Published in VAULT: Australasian Art & Culture,
Issue 15, 2016.
Melbourne-based Thai-born artist Vipoo Srivilasa makes intricate, tragicomic ceramics that reflect cross-cultural tenors and socio-ecological concerns.
“I find porcelain clay quite sexy to touch” muses Vipoo Srivilasa, “its texture reminds me of nice, smooth skin.” Ceramic was not his first love, though. Peckish cockroaches and an unmanned reception desk detoured Srivilasa towards the practice for which he is now known.
The artist, who’s speaking to me via videophone from his Melbourne home, reveals that as a teenager in Thailand his dream was to become a traditional Thai dancer. “Mum took me to a dance school to try and enrol,” he recalls, “but when we arrived, the reception area was empty.” After waiting for eons, they gave up, walked back outside, and noticed a Fine Arts building across the road. “Someone inside was available to give us information,” Srivilasa says, “I took it as a sign and applied.”
Pursuing an interest in fashion accessories, he created and sold earrings and necklaces out of air-dry clay. A short-lived operation, as it turned out, after customers began complaining about their ‘vanishing’ jewellery. “One of the ingredients used to mix air-dry clay is bread,” he explains. “And cockroaches like to eat everything!” His irritation quickly gives way to a revelatory laugh. “Actually, I should thank those cockroaches – they forced me to switch careers.”
The above text is an excerpt.
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Image: Vipoo Srivilasa in his Melbourne studio. Photo: Andrew Barcham.