How would you describe yourself – who is Kantapon Metheekul?
Born and raised in Bangkok. Art School Graduate. Art Director and Illustrator based in Bangkok and New York. With a strong background in art and 4 years of experience in top advertising agencies, Kantapon’s creativity extends from advertising to digital art to fine arts.
His ability to create various styles of works have won him many advertising awards across the world from Cannes Lion to Clio and Spikes Asia. Obsessed with arts, Kantapon finds inspiration in his hand-drawn illustrations in everyday life, fashion and people’s relationship.
You are working under the name “GongKan”, What does it mean to you?
It’s my first name and last name so Gongkan is the name from Gong( my nick name)+Kan (Kantapon)
Could you please tell us a little bit about your background and the path that led you to where you are today?
I was an art student from Bangkok. I used to be Art director for 3 years in advertising company.
I got many awards from advertising competition such as Cannes Lion, Spike Asia, Clio. But actually, I love to do painting so I decides to go to NYC to be an artist.
How did you get started as a street artist?
The second year in New York, I wanted to explore my work more than on a paper. I want my works fit in to people life so I started to do street art.
One of your most recognisable works “Teleport” has a lot of black holes. What is the story behind those black holes?
”Teleport” came about as I moved to New York to follow my dreams. The amount of pressure is massive trying to achieve them and harvesting every experiences and opportunities that came knocking on my door. However, sometimes you can't see where all of this is taking you. I figured that my feelings are mutual to many others living here in New York. So I created this character as a representation of freedom to travel anywhere and do anything by using a black circle as a door to go everywhere. She is a friend who inspires us and be our company in a city full of lonely people.
How does illustration/design change the way you view the world?
I used to be a conservative person but now I think life is freedom, we can do anything that doesn’t make other people feel bad.
Can the creativity be learned later, or is it a feeling that is always within the human being?
It can be both. Everyday life can inspired me, bad and good memories can make artwork. I usually created artworks from my memory.
You’re born in Bangkok. Now you landed in New York. What draw you to New York, and what artistic inspirations have New York given you that Bangkok wasn’t able to?
New York is not my safe zone so I have to fight more. New York is the city where every people in the world comes so I can see a colourful world here. I can see different insights from different county. I open my world about equality such as gay, feminist, skin colours, etc.
What is the difference between Bangkok’s art scene and New York’s?
So different in the pass because Thai had the maximal style, very details, spiritual and amazing hand craft but New York is more pop art and modern. But now, art’s world is smaller so many style of art can happened everywhere in the world.
What has living in New York taught you?
If you want something, you have to work on it. You have to work hard and follow your dream until you get it.
What are your top five songs on your playlist?
Donna donna -Joan Baez
Fix you - Coldplay
Fighter - Christina Aguilera
Losing you - Solange
I look to you - Whitney Houston
What is your biggest source of inspiration?
My experience about Sadness and the truth (The eternal truth, fact of life) of the.
What other illustrators/animators are you digging these days?
It’s very hard question, I love a lot of Japanese animation such as Pokemon, Sailor moon and Doraemon. For illustrators and artist, I would say Jeff Koons, Takashi Murakami, Noritake.
Where are your favorite spots in Bangkok & New York? Food, coffee, shops, etc.
Bangkok - Ari ( my neighborhood, a lot of great coffee shop and Thai street food)
NYC - Withny Museum, Chelsea ( a lot of art galleries ) and Bryant Park
Could you give us three fun facts about yourself?
People don’t want to be sad but many of my artworks are from my sadness so I have to meet with sadness many times.
I have to drink coffee everyday because I can turn to be a mad guy when I don’t get coffee in my body!
I am not a morning person, I can do a great work and 100% my ability after 1pm.
Finally, is there something you wish interviewers would ask you — but never do?
I’m artist because I love art and I am a dreaming person but sometimes people think artist is a cool person and everything that artist pick up and use and listen have to be a cool things too.
I just wanna say I’m not a cool person but sometimes the world need us to be a perfect person ( may be because of social media ) We can show the perfect parts to the world but don’t forget who you are and don’t look down to other people:)