“Have you ever thought about trying to do something with the stuff you throw away?” asked Pichakorn “Not” Phukeaw.
Pichakorn not only thought about it but also decided to follow through; now, as a result, he reates quite exceptional things out of whatever waste material he has to hand.
Pichakorn did not have a clear career path in front of him when he graduated from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Chiang Mai University. He tried several jobs but none of them worked out. What he did know, however, was that he loves painting and making things. When he thought about making his own products, he started to look for low-cost materials and particularly waste materials since he had already experimented with waste material when he was a student. He got an overwhelmingly positive response for his first product, which was a notebook each of which had a different cover.
He likes to imagine what he can make out of the waste material he sees around him. His works do not involve adornment as he believes that his raw materials already have their charm and value. Many of his works do not come from sketched plans but from improvising and working with the materials available at that moment.
“Each piece starts with an idea in my head, so the brand has my nickname ‘Not’,” said Pichakorn. “Tua Pen Not is often perceived as an eco-friendly brand, but I am not an environmental activist. I don’t have a lot of budget to make things, so I have to look for low cost material. I see value in things that most others see as garbage. All it needs is creativity and a sense of character, and then we can add value to what would otherwise be waste,” said Pichakorn.
Pichakorn has gained a reputation as an artist whose designs focus on eco-friendly recycled art products that have a very distinct character. His products include bags, shirts, lamps, tables and chairs, all of which are made from wood offcuts, scrap metal, pipes and cans. Each item he makes is one of a kind as the materials he uses are all different. With a passion for abstract and installation art, he often gets to exhibit his works for customers who want to show something very distinctive.
“I believe many of our craftspeople are very talented, but some might not have the opportunity or support to reach their full potential. Many craft products don’t get enough media attention. However, if there is more support for projects like this through digital marketing and social media, craftspeople will have greater opportunities,” said Pichakorn.
“By drawing inspiration from our surroundings and meeting and talking with people, we can generate infinite creativity. By doing that we love, we can make wonderful things that represent who we are,” he said.