GR2 Interview: Merging Views – Kwanchai Moriya

1) Explain about your work area / studio. What about it makes you enjoy working there?

My studio is a humble corner of my room. Ideally, my studio would be a beautiful old warehouse with skylights. But, temporarily, it’s a large brown rug I got from Ikea in one corner of a room, atop which sits my drafting table, chair, and other such artsy things. I share it with spiders and ants, since I guess my place is pretty old and has lots of nooks and crannies. I like listening to podcasts when I work, especially RadioLab and This American Life.

2) How does it differ from your last working area?

My last studio was a different corner of my room. I rearranged my room a few months ago, and decided I could go with a new studio space. So I relocated to another corner, it’s been great!

3) You have other endeavors along with your fine art. Can you talk about what you do there, and how that intertwines with your work? 

Besides my paintings, I do a lot of freelance illustrating in a completely different style from my paintings. Mostly, I’ve been getting a lot of work doing illustrations for board games and children’s books. And I enjoy it just as much as working on a painting, but it uses a different part of my brain. And I enjoy the chance to do different kinds of things. I also do some woodworking. I’ve been making wood toys as a side project for the past year or so. I’m really grateful to have the chance to do different art things. I think I’m the kind of person that would feel very stuck if I had to do the same kind of art over and over again.

4) In your art journey, are there any physical objects that have inspired you? 

I’m not sure if there are any deeply significant objects that have helped me, art-wise. But I can tell you what’s currently on the shelf next to my easel: a 1930′s pressed steel toy plane, a vintage IG-88, a Robert Frost collection or two, and an old Stanley No. 5 jack plane. I love all of these things! Actually right now I’m really digging this little postcard that a friend bought me recently. It’s the cover of some obscure old sci-fi novel called, “The Gods Hate Kansas,” and it’s perfect. It has all my favorite things in one painting: guy in space suit with laser gun, space ship, giant beast with glowing eyes, ridiculous title, and the color blue. As far as artists that are important to me as a painter, I’m inspired by the likes of J.C. Leyendecker, Andrew Wyeth, N.C. Wyeth, John Singer Sargent, and Bernie Fuchs, among others. As far as contemporary artists, I really like Sachin Teng and Charlie Immer.

5) What have been the biggest obstacles in your art career development and how did you get through them? 

I think the biggest obstacle for me has been my own fear of failure. It can really grind on you. Of course, school loans and the cost of living can be a source of constant sorrow. But that’s secondary to the mental blocks you can run in to. I’ve had to learn to just let go of this innate drive to “succeed,” and learn how to take my art life one project at a time, giving each project, each painting, real attention and love. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for if I just look back on where I’ve come from.