Elizabeth Briel, Travel Artist

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Art in Unexpected Places

When friends in Bangkok hear where I live, they shrug their shoulders and say, “Yep, let’s meet somewhere else, because there’s really nothing to do in your neighborhood.” Unless you count dancing with prawns.

But that’s exactly why I live here, because the rent for my pleasant ensuite room with balcony and rooftop costs less than a storage locker in America, and most of all, there are few distractions from my work.  And I’ve just discovered I’m not the only artist around here who feels this way.

Far down my street near the closest Underground station is the Hof Art Gallery, an independent group of young Thai artists who have taken their art career into their own hands. They met while selling their art at Bangkok’s sprawling Chatuchak market, and decided to take their sales approach to the next level.

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

On a recent afternoon I stopped by the gallery to have a look.

The ground floor shopfront has light pouring in the windows, but art takes center stage.

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

Suggested routes and stairs are marked with discreet arrows.

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

Upstairs the mood is more staged, with oversized dramatic paintings that reflect influences from the “Big Face” paintings by Chinese artists.

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

There’s plenty of space to linger and look at the artwork.

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

Every corner provides a surprise – is this an installation or a stack of construction materials?

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

This artist’s paintings reminded me of being fourteen again, all knees, bones, and social awkwardness.

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

Grey paintings echo the color and texture of a grey concrete wall.

Top Floor, Hof Gallery, Bangkok

The gallery sprawls up several floors, and the top levels are raw as the best art studios are.

Hof Gallery, Bangkok

And downstairs again, a truck mirror guides visitors out the back door.

For more independent galleries in Bangkok, have a look at these recommendations by the best guidebook to Southeast Asia – Travelfish.

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