Sarah Corynen
Sarah Corynen

Joy in every letter

Art February 02, 2019 01:00

By Kupluthai Pungkanon
The Nation Weekend

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Belgian illustrator Sarah Corynen leads Sansiri’s drive to help Thai designers blossom



PROPERTY developer Sansiri has tapped Belgian artist Sarah Corynen to guide its participation in Bangkok Design Week. Her cheery creation is on view alongside the Chao Phraya River until tomorrow, on the pier of Siam Commercial Bank’s Talad Noi branch.

“The Alphabet of Joy”, presented in collaboration with the Thailand Creative and Design Centre, celebrates four of the developer’s condominiums – The Line, XT, Haus and The Base – together known as the Sansiri Club Collection. 

Sarah Corynen

Corynen’s playful artwork has previously helped promote fashion label Comme des Garcons and Habitat, a European maker of contemporary furniture. She’s had pieces on view in art and fashion exhibitions and museums from Paris to Hong Kong, but this is the first time she’s worked in Southeast Asia. 

“The Alphabet of Joy” entails about 30 selected drawings and prints.

“I illustrate patterns for textile industries and met Ou Baholyodhin of Sansiri at an architecture fair in Paris five years ago,” Corynen explained at her show’s opening. “In this exhibition I’m presenting both old and new works. I also have a lot of textile designs, which you don’t see so much here.”

Corynen founded her own creative studio in 2014 and ever since has been attending the annual textile shows Premiere Vision in Paris and Heimtextil in Frankfurt, Germany. 

Her drawings mainly depict daily life, animals and nature in a bold, simple, witty style and are printed on textiles and home d้cor and appear as book illustrations. 

“I always like to start by drawing in ink and then I’ll add softer, more graphic dimensions,” she said. “I think my hand is quite bold and strong, so I like big paper and big brushes.

“And then after I’ve finished a series like the animals, I scan them into a computer and colour them in a very precise way. I love animals because of the many links between animals and humans. I can add human qualities to create a naughty fox or koala. I put humour into it. The doe and the bear are my favourites, but I love them all.”

Corynen creates playful animals. 

Corynen has also earned acclaim for her knitwear, though it occupies less of her time lately. 

“At the time I was looking for soft, abstract, yet figurative movement. I started drawing the lines in colour but I didn’t have any particular inspiration. But it’s kind of grown from one picture to another and suddenly there was a series. It’s up to the viewers.”

Colours are what make Corynen’s work so easily identifiable. 

“I like bright colours, but I like to soften them with my own pastel palette, so that people often recognise them. I don’t know how I choose it – the mood maybe. 

“Colour can be quite influential. Like at home, it gives you a happy, comfortable feeling because you choose the painting and put it in a favourite spot. It’s the same way a cotton blanket you put on the bed brings you comfort and cosiness. It gives a lot to the home and brings joy. 

Sansiri is presenting the exhibition “Alphabet of Joy”.

“I also work with a wallpaper company and decorate kitchen products like teapots and coffee cups. Currently I’m working on drawings of sea life, such as fish, crabs, turtles and a shark, which I’ll present for spring and summer.”

Corynen’s “Alphabet of Joy” spells out “all the things in life” – A for apple, B for breakfast, and so on.

“Every letter can be joyful, like all the animals and plants and thing that can give you joy if you look for it.” 

Panrapi Pukkajiam of Tham-Ma-Ha-Gin conducts a workshop on making tote bags. 

Ou Baholyodhin, chief creative officer at Sansiri, said the firm wanted to “help the new generation of designers step onto the world stage”. 

“We’ve collaborated with these budding designers whom we chose from the field of fashion whose work is distinctive and individualistic. We don’t want the artwork to be merely admired and then that’s the end of it.”

Ceramicists Non Netphrom and Napakamol Akkarapongpaisarn run the brand LamunLamai.

Thai designers being promoted by Sansiri with the issuance of limited edition collections are The Achivist print studio, Zequenz, which produces hand-crafted notebooks, Madhatter with its cloth handbags bearing art prints, the ceramics of LamunLamai, and hand-made marvels from Tham-Ma-Ha-Gin. 

They’ll all be at the pier tomorrow from 3pm to 10pm.