Welcome to the notations of my non-conformity
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Basically for me there is more to life than money, yet we all seem to be forced into a routine of working our ass's off just to get money so we can live a little.
I’m 25 have travelled extensively through Europe, Asia and some of the middle east.
Im a trained automotive refinisher (car painter) and animator but have also tried many jobs. I've done things such as travel agency, pretending I’m a qualified builder, a radio host, a dogman and rigger in the Australian mines, a delivery boy via bike around London, an animator for Maori Tv, and the list goes on to the extent that I’ve even worked with crooked gypsies (pikeys) around Europe doing dodgy tarmac..
... all this is nothing ... all this is work... I don’t want this to be the story of my life.
I'm Matt Diamond I’m 25 and I’m sick of it.
If you would care to follow me I will be on a search for my perfect environment, I decided to blog this not to keep people updated on what I’m doing, but to show you that it is possible to find your own perfect living situation while conquering every hurdle along the way
I wish you all the best in your search
Notes of what im looking for:
(i recommend you make your own list so you know clearly what will make you actually happy)
Good surf and consistent so I can surf most days
Friendly vibes and people
Drinking isn't the centre of socializing, people are
Inspirational culture : art, music, dance, philosophy
The balance of work and living is flipped so I spend more time living less time working, or the job I work at barely seems like work and I still have the freedom to do what I want when I please
Good friends: honest, funny, inspirational, easy going, talented
A job that’s deeply satisfying involving helping people achieve
- January 2014
- December 2013
- September 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- October 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- July 2011
- June 2011
- May 2011
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! :D 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)
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.
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:
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
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.
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 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
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
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.
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
I managed to do some street art while there, here are the pictures and some videos enjoy
Back to Thailand..
Where to start…
Briefly, I flew down to the south of Thailand to see my brother on his boat (since money is still an issue for me these flights were a very kind, early christmas presents from my Mum and Dad xoxo )
Krabi was our destination and what a destination it was! The islands in Thailand always surprise me in their beauty. Krabi is know for its world class climbing, this is because huge limestone cliffs shoot straight up out of the earth and tower above white sanded beaches.
Adam Baker, Lanz and I made our way to Krabi town then got a long tail boat out of the bay, 15 minutes later we saw Johns boat Rhombus nestled in a bay surrounded with cliffs. Jumping aboard we called John who said he was on shore. Eager to cool off from our journey we jumped into the water, then with surfboards we swum into shore.
Seeing my bro after long breaks is always a thrill, but this time had a little pain involved also. I saw my brother, we said our hellos then noticed everyone was walking a slack line (a tight rope made from a truck strap suspended between two trees). I jumped on with confidence having done it before but fell off after a few steps…luck wasn’t with me, the slack line flicked up taking one of my toes with it .
I now had a broken toe with-in the first 5 minutes of being there, ting tong (Thai for Stupid)
It was a good break though, it seemed to be in the middle of the toe so it didn’t hurt when I walked, it just went black and swelled up doing its thing with out being much of a worry to me. The only major down side was I couldn’t climb while I was there.. no biggie.
After a few days exploring the island and enjoying being in the water again we set sail for Koh Phi Phi. For all of you who were following my blog when I first sailed to thailand, you will know that over the last Christmas and new year period the Rhombus and Canela yachts were moored at koh phi phi for almost a month. The place hadn’t changed much and was still a party every night.
This time how ever it had lost its luster because the four months prior we have all been around people unlike before when we were sailing up the coast of indonesia.
Heading back to Phuket after this, we got the boat up on the hard where it will stay until april next year when John will continue sailing around the world. A few nights in Phuket and ‘wam bam’, we were all back in Bangkok.
John had brought his climbing gear with him and we conjured up an amazing plan.
We found an 18 story building and sized it up. It was big.. and its blank wall faced 8 lanes of motorway traffic.
We rushed around town getting extra ropes, another harness and carabina’s for the next few days
It was now friday, John left for australia saturday night, so this was basically our only chance. Getting there at 10 in the morning we rigged everything and John started to hang out the 17th story window getting in position to Blay me from the top…
They came jogging up the stairs obviously out of breath but started yelling at us in Thai. Luckly my friend Cartoon was there to help translate. In thailand the King and Queen are very active, always going around town seeing people doing things. Out of respect for the king it is not aloud for people to be above him and/or be looking down on him when he visits a place. We of course were 18 stories up and the King was turning up very soon to the building next to us… Bad news.
We pulled John back into the building and cleared away our things, the security needed us to leave ASAP but in amazing thai style they said that at 6pm or tomorrow we can come back and continue to paint the building.
I love this place.
We left everything rigged up but took the expensive things with us then came back on sun set. Here is a few photos, the video will be up soon on Mattdiamondexpressive.com or facebook MattdiamondexpressiveFacebook
Thailand had two big holidays lately also, one called Loy Krathong and the other was the Kings birthday (Fathers Day).
Loy Krathong is a holiday where people make a crown of banana leaf around a slice of banana tree trunk then float it out on the river and make a wish. It was quite a spectacle and the lanterns let into the sky also were amazing.
The Kings birthday is a big holiday, thousands of people waited out side the grand palace to see the king and everyone in the city wore yellow, the kings colour.
Thats all for now, here is some more art including a wall I painted at Bangkoks Music Festival ‘LUSH’
Last week I talked about the graffiti war that started and ended within a week. The thai boys have made up this video of the repaint, it turned out pretty cool
This last week my heads been in turmoil, I’m trying to figure out whats next for me. I have a need to survive, a need to create and ambitions to do it in my own way. As weeks go by I am discovering in detail what I like and dislike, what works for me and what doesn’t, what is a waste of time and money and whats productive and positive to my growth. The problem being that I’m walking on such thin ice I feel that if I put a foot in the wrong direction it may mean failure. So every week or so I re-assess.
This week I have pushed away a few projects that weren’t going to lead anywhere and started thinking of other ways to go about thing.
I will be making limited prints available of my popular artworks in the coming weeks for those who couldn’t afford the original or missed out of the purchase of it. I will also be making prints of street art I have done and there will be special framed prints with the original sketches for sale also.
I feel this is a move in the right direction because my goals for the coming months is to paint bigger and bigger on walls, making limited edition prints of such works means I can afford the cans to pull off such works.
This week I was lucky enough to be approached by a videographer called Sergio, currently he is compiling a documentary on street art in Thailand (Bangkok predominately).
We had met up previously and had a chat, he was as keen as I to get out, get painting, and film.
We met on a Thursday night and waking up at 5 the next day we shot for his film. He put together a small video as a preview to his documentary.