When music meets art.
Back in 2018, Kantapon “Gong” Metheekul, a.k.a Gongkan, turned heads as the artist behind "that" picture of Trump and Kim Jong-Un. Two years later and the former ad-agency creative's art career has reached new heights, with his work gracing the videos of world-renowned musicians. We caught up with him to find out more.
From Lukas Graham to Troye Sivan, how did you get involved with these music projects?
The initial idea of this project was to release Troye Sivan's “Take Yourself Home” music video with Thai lyrics. Universal Music Thailand proposed some well-known local Thai artists to Troye and I was selected. Actually, music is one thing that I like and I personally admire Troye Sivan’s music.
How was this different from the work you’ve done before?
I’m pretty familiar with commercial art since I’ve done a lot before. Most [projects] usually come with a concept, but how I’m going to express that concept is left to my own ideas. So in this video project, they let me interpret the song and how I wanted to express it on my own.
Who’s the next artist you wish to work with? Any dream collaboration?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Thai hip hop artists recently. Twopee is one of my favorite rappers. I want to try making a hip hop music video. My interest in hip hop and the Thai rap scene has been growing lately—I think it is more than music because it makes me feel like I'm listening to someone’s story or a composition. Plus, it isn’t always just about love; it represents so many aspects of life that are much more profound and interesting.
What's the last year been like?
I rarely had time to take a rest since I had a lot of work and solo exhibitions. It been a year of dealing with overseas, especially Taiwan and China. I’ve also done a lot of commercial and installation art, collaborating with brands to display in department stores.
From starting out as a street artist to the work you do today, how has the journey been so far? What’s next for you?
I started from zero all by myself. My initial goal was not about earning money because I just wanted to do something artistic and I just wanted to make it happen. What I have achieved so far is more than I expected. My next step is creating fine art pieces. I want to dig deep down into the details of each piece. And I really hope that my work will be in some world-famous galleries one day.
Do you find that art can be therapeutic during periods of social distancing? How has the Covid pandemic affected the way that you work?
For me, art is therapy—like a hobby that you can enjoy spending time with. I have been able to create more work because I'm able to spend more time with myself.
Since we first interviewed you back in 2018, what has changed on Bangkok’s art scene?
The new generation is very talented. I love their confidence in expressing their work. I think Bangkok’s art scene is gradually flourishing, but it needs more support from the government and the public sectors. They should help provide more spaces for artists and art students to showcase their work, as well as arrange more art exhibitions from both local and international artists.
Over the past few years, the city has welcomed a lot more art exhibitions, as well as events like Bangkok Design Week. Do you think these developments are enough or could more be done to enrich the city’s art scene?
Sometimes the events are way too niche to reach the majority of people. That’s why some of them didn’t get as much as attention as expected. Besides, as I mentioned before, we still need more spaces for showcases, plus more budget assigned to trading famous art pieces or bringing big-name artists to Bangkok.
How do you want Bangkok’s art scene to look in future?
We should give more opportunities to new artists to showcase their work. I think the media should play a big role in this as well.
Check out the "Take Yourself Home" Thai lyrics video here: