Thailand’s Pearl of the Andaman, Phuket, is picture-postcard beautiful and displays an endless scene of vivid palettes with aquamarine waters, white-sand beaches, and cobalt-blue skies fringing an emerald green landscape. Beach days in the year-round sunshine may beckon, but Phuket is far more than a seaside destination and boasts a vibrant culture and diverse community. It is also an artistic gem, home to some incredible artists and excellent art galleries. For art-lovers, collectors looking for pieces that are unique, and would-be artists Phuket promises creative inspiration.
Kerrily Jennings who runs Negarta, an online source for Asian art, features Thai artists based in Phuket. She offers holidaymakers an opportunity to discover local artists, many of whom do not showcase their art in local galleries but work from their homes instead. She arranges private classes on request either at a guest’s villa accommodation or an artist’s studio and once holidaymakers have found an artist they like and perhaps invested in some original artwork, they are kept updated on new creations.
Kerrily believes Phuket is an inspirational destination for artists and artistically inspired vacations. “Artists are creating original artworks in Phuket are growing in number here because of the opportunities for greater exposure of their artworks to an international community. They draw inspiration from the diverse environments of Phuket, from our abundant jungles, stunning beaches, and seascapes, as well as street life, Sino-Portuguese architecture, and everyday life of family, tradition, and culture.”
Kerrily reveals how the growing Phuket art scene has also involved helping the local community too. ”It’s exciting and encouraging to see how art is evolving to become more accessible and viewed by everyone in Phuket. Negarta was recently part of a fabulous live art performance at the Kata Rocks resort during their SuperYacht Rendezvous last year, raising funds for the Phuket youth sailing club.”
Expressing your artistic side during your vacation can also be a wonderful way to learn more about a destination too, enthuses Kerrily. “By participating in art activities during a holiday in Phuket, vacationers gain a greater, and more insightful, understanding of Thai culture and Thai people. Art activities are about engaging with residents, who have a passion for sharing their talents and thoughts, ultimately themselves, in a unique way. For example, spending an afternoon learning Lai Thai drawing with a Thai artist is not only memorable but the visitor also comes away with a new skill, an artwork of their own, and a fabulously unique experience.”
Phuket Art Village is a quirky artistic hub; a community of artists and studios where you can stroll around, meet artists, and enjoy the laid-back, funky, and artsy atmosphere. From batik to puppets, acrylics to woodwork and recyclables, there is a strong sense of preserving local culture and individual artistic talents; a truly creative wonderland.
Phuket Trick Eye Museum is an excellent way to enjoy interactive art where you become part of the painting and create a 3D illusion you can photograph. Each piece has been specially painted so that it seemingly puts you in the scene for real and the visual effect is fun and fabulous.
Napas Art Gallery is run by two Thai artists who offer original works and also custom painted oil and acrylic pieces. The beauty of Phuket nature is brought to life through the imagination of artist Soon Papan.
Fe2 Decor is home to beautiful rare crystals and semi-precious gemstones, stunning jewelry, wood sculpture pieces, and soft silks. Run by a New Yorker who worked in fashion in Paris, the gallery is an aesthetic design dream of exquisite crafts and home decor wonder.
Soul of Asia is run by a Dutchman whose family has a long tradition of collecting Dutch Old Masters. After setting up the largest western art gallery in Asia, in Hong Kong, the Phuket gallery was established 15 years ago. Today, space features master paintings from Asia, Asian antiques, Chinese antique furniture, and even a collection of Picasso, Warhol, Chagall, and Dali lithographs.
i Mon Art Gallery is a treasure trove of huge paintings with original woodcut and linocut prints that are as spectacular as they are skilled. With the gallery owner adding real character to space, the effect is mesmerizing.
Ton Art Studio brings art to the street with an open-studio style where you can watch pieces magically materialize. Custom pieces are created, and the gallery shop is packed with all styles and genres from portraits to pop art, contemporary to classic; a glimmer of artistic culture in the tourist-centric Patong part of Phuket.
KruSingsornsilpa Art Phuket offers young, budding artists and adults beginner to advanced art courses to inspire their creative side.
Exploring Phuket’s artistic temperament adds another layer of interest to Phuket, revealing there is far more to the island than beautiful beaches.