Fah Thai Magazine July/August 2017

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I<br />

t was the last stage of summer when<br />

<strong>Fah</strong> <strong>Thai</strong> met with Suthipa “Toey”<br />

Kamyam, an illustrator whose works<br />

have been used widely in the domestic<br />

and international realm. While we may not<br />

know Toey’s portfolio, her work appears<br />

on many familiar brands. A talk on the<br />

creative process took place at her private<br />

studio, where time is spent making sure<br />

never-ending ideas materialise into art.<br />

Opposite:<br />

Clockwise from Left<br />

“Brazil”, Pencil on<br />

Paper and Digital<br />

Collage, 35x26 cm.,<br />

for Taylors of<br />

Harrogate, <strong>2017</strong><br />

Art Direction:<br />

Pearlfisher London<br />

“An Old Weathered<br />

Wine”, Pencil on<br />

Paper, 30x40 cm.,<br />

for Cambria Estate<br />

Winery, 2015<br />

Art Direction: John<br />

McNeil Studio<br />

“The Harvest”,<br />

Pencil on Paper<br />

and Digital Collage,<br />

120x120 cm., for Jim<br />

Thompson, 2016<br />

“Caribbean Island<br />

Wild Flowers”, Pencil<br />

on Paper and Digital<br />

Collage, 70x100 cm.,<br />

for Crabtree & Evelyn,<br />

2016 Art Direction :<br />

Crabtree & Evelyn<br />

One sees Toey’s illustrations<br />

used in various global products<br />

such as Nespresso or L’Occitane<br />

en Provence, Crabtree & Evelyn,<br />

tea company Taylors of Harrogate<br />

and American company Sonoma<br />

Cannabis Co. She did work for<br />

Jelmoli Department store in<br />

Switzerland and lifestyle company<br />

Cocolux in Australia, spanning to<br />

Villa La Madonna in Italy and Okio<br />

Accessories in Sweden. This full<br />

range makes her work familiar to us<br />

all while her well-known domestic<br />

contribution is the design of scarf<br />

patterns for renowned textile house<br />

Jim Thompson.<br />

Her signature work shows lined<br />

patterns drawn delicately. Finishes<br />

hold a unique visual texture with her<br />

trademark technique of small links<br />

and mesh shapes. Her drawings<br />

are complex but the device she<br />

usually uses is simple. It’s just a<br />

propelling pencil and up to now,<br />

she gives no thought to trying new<br />

tools. A propelling pencil is easy<br />

to use, she says, with an ability to<br />

give sharp lines without sharpening.<br />

Toey adds that it is mostly suited<br />

to her illustration style. “Drawing<br />

wasn’t my skill in the first place.<br />

So when I started, I just wanted to<br />

use something simple. I finally<br />

realised its simplicity – it’s<br />

attractive,” she says.<br />

Toey was sitting at her desk,<br />

relaxed and serenely talking about<br />

how she became an illustrator.<br />

In high school she was like many<br />

students, filled with doubts of<br />

about what major should be chosen<br />

at university. The answer eventually<br />

was graphic design and after<br />

graduation spent two years working.<br />

Journeying to do her masters in<br />

Gothenburg in Sweden, it was there<br />

where she found the love of drawing.<br />

“Living in Sweden was new to me<br />

and in a new environment – we<br />

yearn for novelty. Many of my<br />

friends there drew quite well, so I<br />

went around asking them to teach<br />

me,” the talented artist said.<br />

She kept on drawing and got<br />

an opportunity to be an assistant to<br />

a trainee photographer and practise<br />

her illustrating skills. Drawing held<br />

the stronger attraction but difficult<br />

if one wanted a secure living. So<br />

Toey returned to working in graphic<br />

design and carried on drawing in<br />

her spare time for the personal<br />

joy it gave.<br />

However, this love of drawing<br />

wasn’t just a joy to behold alone<br />

anymore. In 2014, she decided to<br />

hold her first exhibition and that<br />

was the beginning of a career as an<br />

‘Staying focused while drawing lets me be<br />

present. If not, a distraction could mean that<br />

things literally get out of ‘line.’<br />

47<br />


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