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’
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 .
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
I managed to do some street art while there, here are the pictures and some videos enjoy
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.
I wanted to paint on it, so we went to check it out.
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.
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.
This is a Krathong, however these elaborate ones didn’t get put in the river
This Krathong is made from bread, candles and incense are lit on top of the krathong and the theory is that the longer your flame stays alight the more chance your dream has of coming true
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’
Lush Music Fesitval, the painting to the right is what i painted on the night
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.
Tony Jaa and I from last weeks ‘Tony Jaa pride of thailand Exhibition’ .. This photo was taken after we did a live graffiti and Tony did a muay thai dance
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.
This week I met some interesting people including the importer of a asian spray can called Kolour, Mister Bows (a well respected Thai Graffiti writer) the Kolour rep and myself went for a paint in the blistering Bangkok heat.
We painted by a BTS station (sky train) out west a little.
Here are some pictures of our works
The Thai Graffiti scene being so friendly has ample perks, my friend Mister Bows, was also going to be filmed for graffiti documentary mentioned earlier. He called me up and asked if i would like to paint with him when he gets filmed… of course i would
These two weeks have been eventful to say the least, I did a visa run to Lao and back so I can stay another month is Thailand. While there me and two friends got arrested for street art and held in the police station for over 30 hours. I don’t want to elaborate on this now as I managed to get some gorilla video footage of the event and we are currently in the process of making a short film about it.
Police Chief – Vientiane
Mean while in Bangkok, one of our house mates had been indulging on to many pharmaceuticals and recreational drugs and flipped out, he wasn’t coherent as he tried to throw his girl friend out off the fourth floor of our house and it took 4 men to take him down. It wasn’t pretty, the friend concerned ended up getting his face split open in three places and all the housemates present were mortified by the events. He is now down south and sounds like he is doing much better.
On the streets of Bangkok there has been a grievous hate crime and line crossed in the graffiti world. A known graffiti spot that gets freshened up ever year due to graffiti events there was attacked. The spot consists of a huge empty lot with a cinder block wall surrounding it, every year a local graffiti magazine/writers and artists get together and give the cinder block wall a fresh new coat of art.
The latest even had just happened a month ago so everything was looking prime.
Retaliation was hard and fast from the thai community, the two graffiti writers where cut off from buying any graffiti supplies from any of the local graffiti shops and everyone went back that week and painted over all his work
Everyone did new artwork and the places is looking like new again with one added wall just for Coad and Muder (the writers that committed the hate crime)
Photo by GoPlay
Last weekend I traveled down to Pattaya for some bodypainting work with my Crew Sideshow Kuts.
They are a group of Dj’s and prodcers who have a syndicate around the world, I’m on board as there street artist and body painter.
The gig in Pattaya was at the Pullman Hotel, a very classy establishment that has a beach club. Sideshow kuts provided the music and I was to body paint.
During the week I was contacted by a guy named ‘Al – the 3d guy’ who makes the ‘Explore3D Travel TV’ Show. He was interested in what I’ve been doing and wanted to film me at the Pattaya gig, publicity works well for everyone, Sideshow kuts, The Pullman hotel and myself so I was happy to oblige.
He brought two models along with him and a crew for filming in 3D , over a few hours I painted the girls while he ducked and weaved around the club and my painting area filming all he could.
Afterwards we got together for a short interview and that was that….
His 3d Youtube channel is here.. but you need glasses to watch
When the Tv show is public I will post it on this blog
I have to cut this blog short because tonight is a big night for me, I have been lucky enough to be chosen to be in the ‘Pride of the Nation – Tony Jaa’ Exhibition. An exhibition in honor of Tony Jaa, Thailand’s Bruce Lee
I will have two paintings shown tonight one large and one 30 x 20 cm
Last time I left you I was just about to head down South to Khao Yai. Khao Yai is a national park about 3 hours drive from Bangkok and I was to go and teach children how to rock climb. When I arrived it was just the ‘Wild Planet’ staff/instructors at the ‘Wild Lodge’. Wild lodge is a collection of bungalow’s at the base of the Khao Yai ranges, it’s strategically built next to a rushing river, has a high ropes course and climbing walls ready to be attacked.
