Painting the Town with Monsters: Bangkok’s Street Art Festival

Category: Culture

A kind of art invasion, the recent Bukruk Street Art Festival definitely lived up to its name, transforming walls and buildings all over the city. This collaboration between European and Thai graffiti artists took over the Bangkok Art and Culture Center as well as public spaces around the Pathumwan intersection.

In Thai bukruk means invasion, reflected in the festival’s promotional video that features a large orange monster reminiscent of Godzilla running amok around the city. Though artists themselves come from a range of countries (France, Germany, Portugal, Thailand, and Spain are just a sample), every creation was definitely effected by the city and location of the work.

“I feel the narratives of the city play a big role in shaping Bukruk artists’ works,” Bukruk co-organizer and BKK Arthouse co-director Bow Wasinondh said in The Diplomat. “Many Thai and European artists draw inspirations, not only from the physical architecture of Bangkok city, but reflect on the layers of stories (community, history, culture) that they experience while exploring the urban settings and Thailand in their paintings.”

In many ways graffiti art is the ultimate in localization: size, content, interpretation and execution are all influenced by the place itself. With street art gaining more and more mainstream exposure; it’s perhaps unsurprising that Bukruk’s sponsors included European governments. Street art has certainly taken off in the Asia-Pacific region’s urban centers. This colorful, global phenomenon is vibrant and growing in cities from Hong Kong and Tokyo to Jakarta and Sydney.

Organizers of the festival knocked on doors for months to get permission from building owners to use their walls as canvas. Bangkokians seem pleased with the varied results which include a black and gold mural inspired by “Ramakhien,” Thailand’s national epic, a pair of colorful monsters wrapped in rainbows, and interlocking vaguely human shapes that fall into a regular pattern. The sheer variety of artwork is truly stunning; click here for some more photos of the results and artists.

As street art continues to move from buildings to galleries, perhaps we’ll be seeing more festivals like Bukruk popping around the world and changing urban areas into giant canvases. With films like Banksy’s Exit Through the Giftshop and events like Bukruk, stay tuned for a monster to appear on a building near you.

PS: If you’re a fan of art, enter our POP Your Culture With The Warhol D.I.Y. Pop App contest! Go to our contest page to get started.

Photo attribution: dѧvid