From a motorcycle trip in Southeast Asia to Art industry paradigm shift in Thailand
We will all die. The goal is not to live forever but to create something that will. That’s why I love Art and I created Silapix. Silapix.com (powered by Art Consulting Thailand) is an innovative social network marketplace to connect together Thai artists, designers, collectors and organizations. The objective is to give sustainable business opportunities to Thai artists & designers, and provide unique interior decoration services to art collectors organizations. Think global but Art local, Art Consulting Thailand is building the first art ecosystem in Thailand to install this country as a major one in terms of high quality art production.
Art Consulting Thailand evolved from Rock Around Asia, my first art gallery founded in Bangkok in early 2011. Before that, I traveled all over Southeast Asia in 2010 during a seven month motorcycle trip. That’s how I met so many talented artists and craftsmen, which gave me the idea to give them mainstream representation.
Art Consulting Thailand is an innovative art and design consultancy and project management agency, socially engaged, to serve an ambitious vision: contributing to build a sustainable art ecosystem in Thailand by giving business opportunities to new generations of Thai artists. The aim is to initiate an industry paradigm shift in Thailand through new technologies by providing art and design related services to organizations. We are socially engaged because since early 2011, we have been supporting culture and education in Thailand, taking it as a responsibility to give opportunities to young generations of Thai artists and students from art history and other creative backgrounds. Furthermore, I also have designed museum tours to give foreigners knowledge about the history of Thailand and about the evolution of Thai society since the reforms of King Chulalongkorn.
As a Frenchman with an education in sciences, I consider myself an heir of the Enlightenment Century (Siècle des Lumières in French), which was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 18th century, “The Century of Philosophy”. The Enlightenment included a range of ideas centered on reason as the primary source of authority and legitimacy, and came to advance ideals like liberty, progress, tolerance, fraternity, constitutional government and separation of Church and State. The Enlightenment was marked by an emphasis on the scientific method and reductionism, along with increased questioning of religious orthodoxy, an attitude captured by the short quote “Dare to know” (Wikipedia definition).
The fact that there is no real art market in Thailand needs to change. It seems that there has never been a political will to promote an ecosystem in Thailand that would lead to a real structured art market compared to neighbouring countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and China (Shanghai). This is such a strange paradox because annually there are hundreds of talented students graduating from faculties of Fine Arts in Thailand who do not have a chance to make a living out of their art. And we all know there is a need for art to create unique living spaces with particular attention to interior decoration.
As for the galleries in Thailand, there is a lot of resignation rather than creativity and innovation. Most of art galleries do not generate sales. And so-called “art lovers” who attend exhibition openings are generally more interested in friendly networking and free drinks rather than investing in artworks or supporting artists. Another trend is the emergence of “café galleries” in hipster neighborhoods in Bangkok, which help the gallery to make money but dilute the purpose. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok (MOCA), is beautiful modern space showcasing the works of major Thai artists, but remains quiet. Jatujak market is a common venue for few artists to sell and showcase their work; however it is only open on weekends thus limiting their exposure.
To sum up, most players in the art market in Thailand are focusing only on individuals without offering any service to businesses and artists, but giving them what is universally common. One simple search on Google with targeted keywords validates this assertion.
Since early 2015 – having seen a great opportunity in this area – Rock Around Asia has started to build an innovative and sustainable model so that emerging Thai artists and businesses can connect. To enable this relationship, we offer a unique range of services and create values for each other. The concept is based on developing an online social network marketplace (Silapix.com) dedicated to Thai artists and designers, which integrate business functions with consultancy services and project management. Using this community platform managed by a creative team of art consultants, we directly connect producers (Thai artists) with buyers (businesses). The purpose is both to propose artworks (already produced) for sale or commission artists to produce new artworks to suit clients’ specifications. We liaise directly with universities of Fine Arts in Thailand as well as emerging and established Thai artists. We have just completed the first version of Silapix, featuring 100 Thai artists.
Entrusting Art Consulting Thailand means supporting an innovative social enterprise, which focuses on Thai culture and education. In 2010, when I was traveling through Southeast Asia on a motorcycle, I could not imagine that the initial idea of giving mainstream representation to local artists and craftsmen would give birth to such an ambitious project only five years later. I have a passion for culture and Thailand and I believe a force brought me here on a motorbike seven years ago. I consider this as a tangible gift to achieve Art Consulting Thailand’s social mission. Eventually, Rock Around Asia, Art Consulting Thailand and Silapix shall be my contribution to the social development of Thailand, and is the legacy that I want to leave behind in Thai culture.
Silpa Bhirasri (born Corrado Feroci) is the one who educated Thai artists to western modern art; I want to be the one who will lead them to the International Standard and install Thailand as a major country in terms of high quality art production. It would be an immense honor to build something unique in Thailand that does not exist yet anywhere else.
Eric Monteil – Founder Managing Director