The first night there we sat around a claypot coal BBQ, cooked up Thai prepped pork, had a beer and got aquainted with each other, we were all getting mentally prepared for the next day when 160 kids were due to arrive
Waking up the following morning for a real work schedule is something I haven’t done in over a year, I was pretty excited to test some of the activities. The kids arrived at 12 so the morning was filled with setting things up, getting helmets ready, getting life jackets sorted for kids who were going in the river. Making sure all the mountain bikes were up to scratch, setting up the archery targets and other miscellaneous jobs, including someone having to test out the high ropes course. The Kids arrived, we split them up into groups and took them to their day’s activities… then it rained. HARD. Playing on high ropes (made of cable wire) isn’t such a good idea in a lightening storm so we taught our climbing kids how to tie knots and fit harnesses properly while under shelter and out of the storm. The next morning it was test time again, Ned and I went to check the river, due to all the rain over the night, the river scramble activity could be cancelled if the river was to high.. IT WAS RAGING! Ned and I took some small inflatable rafts and had some fun shooting down the river around rocks and off small waterfalls confirming that the river was to dangerous for kids. River Scramble Cancelled The kids arrived again at 12 but this time it was a clear day, I taught 4 groups of 10 how to Boulder (rock climb) and then, after a nice meal it was over and they were gone.. Money in the bank and a fun time had by all.
Next month I’m going up North with this same adventure team to do a 5 day white water rafting trip, definitely looking forward to that.
A girl in England I’ve been in contact with for maybe six months sent me a mail asking for assistance, she needed help with event promotion, specifically she wanted a graffiti piece of her venture: N4YP, networking for young people. I have liked her idea since she first talked about it six months ago so I threw a little something on a wall for her.
Heres a pic..
I’ve been on the hunt for new painting spots in my area, one of the busiest places around me is Khao San Road, it is tourist central, thousands of tourists and travellers visit there monthly let alone yearly. I wanted to paint there. I’ve been here 9 months now but still remember wandering around Khao san with fresh eyes, I remember going down a road parallel to the main strip and it being filled with graffiti, so that’s the first place I went to check out. There were some free walls but being busy all day it’s impossible to paint, bars open at 5pm and run till 2am.. So…. at 2 am two Thai street artists, a Japanese artist and myself went there with bags full of cans. This is how it turned out.
My piece is the baby and poem
Tshirts … people have been asking me to make them.. so I have …
Here is some of the designs, these will be available for $40(AUD) with Free world wide postage. Contact me if you would like to get some of the first batch.
(click on pictures for a closer view)
Rainy season has kicked in something chronic, heres a pic of my street after three hours of rain. Fun !
That’s all for now, tonight I’m heading North to Lao for my visa run, I’ll be travelling with a Thai artist and paint will be applied .. Northern Thailand and Lao.. here we come
Back in the swing of Bkk, painting, eating, networking.
Oil & Acrylic on pine. Available for purchase ( 20 x 37 cm)
Although my money situation is far from plentiful, I’ve decided that I’m going to go out more. Around my house its possible to go out and have a few drinks for just over $10, the cost of socialising is a lot less than in the west
A party I made sure I got to this week gone, was called ‘Creative Thursdays’ a networking event for Creatives. It was down town, so quite far from where I lived but I thought it would be a good idea to go meet some like minded people.
Now.. a networking party, there will definitely be a whole lot of chit chat and business cards being handed around. So much I think, that it would be hard to make an impression. I’m not really one for competing with others when there is other more creative/interesting ways t to be noticed.
I set to work designing new business cards, my current cards are black one side, white the other, with a small printed website and email on the white side.
