Chatchai Puipia (CHAH-cheye pyoo-ee-PEE-uh) lives and works in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. The artist is interested in the performative ways people present themselves to the world. For his 2002 A Lost Siamese, above, Puipia uses light to craft an expressive self-portrait.
Puipia portrays himself making an exaggerated facial-expression. His eyes pop wide open, and he presses his mouth into a close-lipped smile. The artist uses highlights and shadows to emphasize the detailed contours in his facial expression.
With both warm and cool colors, Puipia paints the creases around his mouth, eyes, and cheeks. He adds rows of lines across his forehead above raised eyebrows. Notice the bright white reflection on the tip of his nose. The artist gives his skin the appearance of clay, as if he is sculpting his skin, rather than painting it.
Puipia sees his art as an exploration of how people perform. “Communicating and participating in today’s world can lead to despair,” Puipia says. “Often, the only thing I can do in response is smile.”