Today we’d like to introduce you to Gift Janyachotiwong.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My story started out like other illustrators; I have loved to draw since I was a young child. I grew up spending my days in a big stationery store owned by my grandmother in the heart of Bangkok, Thailand. The store had been running for more than 30 years before I was born. I spent half my childhood there running around, playing with cats, but mostly I was drawing. Surrounded by all kinds of pens and colors, I couldn’t resist trying them all. I was a lucky kid who had unlimited access to art supplies. That was how my journey as an illustrator began.
I kept on drawing, doing what I love. A couple of years later, my life shifted drastically. I took a chance to be an exchange student in the United States. I couldn’t choose the state where I was going. Of all 50 states, I landed in the middle of nowhere in Indiana. Of course, a city kid like me had never dreamed of living the country life like this. To me, it was like living in an alternate life. I loved it. Yee haw!
I started to notice that the environment had played a huge impact on me and my artwork. I portrayed my feelings through my work. When I was in Indiana, my work tended to be more dream-like and full of space, just like the vast cornfields. In contrast, when I came back to the city, the energy and people drove me to create a lively scene, and oftentimes, I animated them. I am like blank paper, absorbing and reflecting on my environment. Things around me create the artist I am.
Please tell us about your work.
I am an illustrator and a motion designer. I visually tell simple and direct stories. I draw whatever comes to my mind, and often I give them life by animating them. I prefer drawing at night. When the world is calm, the mind starts to wander. That’s how the creativity flows for me, and I tend to look at the world from a different perspective. I portray the feeling that I have in my own way.
For me, drawing is like cooking. To make tasty food, we need to have different flavors in one dish. My style is cute and colorful, but I usually sprinkle a bit of melancholy or bittersweet on top. It fits my taste well and that’s how I serve my dishes to the audience.
I do take time to enjoy the little things. Afternoon sun, night rides, midnight in the park, I cherish these little moments. I want to capture these moments, but the photos I take can only capture what the eyes can see, but not what my heart feels. For me, drawing is the only solution. It’s like collecting all the good moments and sending them out through lines and colors. People are always rushing around. I hope that my artwork reminds people to pause for a moment, take a deep breath, and look at the world carefully, you might be surprised by the ordinary.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I guess my parents might have this question in mind since I told them I wanted to be an artist and did not want to continue with the family businesses. Even though they have doubts sometimes, they are fully supporting me and taught me to prepare myself at a young age. They always made me think of how to make money from my art in a different way, also oriented my artwork to meet what the market wants. It nice to that mindset while doing commercial art. So, I have money to support myself while making my personal works.
Making money could be from different sources. I recently opened a humble coffee shop back in my hometown called Escape Café. It started with suggestions and support from my family. That way I can make some money while working full-time as an illustrator.
For me, everyone has their reasons and different problems need different approaches. My advice is, take time and ask yourself what your priority is, what your passion is, what you want in life. If you have the answer, focus on how to pursue them. Things might take time; life could bring many obstacles. Focus on getting back on track, keep pursuing and don’t give up. Be kind and supportive of yourself during difficult times. Only time will tell. The main thing is to actually try to pursue your objectives. Otherwise, they are just dreams.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
You can check my work out at my Instagram @gift_doii. I usually update my work and random sketches there. For my full portfolio work, you can check out my website www.giftdoii.com.
Photo by Jeerut Ngampradit