My idea is to make something full colour, bigger than a buisness card and something that can unfold and show alot of my work but not be as cumbersome or forward as handing around a portfolio. Most of all I wanted to make something nice so people would make a conscious effort to keep and not let it go through the wash.
This is what I came up with …
My friends who do a lot of visual installations here in Bangkok were doing the visuals for this event. I got a message from one of them, Deyan, around 4:30… he asked me if i would like to do live graffiti on an Ipad and the graffiti would be projected onto the wall.
The idea is good, but i’ve never drawn on an Ipad, and don’t really want to learn in front of a bunch of stranger. I had a better idea.
“What about if I bring a canvas and some paints along with me, I could do a live painting show for everyone”
Deyan, made a few calls and I got the all clear, I now had an hour and a half to sketch a painting and gather my things for the event.
Here is the painting I did at the event..
Its mid afternoon on a saturday, the day has had a really nice feel about it, the sun has been out but not to hot and a cool breeze has been blowing off the river. I’ve been working on a painting listening to music most of the day. The big windows of my room are wide open and fresh air licks my face as it passes palms and a mango tree. With the wind comes the sweet smell of wood barbecues and assorted cooked meat. I clean my current brush and lean out the window to get a better whiff then exhale. Its been a good day.
…. early hours of the morning I finish my painting. Here it is ..
If you’ve been following my blogs you would have seen this video a few weeks back
This day we painted on big posts that were intended to be for a sky train to the old airport. These posts are an eye sore for the people of Bangkok because the government officials at the time were very corrupt, the construction was never finished, now the airport isn’t used so they will never be complete and are just towers that remind Thai people of an ugly past.
This is how we got on the Thai news
A famous Thai news program called ‘Fragment News’ got wind of all the new paintings on these posts, they took their film crew there and did a story on them. Their reaction is all very positive and they really like the new artwork.
Yig and I were mentioned because we sign out names next to our paintings in Thai language ( แมต – Matt ). The news show also put a clip online so more and more people kept telling me about it.
What really got me buzzing though is that some one had taken screen shots of our paintings from the online video clip, composed them into a collage and posted them of facebook.
It went viral.
109 shares and nearly 1000 likes in just a few days, all the comments were positive and people wondered who the mysterious painters were.
I have no issue with being known, I dont hide behind a guise and always sign my name with ‘Matt’ ‘MDE’ or ‘แมต’
I decided to post the video up of myself painting the pillar in the comments of the viral photos. Time will tell if it has positive or negative results.
Here is another mural I put up out side V64 contemporary art gallery here in Bkk
This week I also had a group of 8 giggling Univerity students come over and I helped them paint some shoes for a circus themed fashion show
Here are the shoes.. watch your eyes.. they’re bright
I’ve been working on something else quite exciting this week but can’t go into it just yet, tomorrow I head south to the National park here I have three days helping out a rock climbing crew, when I get back I’ll update you here again and will let you in on my new plan
Thanks for reading, I hope your taking your life in your own hands
Waking up at 3am I head for the airport, Bangkok traffic and heat hasn’t turned on yet, so its a mellow trip. I doze in the cab with my small bag of spray caps and clothes next to me.
I land in Langkawi – Malaysia around 1pm after changing planes in Kuala Lumpur. I walk through Lankawi customs, and out the doors into arrival, my brothers leaning against a post waiting for me. Its real good to see him.
His beard is strong and mighty.
We get reacquainted and made fun of each other as we drove to the boat in our 800cc rental car, the thing is no bigger than a double bed.
My job here for the next 10 days it to paint his boat, its out of the water in a port yard. Johns been working on it for a week now and while I paint he will keep preping her so she is ready for his next mission.
… let the painting begin !
Being in a Muslim country again is refreshing good old memories .. exactly one year ago this week I was with John sailing up the coast of Indonesia in this very boat. The Muslim Ramadan holiday rekindled memories of this because during this time we were off the coast of Sumbawa getting the waves of our lives.
