Getting to Know is all about meeting the various faces that populates the beautiful island of Phuket. This month, we sat down with Vincent Henon, Artist and Owner of PandaArt.
First off, tell us a bit more about yourself.
I am a French national enjoying living in Phuket for about 10 years now. I have studied Arts at the St-Luc Superior Art School in Belgium, where I met a Thai woman which I ended up following to Phuket. While the relationship did not last long, my love for the Thai lifestyle, the quality of life in Phuket and the opportunities it offered remained, as I was able to hold art workshops in international schools, spreading my passion for drawing and painting. I did not have to worry so much for the money as I would have in Europe, so it got me more freedom to experiment.
Six years ago, I opened my own company, PandaArt, in Chalong, to promote arts and be able to produce it here. I mainly create original artworks, which are meant to be colorful and playful using traditional materials, such as pencils, china ink, and watercolors, as well as events and business flyers or social media items and the demand is getting steadier. I also work as a translator.
How and when did you realize that you had such a talent?
I started to learn how to draw very late, in my 20’s. At that time, while I was looking at career’s options, I realized that nothing made me happier than drawing. I used to draw all the time when I was younger but eventually stopped for a while when my parents refused to register me to the drawing classes I wanted.
I believe that learning how to draw is not complicated, but you need to dedicate the time and energy going through numerous sources of knowledge to improve your skills. In the end, your tenacity will pay off and you will be able to draw pretty much anything. As for me, my real talent would be my ability to play with different concepts and blend them together and find the common elements between different objects, such as when I get to mix child drawings with more realistic ones.
Where do you get most of your inspiration?
Definitely from children’s drawings: they are amazing! It is a never-ending source of creativity, a world without fear, where the rules get reinvented each time. Observing them and getting your inspiration from them is very soothing and it helps reconnect with the simple act of drawing, when a few lines on paper become your creation. And they have interesting stories coming with them too. All in all, it is so full of life!
I also enjoy doing portraits. Observing the people’s faces, understanding the various moods, their expressions, and then play with them and mix them with different drawing concepts. Traditional materials are more attractive to me and inspire me more, as you can leave the substance you use getting its own life and inspire you with a new development that might not go according to the plan.
Tell us one thing that you love about Phuket, and one thing you’d like to see changed.
Talking about what I love in Phuket is very easy! In Phuket, you will fall in love at least once a day. Whether you fall in love with a person, a landscape, a location or with some food, you will always end up falling in love every day! So, I could say that I am in love with falling in love.
With regards to what I would like to see change in the future, I guess my biggest hope would be for road safety to improve. So much still need to be done on that subject, but it would be amazing to live a life in Phuket where road safety was not a concern anymore. Things have changed quite a lot in the last 10 years and I found it very interesting. I can’t wait to see what Phuket will transform into in the upcoming years.
Any projects coming up? What are you plan for the future?
I will keep being playful with creativity. I am frequently receiving demands for flyers and corporate products (such as business cards) and I am pushing towards offering full marketing campaigns.
As for the traditional artworks, I am preparing a new series based on people at the beaches, which Phuket has plenty and I found beautiful, always with a playful and original combination of elements, greeting the local iconic places we can all enjoy at the same time.
I would also love to bring back some of my workshops, available from beginners to pros, as soon as I have more free time. Teaching is a very stimulating experience and communicating your passion doing so makes you the most relevant person to allow other people to grow in a particular field.
Interested in partnering with Vincent on one of your projects? You can contact him through his Facebook page at https://web.facebook.com/PandaArtCO.