In his small studio in Chiang Mai Thong Dee paints an old scene from one of Bangkok’s famous floating markets. It’s a scene he draws from memory and imagination, and one that he’s already painted several times before in various lights and styles.
Thongs has been painting for more than twenty years. He told me that for the first five years of his artistic career he would paint lily’s and simple flowers. He then moved on to painting landscapes and depictions of Buddha, as well as the occasional naked woman it would seem from some of the pictures in his old town studio.
When I met Thong he was working hard on his latest painting. I watched him carefully adding tiny details to the vividly painted canvas, leaning in to add minute brush strokes here and there, then rolling back on his chair to get a wider view. From this large painting he’ll produce smaller prints that will likely find their way across the world to places Thong himself may never get to see.