Ten days after arriving in Lakawi I head for the airport again, but I’ll return. This is just a short trip to Koh Samui – Thailand. I’ve been booked to paint a mural for a Fashion and Arts weekend.
There was a little comunicaiton break down between John and I here.. my plane left at 2:15 so I told John ‘I need to be at the airport at 2:15”, …of course that’s wrong and I need to be at the airport 30 minutes before. We arrive at the airport at 2 and say our goodbyes, I stroll into the airport and the check in is closed. I find someone to talk to, who tells me I’m to late to board.
He looks at me again and notes I have no bags to check in, radios someone out of sight and then rushes me to a desk. He prints out a boarding pass and hurrys me towards the gates. I must note here that this airport is tiny, I walk through customs and to gate number 3 (of 4), and am just in time to join the end of the que that’s heading out the door onto the runway.
It must have been the fastest airport encounter in history, within 5 minutes of getting out of the car in the car park I was finding my seat on the plane. Perfect.
A plane, two busses and a ferry later I’m back in Thailand on the island of Samui. The general manager of the party resort Nikki Beach shows me around his establishment. Nikki beach is is a resort chain privately owned by a few families around the world. Its mostly known as a hot spot where celebrities go to party and have Champagne wars. The Koh Samui Nikki Beach is more focused on fashion and arts, … still thought… there was a Champagne war or two while I was there.
I got this job due to the promotion of my live painting at Nest bar a few weeks ago. Scott Eddy a bit of a ‘shaker and mover’ in Bangkok saw me being promoted and put me in contact with (another) Eddy at Nikki Beach. We all got talking and I fit the bill, they were to construct me a 5mx2.5m wall for me to paint during their Fashion and Art event.
Koh Samui being in the golf of Thailand, is a tropical paradise. Nikki beach is located on its own side of the island and is an amazing venue. A DJ booth overlooks the pool and lounging area thats shaded by palms. Then the whole place backs right onto the white sand beach.
Needless to say in such a location, the party was amazing! FashionOne TV was there filming the whole event for world wide television and photographers were snapping everywhere. Swimwear was the dress code, and the sun, music and atmosphere was intoxicating. Smiles filled faces around me as day turned to night, and the night filled with fireworks and laughter.
I painted late into the first night amongst party goes.
Nikki Beaches big day however, was sunday. The models runway over the pool and stage behind that were deconstructed and everything was prepped for their famous ‘Sunday Brunch’.
There is an entry fee to come on the Sunday, but once your in it was all the grommet food you can manage over the entire day. The food was amazing, from Steaks to Sushi, to Panni’s or waffles.
The partying also was more intense, starting at 11am and rounding off at 6, the pool and lounging areas were packed. People dancing, champagne spraying, fireworks clapping, and me finishing my painting. It was action stations.
I paced my mural so it took me most of the day to complete, I was in no rush, a few drinks here and there and lots of good people to, my day flew by.
Here is the finished piece
Big thanks goes out to Eddy and Scott of helping me get there and paint, I hope to be down there again soon to either hang out or do some more art.
Time to get back to Johns boat !
I get the early morning ferry and get off the island and my goal is to get back to Panang then fly to Lankawi the next day.
To be frank, getting to Samui was a pain in the ass so I decided to take a different route. Once on mainland Thailand I got a few local bus’s part of the way then hitch hiked.
Lifts weren’t to hard to come by, the longest I waited was on the Thai/Malaysia boarder. I had just gotten out of a car because what I thought was a good ride, turned into two guys who were to eager to help me but weren’t actually going the way i wanted. Once we had broken through a language barrier and figured all this out I was back on the side of the roat with my thumb out.
I waited at there for an hour around 11pm. When I finally got a ride, not only were the people going to Panang, they were going to George Town… and to our surprise they also staying at the same hotel as me… it couldn’t worked out better. Two hours later I say good bye to my new friends in the lobby of our and set down for the night.
