui, I worked for these guys last year at their ‘Art and Fashion’ weekend. Then I did a graffiti mural, this time I would body paint models that would float around Nikki Beach’s anniversary white party.
Apon arrival I was met by the manager his girl friend and Brian Peeler, we chatted for a while then Eddy (the manager) said ‘C’mon then, lets go’.
Last time I worked for these guys I said 50m down the road at another hotel, this time I wasn’t really expecting anything, if I was lucky I guess I would have got to say at Nikki Beach.  
‘Where are we going?’ I ask. Brian perked up at this ‘DUDE, we are staying at their Villa.... its ridiculous’
 And so the 5 star living continued, here are some pictures 
My job was to body paint 3 models
Thanks for the hospitality guys, it was amazing  
Back from the island and off into the jungle, I head out with my mate Ned paint a climbing wall in Khao Yai
 Back in Bangkok and after a few months of having no money at all I have a little to play with.. I buy paint, I buy a motorbike, I pay off my overdue rent, I thank god I live where the best food is cheap and start looking for some work again 
From the guy I brought the motorbike off I scored some work building and flooring, stuff I have done in a previous life (scotland an england), we also lined up some jobs re-coning chairs for bars and putting up shelves in condos.. not to bad. Lucky I have the bike at this stage because I have been having to ride to the other side of the city and back everyday .
 Here is some more art and jobs I've been up to also

available for purchase

commissioned tattoo.. 'i want the grateful dead skeleton uncle sam uppercuting a space monkey'


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Adventure tourism me – and more MDE Street art

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When I landed back in Thailand work has come my way via my friend Ned. The work is for an adventure group called ‘Wild Planet’, the same group I worked with a little last year.
This time we were to head west to Kaeng Krachan, Thailands biggest national park. Kaeng Krachans 3000 square kilometers of lakes and jungle is home to reptiles, elephants an tigers but because of the rich schools we were working with we stayed  staying at a huge resort far away from tigers and elephants. The resort was on the edge of the national park and with 3 baseball diamonds, a 15km long golf course and about 200 bungalows was quite an epic place.
Over the next four days I ran 200 kids through low rope courses that we set up between trees, it was basically an confidence builder for the kids. The Wild Planet crew were awesome and the kids were a laugh too. One kid cracked me up in particular, being rich city kids they don’t grow up with much nature that was stiflingly clear when one girl had to use a tree to help balance herself at the start of a tight rope suspended between two trees. She put her hand on the tree to balance, her gaze snapped to her hand on the tree pulling it away in the same instant ‘ewwww’ she said, ‘i’m not touching that tree’, is it possible to be allergic to nature.  
Back to Bangkok for a day and then off on another job with Wild Planet. This time we went down to their lodge on the edge of Khao Yai national park, another lush scenic mountainous jungle area in thailand.
My job this time was ... mountain bike instructor.
For three days we worked our way through 120 kids by having a different group everyday and cycled 20km a day. The course we had mapped out wasn’t to hard but resulted in every kid getting wet and muddy. Super fun. 
Back to Bangkok only one day again and then I get the 12 hour bus down to Phuket to see my brother. Down here I was to touch up the paint on his boat, I only needed to paint 1/3 of it so it was done in a day. We partied with some friends for a night there in Patong then I’m back on the bus to Bangkok... at this stage I’m pretty exhausted.
At home in Bangkok, I get back to work painting... below there are some pictures and a video of me painting the sky rise late last year, I would like to thank all the people involved with the filming and rigging, John lee for not dropping me and knowing how to tie knots. Sasha for editing and filming to such a high standard. Meow, Mike and Jimbo for filming and passing me paint, with out everyone there on the day this couldn't have happend .
Also here are some of my latest paintings, you can get live updates of my work on my facebook Matt Diamond Expressive

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New Years in the Islands then three weeks in NZ

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I swung around the back of the truck running as fast as I could, the dog had already caught up and pushed into my inside leg as it came down to make contact with the ground, my foot rolled uncomfortably and my next step on it, shot a warm flush of pain up my leg.
I had only been back in New Zealand 5 minutes, not even long enough to put my bags in the house,  and I had injured myself. The dog, a slender Doberman had his extra long tongue drooping out the left side of his mouth and what seemed like a big dumb smile smeared across its face, its stump of a tail wagged furiously wondering why I had stopped playing. This was the beginning of my three weeks back in New Zealand.
I was aiming to get back to New Zealand for christmas and New Year but work called, lately in Thailand I have been getting more and more work painting murals for people. Over New Years I headed south to Koh Panang, Thailands notorious Full Moon Party island. On Koh Panang there was is a resort called the ‘Beach Village’ and its there that they hold ‘Rhythm and Sands’ a monthly party on their private beach.
The location was epic, and the party the same. I didn’t end up painting live at their event but hope to be going down in a month or so to give them a show. What I did manage to do was put some life into their blank white walls around the resort. Here are a few pictures of the work
Some street art I also did in december - Bangkok:
Landing in New Zealand after a 18 hour flight I dragged myself into the domestic terminal to catch my smaller plane north, to Whangarei. Fighting to keep my eyes open due to a Valume I had taken on the previous flight I took comfort in the fact that when got on this next flight I had 40 minutes to sleep. That was the plan until the plane took off, being such a small plane we flew low and I could see my home country from coast to coast, it had been away two years and I was lapping up the familiar mountain ranges and coasts.. I wasn’t able to sleep due to the fact that my face was glued to the window from take off to landing.
While in New Zealand I still wanted to continue painting, but spray paint in New Zealand is 8 times the price of what it is in Thailand and unfortunately just to expensive for me to paint as big as I like. I put a message out of Facebook asking if anyone wanted things painted for them while was back. My inbox flooded with proposals, two vans, a music studio, games room, table, a soon to be born babies room and more. Basically I wanted to do them all but because I was only there for 3 weeks only a few would be possible.
I painted a friends table and another friends soon to be born child, the children’s room was one I really wanted to do because as a young child my room was also painted with bright cartoons, I loved it.
Here are the finished products.
Also while home I painted with a close friend Josh Motera at a festival called ‘Chronophonium’. The festival was deep in the Tangihua forest, a totally isolated spot in a mountain range. Upon arrival we were hot from the drive and decided we would try find a river to swim in, a short walk through the bush led us to a small rocky waterfall where a few people from the festival were already bathing. One of them was my old flatmate Eli. We jumped in the fresh water, bathed and caught up for a while then headed to the festival.
Here is some pictures
The festival was really good, anyone in New Zealand in January next year I would recommend going to this, it was sold out because the clearing in the forest is only so big but with the 300 people there and over 20 bands, it was a really good party.
Three weeks went to fast in New Zealand, I stayed out at the beach most of the time, hanging out around my parents as much as I could, I have always missed immensely while traveling.
 Over all the trip was filled with delicious foods, catch ups with friends I hadn’t seen in years and the stunning beauty of New Zealand. Great trip.
Apologies to people I didn’t get to see, there will be a next time 🙂
Extra Note: I managed to do some street art while there, here are the pictures and some videos 🙂 enjoy

Back to Thailand..

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