Finding Balance + Creating Community with Artist Emon Surakitkoson
December 29, 2021 @ 2:00pm
Over the course of the year as I frequented D.C. art shows and festivals, I kept coming across pieces consisting of monochromatic line work that created a wave-like pattern often in the center of the piece. My eyes were instantly drawn to the simultaneously intricate and minimalistic designs and would often find myself wandering towards these works.
“The sense of theme when I practice in my studio comes from every movement of the brush [conveying] the feeling of water,” the artist behind the works Emon Surakitkoson explains. “The process is very relaxing and disciplines my thought. I utilize my art to balance sky, then water, then land.”
This ethos can be seen in how Surakitkoson’s works are often segmented into a top, middle and lower third. In her balanced approach, Surakitkoson creates a signature and memorable style that entices anyone walking by. Her work, currently displayed at HOMME Gallery as part of the “Epiphanies” exhibit until January 9, consistently is inspired by natural surroundings. She plays with different media to create her pieces, but with her distinct aesthetic, no matter if using wood, canvas or paper, one can quickly identify who the artist is behind the piece.
While her work appears as a studied practice that took years of formal training and experimentation, Surakitkoson only started working as an artist in 2019 and is self-taught. Prior, Surakitkoson, who was born in Thailand and moved to the U.S. when 19, was working in the service industry for over a decade.
“I was an immigrant, so whatever was offered to me was really limited,” Surakitkoson says. “That’s why I was in the service industry for such a long time. I began working in restaurants at 19, and I just got out of it at 36.”
Surakitkoson noted she was happy while working in restaurants, but it was not what she wanted to do with her life long term. So, on the side, she began to sell her artwork at local markets and pop-ups. When the pandemic forced restaurants to close, Surakitkoson transitioned to working full-time as an artist.
Fast forward less than three years later, and Surakitkoson has successfully made her mark in the D.C. art scene. Beyond the exhibits and shows, she’s been commissioned by multiple hotels for her works, including the new Kimpton Banneker, where 102 of her pieces are displayed throughout the hotel.
With such rapid success, Surakitkoson wants to now share her insight and offer guidance to upcoming artists in the local community.
“I do these artist meetups. I came up with it when I went to Seattle to visit another artist. We chatted, and I talked to him about licensing, shows and commercial work and he was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t know these things.’ So I thought when I came home to D.C., I can chat to people about these topics.”
Surakitkoson’s efforts stem from her own experiences getting started as an artist and finding a way into the D.C. art community.
“Nobody was there helping me in the beginning. It was a struggle but I told myself ‘I’m just going keep working toward it because I enjoy painting so much.’”
Unlike most artist hangouts, the intention behind these monthly meetups is not centered around sketching or drawing together but rather focused on the business and networking side of making it as an artist.
“It’s really casual. We sit down and chat about where we are at, what we do with our art and where we liked to be one day. And then we ask one question and go around the group. There’s no judgment, and we usually have a couple of emerging artists show up. I understand it can be overwhelming, but I assure anybody new who’s sitting at this meetup table that we were once in their position. Hopefully, we bring more people into our community [by creating this space.]”
Each meetup is at a selected bar and fellow local artists like Charlie Visconage and Nate Mann have attended to share their experiences at the meetups as well.
As Surakitkoson sums it up best as “We try to make it like a little mini school for self-taught people to make it a little bit easier.”
In the new year, Surakitkoson will continue organizing meetups and working towards fostering a supportive local arts community. As for her art, she is shifting her focus towards more sculpture works and hopes to possibly do a spring cleaning art sale of her older pieces.
To learn more about Emon Surakitkoson’s art, visit her website here or follow her on Instagram here. Through January 9, view Surakitkoson’s works at the “Epiphanies” exhibit at HOMME Gallery or the virtual gallery here.
HOMME Gallery: 2000 L St. NW, DC; @hommedc // hommedc.com
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