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Fire in his heart

PHUKET: Painter Virat ‘Plerng’ Uttakut comes to meet me at the door to his P. Fire Studio, through which one glimpses a hammock strung up between tree trunks.

By Norachai Thavisin

Friday 20 April 2012, 04:30PM

Virat ‘Plerng’ Uttakut.

Virat ‘Plerng’ Uttakut.

His half-finished brick- and-cement studio, where he lives on the second floor, is in the pioneering Phuket Art Village in Soi Naya 2, off Saiyuan Rd, as you drive towards Naiharn Beach.

Small, thin and gentle, Virat doesn’t at first display much of the “fire” of his nickname. But the fire he has for his art is clear in the quality of paintings and drawings he has on show in his open studio.

Virat has always painted and drawn, moving to Phuket from Surat Thani Province many years ago. Like many other artists at that time, he opened a commercial shophouse studio to sell his work on Phang Nga Rd in old Phuket Town, then moved to this art village last year.

His life is both peaceful and productive, with Virat spending long days painting abstract images that are clearly inspired by the azure sea, and the verdant tropical landscape of this isle. On weekends, the artist often takes off on his motorbike to draw small, delicate and detailed work at the beach.

QSI International School Phuket

Though a work in progress, the Phuket Art Village is already home to seven practising artists, who have joined together to create this experimental settlement – one artist (Khun Pui’s Love Art Studio) building a striking house out of recycled timber from disused fishing boats.

Another artist, who makes intricate shadow puppets from leather, plans to erect a large traditional back-it cloth screen to show his work in theatre shows, instead of using a big flat-screen DVD television.

Three working artist studios – Love Art, Red and P. Fire, with contact details on the Gallery Listing on this page – can be visited on most days at the village.

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