Flying back to Lankawi the next day took 45 minutes. John and Liam picked me up again in their tiny rental car.. the team was back in action.
Throwing another coat of anti-foul on the underside of the boat and sorting out some rudder problems kept us busy for the rest of the day, then came the exciting part.. time to drop her back in the water.
She didn’t sink.. good sign.
Here are some pics of us out on the water. Weather was so, so , it would blow itself into a huge storm and rain would hail on us then the next day it would be perfect. Rainy season I guess.
Alright, this is a two week blog so there is a bunch I’ve done and would like to share with you, mostly art this time because it seems me sitting in one city saves me from all the muggings and such things that were happening to me 8 months ago.
Dia De los Muertos body paint
Tomorrow I am flying to Malaysia for a month to paint my brothers world circumnavigating yacht. This flight out of bangkok put a deadline on all jobs and projects I had going here in Bangkok, so I got busy.
Here is some of the work I’ve produced in the last week or so.
Commissioned Notorious BIG
Tattoo design on Canvas for a girl in Australia
Wallet for a Kiwi girl in Australia
Graffiti piece at V64 Studio – Flush ‘em Down
Dia de los muertos body paint
A Scottish friend of mine has a crew/syndicate called ‘SideshowKuts’ its a music crew and he got me on board as their artist. What I have been doing lately is painting at venues and gig ‘live’ for the crowd as people drink, dance and have a good night. A live painter is an article of interest an gives people something different in their night that the normal Music/Drink combination.
A good friend Sasha is a videographer.. he makes documentaries and is quite the artist behind the lens, he see’s things in a very special way.
While painting at the ‘Nest roof top lounge’ I asked him to come along. His camera (as covered in a previous blog post) was stolen in a raid of The Overstay (squat hostal) So with him he brought a friend camera that didn’t work in poor light and only one lens.. a portrait lens. I like how Sasha takes on challenge when taking on a project, it is something I do myself so I can learn and grow.
He says that he likes having some limitations because it pushes himself into thinking creatively.
This is the video he made of me painting .
Speet painting live at Nest bar
BANGKOK SPECIAL GUESTS : Ruby, Jade and their Mum came to visit while they were in transit to elsewhere. I’ve known these guys since I was young so put got them over to my house and put on a big spread of food, prawns, fish, spanish omelet, salad, shell fish, risotto .. the works.
After dinner the plan was to do something local that normal tourists wouldn’t do. I took them out on the town to an Isan (north eastern thailand) Dancehall gig. The venue was a gallery in Suhkumvit called WTF gallery, a small place but there was plenty of people and everyone was getting a groove on. We had gone out late so at 2 when this finished up we headed down to Soi 11 to have a bucket or 3 at some street bars. Was great to see them.
The art/graffiti scene here is very friendly as I have mentioned before, a few people organised a big graffiti hit on a carpark not far from my house.. Cece and myself got there first and this is the result
Cece painted a boy from Cabo Verde with the words ‘RAIZ’ . Raiz is slang on Cabo Verde and means ‘Cool’. In the back ground of the text is the old revolutionary cabo verde flag, before they changed to this new euro style
I painted the words ‘WE ARE MAN’ and the skull is of the Australopithecus afarensis, an extinct hominid that lived between 3.9 and 2.9 million years ago
Yesterday 6 of us walked down the BTS/Sky train pillars and found a really good spot to paint, its next to a 4 lane motorway and the rail way line. Cece did my favourite piece yesterday
Vipawadi Boy by CECE
B/W dubs up kid by Matt Diamond
At the moment its 11:30 pm and i’m quickly doing this blog because I leave for Malaysia in four hours …. Big things happening this month
Thanks for reading but I have to stop here… I have a bag to pack and a plane to catch
If you feel generous and would like to help me on my mission please feel free to donate
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