Tag Archives: Art

How a monk-turned-street artist sees New York City’s homeless

My article, co-written with Terence Cantarella, about the incredible and compassionate art work of Pairoj Pichetmetakul is now published in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review.

Courtesy of Pairoj Pichetmetakul (4)

Walking home from the Academy of Arts University in San Francisco on a cold autumn night in 2013, Pairoj Pichetmetakul passed a scene he’ll never forget.

On a nearly empty street in the SoMa district, Pairoj saw a young man beating a white-haired homeless man who appeared to be in his 70s. The attacker punched and kicked his victim, then sat on his chest and pummeled his face.

Pairoj wanted to help but fear held him back. He was new in the country, his English was poor, and he couldn’t call the police because his cell phone battery had died. So, he just walked home.

 “I couldn’t sleep,” recalled the now-32-year-old artist, who goes by his first name. “I went back in the morning to find the old man but he wasn’t there.”

Three years earlier, Pairoj had been a saffron-robed monk living at the Wat Hua Krabue Buddhist temple near Bangkok, where he recalls trying to avoid stepping on insects while walking between his living quarters and the temple.

Why, then, didn’t he help the homeless man?

That question troubled him so deeply that he resolved to make amends the only way he felt he could—through his art. Thus began an artistic and social project he calls “The Positivity Scrolls.”

To read more, click here.



Featured Friend: Artist Michael Noyes



Elephant Art – Amazing

Featured Friend: katia Santibanez

Santibañez is a master of refined detail. Working systematically, left to right and top to bottom, her command of the pencil and the paintbrush is found both in her methodic sense of order and in the subtle variations of tone and shape that are infused into each work.

In her drawings, which are often 12 x 9 inches or smaller, she creates a microcosm of the natural world. Gaining inspiration from what can be found in her backyard- ferns, tree bark, icicle formations- she transforms these shapes into an endless and simultaneous play of repetitions and variations. At once light and dark, vertical and horizontal, Santibañez’s work is a constant interplay of opposing forces.

Santibañez creates works that quote nature, and pare it down to its abstract essence. Interlocking verticals and horizontals create sturdy compositions that undulate with rhythm. The viewer’s depth of field is often interrupted: foreground becomes background and then flips, forcing the viewer to question which is the ground and which is the form, and whether the two can truly be separated. At the heart of each painting and drawing is a meticulous attention to detail and a complete mastery of craft. Santibañez’s work is not merely beautiful, but has a presence that defies its often diminutive size.

Katia Santibañez was born in Paris in 1964 and received her B.F.A. from the Ecole des Beaux Arts in 1990. She has shown extensively, both in the United States and in France

Artist of the Day: Shaun Tan

For more of this artist click here.

Art Proper

James Joyce once wrote that art proper serves as a gateway to the gods, but what about art that attacks the Gods, or those who worship them? In Thailand, a young artist by the name of Nupong Chanthorn caused a great uproar with his painting (above) entitled Bhikku Sandan Ka (Monks With Traits of a Crow). According to an article in the Asia Times, the painting has sparked a debate within Thai society over wither Buddhist monks are a legitimate target of criticism. One side argues that monks are sacred and should not be insulted (and here I thought Buddhist had no-self and practiced non-attachment), while the other side argues that it is not only proper to criticize monks, it is a religious duty to expose wrong-doings in society – no matter the source.