A festive season tradition in PAÑPURI, Gift Time presents highly covetable PAÑPURI’s personal care and home ambiance masterpieces elegantly packaged in gift boxes donned in a signature pattern using a distinctive theme. For this year’s leitmotif, PAÑPURI collaborated with Yune, Tokyo-based Thai illustrator and graphic designer to create her version of Utopia while featuring five cities: Bangkok, Kobe, Corsica, Jumeirah and Milan.
PAÑPURI (P): How did the inspiration for this year’s Gift Time 2017 come about?
Yune (Y): It all started with the keywords – Holiday, Festive and Secret Hideout. I found interesting stories about each of the places because I believe that each one had fascinating customs and traditions within them. These stories, either by man or nature and sometimes by both, were the inspiration for the design. I wanted to interpret each place’s culture, time and architecture into an inspiring artwork.
P: Is it how you normally start a design collaboration?
Y: It depends but most of the time, I’d fill myself up with all the information before I start thinking about it. I call it “thinking” because it all happens in my head—the colors, lights, compositions, techniques and even the drawing process, which all take time because I do it without a pen. Some might think I just waste time daydreaming but if the process is all well-planned and executed, then, the drawing will be finished in no time. Fortunately, my collaborators understand and trust my design workflow.
P: Which of the five cities (Bangkok, Kobe, Corsica, Milan or Jumeirah) was the most challenging to make?
Y: Definitely, Bangkok. It might seem to be a piece of cake because I was born there but it is not that easy. I think it was the dilemma of being the “insider or outsider”. Bangkok is my hometown and I never looked at it from another perspective, but I had to re-arrange my idea of Bangkok and study about this city again to be able to see what is really there. I actually feel fortunate to be extremely challenged because it pushes me out of my comfort zone.
"These stories, either by man or nature and sometimes by both, were the inspiration for the design. I wanted to interpret each place’s culture, time and architecture into an inspiring artwork."
P: If you were to spend an all-expense-paid holiday in one of those cities, which would you pick and why?
Y: It is nearly impossible to choose because they are all interesting places but I would select Jumeirah over the other cities. The culture of this city is exceptional and so is the interesting architecture! I am fascinated on how they integrated the huge cityscape with the desert, which seems like a page taken from science fiction books.
P: What inspires you?
Y: If it doesn’t come from research, it would be from my imagination, especially when I am aware of my surroundings. This includes light coming through a building, people sitting on the passing train, snow falling, the shadow forming from a building or even people talking. Even though my works are mostly geometric, I am often inspired by the curves of nature.
P: What is the most satisfying aspect of being an illustrator?
Y: It happens when the collaborators pushes my boundaries, prompting me to develop at the same time. I love receiving comments and feedback even when they request to edit the artwork. I am not in the position to say whether they are right or wrong as I believe that each person can suggest an idea that may be better. If the outcome is much better than my first piece, then I would be so delighted.
P: What is your personal aesthetic like and where did you learn it from?
Y: From my perspective, my personal aesthetics changes through time. I try not to specify what it is so I can broaden my skills. I’d say that my aesthetics changes as I grow along with my experiences and surroundings. I work from what I perceive day by day. Most people say that they can instantly tell my work but they cannot really explain the reason why.
P: Who were your biggest influences?
Y: David Hockney does not really affect my work but he influences me on how I work and live as a designer. He never stops and never feels he is old. He has been around for a long time, but he still creates something new every day. He even held an exhibition even though he’s almost 80, so I really admire his spirit! He was once interviewed for The Guardian and said that “When I’m working, I feel like Picasso, I feel I’m 30”.
P: How did growing up in Thailand and living in Japan contribute to your style of art?
Y: There is one Thai proverb that says “Fine feathers make fine birds” that reflects aspects of the Thai people and culture really well. Thais would say that we need to add, to decorate to make something beautiful. The Japanese people believe in “Wabi-Sabi”, which means acceptance of transience and imperfection. Fortunately, I have this opportunity to stand in between the two cultures and observe them together. So when I work for Japanese partners, I think of their culture and other aspects that they seek. This kind of aesthetics also works similarly for Thai collaborators.
P: Where do you look for inspiration?
Y: I challenge myself all the time and I would thoroughly study a project before I start. For example, if the subject matter is “white”, I would also search for the color “black” and learn about everything including “black”. In doing so, it helps me understand “white” better as I’m not limited by the theme.
P: What are your goals as an artist?
Y: Art and design always evolve, and so does technology. I want to develop myself more and reach a point where I truly understand the old and new concepts of aesthetics, so my goal is to always be up-to-date. It may sound like a peculiar goal to some, but this endless process helps me in improving myself.
P: If you weren’t a designer, is there anything else you could see yourself doing?
Y: Perhaps I will be a rice expert, just like my parents. I am also always fascinated to meet someone with a specific area of expertise.