In the climate where freedom of expression is becoming more and more stifled, artists of all stripes must find new ways to get their message across. EQ got in touch with a rising Instagram artist called “Mon” who goes by the code name PSSYPPL. Known for his bold digital prints satirizing Thai politics and society, he told us all about the inspiration behind his alias and his artworks.
The inspiration behind Pssyppl
It all started from a Facebook page whose main selling point was on the latest drama. Mon told us that it was fun in the beginning when he was still learning about the job. Coming up with juicy topics everyday to satisfy the page’s followers was fun until he realized that most of the content produced only served one purpose, which was to keep up with the needs of those followers. Finally, he decided to step away from Facebook and assume the handle @pssyppl on Instagram, a platform that he felt would allow him to express his thoughts in his own way. Created while he was working on his Bachelor’s thesis, the account initially dealt with sex (“Pssyppl” stands for ‘Pussy People’) before going full political.
Transforming emotions into art
Mon captures his feelings and emotions about things that happen in the world, brilliantly turning them into a memorable piece of art. Each line, color, and signifier come with a deeper meaning hidden within them. But it’s not just his feelings and emotions that get immortalized in his artworks, the recent political climate also finds its way into his art.
“For me personally, incorporating anger, sadness and sorrow into my work is a form of therapy. When I’m feeling down, I know that I’ll feel better once I’ve transferred that emotion to an artwork. I publish my work so that others can participate in this shared emotion.”
For Mon, emotions and feelings are not enough to be transformed into drawings. In order to be able to remain critical yet factual, a thorough research is also involved in his artworks.
Documenting the happenings
“Art has become a religion because it’s in every aspect of life. Whether you’re standing up or sitting down, everything has gone through some design process. It can ultimately be used as a weapon.”
Under this faux democracy where freedom of expression is prohibited, this “weapon” can be stories, written or otherwise, or any form of communication. For him, he chose the art of drawings to document current events, fusing them with his emotions. Once they’re out there, his artworks are open to interpretation.
“Actually, I intend for my work to be open ended. I’d like the viewer to interpret it from their own perspective. There’s no fixed concept.”
You can’t please everyone
When your work has gone public, all sorts of feedback, both positive and negative, are to be expected. Mon thinks this is completely normal and he’s prepared to take it all in stride.
“For artworks to improve, they have to be experienced by myself as well as the viewer. If I’m too afraid to show them off, the feedback will only be subjective. But if I get a critique, then I know how to do better next time.”
He told us that his favorite piece is entitled “The Fall,” which depicts a person sitting in a chair made up of people or citizens. It illustrates co-dependency between the two parties. If there happens to be a discord or disharmony among the people, the person in the chair will surely feel the instability. Simple, yet filled with sharp metaphors.
Mon makes sure to take note of current events and observe his feelings towards them. Doing so gives him an inspiration for his next piece. Some of his work may not necessarily represent a recent happening, this is because his thoughts and feelings about certain events can sometimes result in a drawing long after it’s happened. But no matter how long time has passed, his art still tells a story in vivid details and colors. When the authorities decided to use a water cannon against peaceful protesters, he was one of the artists who told it like it is.
For Mon, art is a weapon that can help us reclaim our freedom of expression