Saturday, 25 April 2015

14. Bangkok: Street Art WITHOUT Permission

As we mentioned in our last two posts, Bangkok's street artists are quite reluctant to paint in public places without permission. We've read that they consider it to be impolite - which kind of subverts the rebellious spirit that gave birth to graffiti in the first place. Still, it's not a bad self-preservation strategy in a military dictatorship, and Thailand is definitely that.

There are, however, a number of brave souls who pick up paint brush and spray cans, stickers and glue brushes and do what street artists the world over do - they go out in the wee hours of night, find a good wall and cover it in art. And, if you take enough metros, walk enough miles, go down enough alleys and climb under enough bridges, you might just find their work. We wouldn't want you to do that though. We've already done it and we're happy to share our discoveries with you.

Let's start with a shot that demonstrates that we don't just clip street art from the internet - we really do seek it out around the world. Here's Heather in her street-art-hunting gear, posing by a Bangkok canal, underneath overloaded hydro wires, with one of our finds:

Below, you'll find a random selection of some of our other discoveries. You'll note that there aren't any identifying signatures attached to the murals. But hey, if you'd just committed a crime in a military dictatorship, would you sign your name to it? Thought not.

We found a long stretch of murals (unusual for Bangkok), somewhat covered over with banana leaves and vines. We had to clear them away to get some of our shots:

Some of the murals were kind of bloody and ghoulish:

But as these last two murals show, Bangkok is no stranger to murder and mayhem.

Most of these are just good healthy outlets for youthful aggression - although we're not certain about the last one. To us it screams out "Psycho-Killer at work here". If we lived in Bangkok and bodies started showing up in our neighbourhood, we'd want a good full investigation into the painter behind this mural!

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