Virut ( Bangkok 1980) begins his creative process online, where he scans through thousands and thousands of images we all are bombarded with every day. However he is not looking for faces that are beautiful nor famous, what he is searching for are emotions. “I believe this is what’s important in art – emotions. So I just look for images that evoke emotions, once I find them, I start sketching.”
How quickly he can manage to turn a photograph that catches his eye into an eye-popping collage depends very much on… luck. If he finds necessary raw materials quickly, it can be ready in a few days, but it might also take a whole month. That’s because the patches of colour and texture he uses to compose his collages come from piles of old colourful magazines he keeps at home and buys at second hand shops. “It’s easier when you use paint and mix colours on a palette, you have control over colour and time. But with collages, it’s more complicated,” he explains. “Sometimes it takes me a very long time to find the right colour in the magazines that I flip through.”
And he has to flip through hundreds, even thousands of magazines in order to find what he is looking for a lengthy and tedious process. But in those two years since he started experimenting with collage technique, he learned a lot. First, he stopped noticing the contents of the magazines, and now perceives them solely as a source of intense colours and textures. Secondly, he discovered which publications tend to be the best source of quality material, “I use a lot of porn mags because I can find a lot of smooth, nicely coloured skin there. Fashion magazines work fine as well,” he explains.
Whatever the source material though, the final product of Virut’s efforts are very distant from the master copies. Tiny scraps of colourful paper are meticulously layered one next to the other to produce a large seize portrait – each different, each unique but all full of emotions. The original image disappears but the feeling remains. “I just borrow the mood of the photographs,” says Virut.
And just as his first, minimalistic paintings, those massive collages are a hit amongst art collectors. Virut’s pieces hang on walls of art galleries and private homes around the globe, from Netherlands to US, from France to Hong Kong, China, India, Malaysia… the list goes on. And having his art in all those places, admired by so many people, grant’s Virut his main wish as an artist – immortality. “When I die, my art will not die with me. This will be success for me.”