Pharuephon “Mamafaka” Mukdasanit is becoming a big part of the emerging contemporary art scene in Thailand. He and the rest of the FOR 2 Crew graffitied a large-scale mural at the Bangkok Arts and Culture Center and, most recently, walls in Chiang Mai as part of Chiang Mai Now!, an art exhibition exploring the role of art in cities. He talks to us about his inspiration and how he thought up Mr. Hell Yeah, the hairy character you may have noticed while walking down Rama 9 and Ratchada.

What inspires you to create graphic art?
In Khon Kaen, where I grew up, there weren’t many opportunities for me to explore. I was inspired by [Thai designer] Tnop Wangsillapakun when I saw his designs in a magazine from Hong Kong. I thought, if I really set my mind to design, I could go that far. His courage has always been my biggest inspiration.

Where did you get your graphic skills?
When I was in middle school, I read Dragon Ball Z comics. Then, I would draw some villains and show them off to friends at lunch. My time in art school was just an expansion of my opportunities.

Is your family supportive of what you do?
Now my mom is fine with anything I do that doesn’t cause trouble. I was one of the bad kids when I was younger. I went to technical school. When my mom first saw me trying to get involved in art, she didn’t buy it. She thought it was just another screwed up plan.

How did you start your professional path?
It started when I sold my designs at Fat Fest 2. I got to know Rukkit Kuanhawate, another graphic designer. We started to hang out and talk about how dreadful Thai graphic art was. We gathered up some design friends and established a graphic group called B.O.R.E.D.

Where did Mr. Hell Yeah come from?
He comes from my passion for drawing detailed hairlines and my effort to paint him on the wall for the first FOR exhibition at BACC. I had his sketch in my computer for a long time, then I thought it would be really cool to use a black marker to draw each hair one by one because it’s unique—no graphic designer would do that. For the name, actually I didn’t call him Mr. Hell Yeah, but the word ‘hell yeah’ was drawn next to him in FOR. Everyone started to call him Mr. Hell Yeah so I just went with it.

What is your plan for the near future?
Now I am working on making bags using my own designs. I am going to print my designs onto huge truck clothes and cut them into limited-edition bags. Interview by Clae Sea and Ubonwan Kerdtongtawee