Tom Potisit’s says his background in art and photograph was quite small, he says, “Got a degree in Business in University in Bangkok and after that I graduated with yet another design degree from an Italian Institute.” Tom says that in Thailand you are taught to follow the textbook from a very young age despite the fact that Thailand is known for creativity and cultures but the education system is still very different than other countries where you are more exposed to out-of-the-class lessons. “My knowledge in art and photography was quite small, I was a very bad at art because I didn’t do exactly what my teachers told me to do, I always did something different and was told it was wrong. After my design school I started picking up the camera. I have fear of flying and I found photography was quite a good tool to help and make me feel better during my travels for works. I was very bad at photography back then as well, I didn’t know what should I capture nor how to operate a camera. Being creative is fun, and I found photography is the perfect tool for me to voice my thoughts and opinions.” “Then I applied for a photography institute in New York and I got accepted but I didn’t quite feel it was what I was looking to learn, I quit the school and started traveling where I could experience and explore different cultures, nature, people, fashion which became my interests. I started commercial photography about five years ago mainly doing fashion and products for the shoot, in my free time I help study the population of the endangered marine animals in Thailand such as dugongs, turtles and Whales.”
Photography for Potisit it a way of communication developed from his experiences and emotions. It’s also a tool that helps him capture memories, fears and bravery, birth and death, but mainly it’s the way and a tool for him to communicate with others. He continues, “Fashion on the other hand is your image and it can change from time to time and that helps to indicate what kind of lifestyle or person you are, also it’s a sense of belonging. You create an identity. It is a way of living. Alexander McQueen is definitely someone I look up to; he created such powerful piece of wearable art from a simple concept, with depth and so much details and craftsmanship. It is just amazing and inspires me to be a better artist each and every day.” When it comes to inspiration Tom says, “Working full time as a fashion photographer I get to only see the pretty side of the world. The best looking models, the best clothes, the best accessories, the best hair and the best make-up. Everything is perfection but when I step out from my studio there is another world. The world we are living in and it strikes me that I want to combine all my interests together and create fashion photography that actually can make a difference. Maybe even just invoke awareness in the people that come across my work.” “With my contributions to endangered marine life and marine conservation I realized that I could use my abilities to help save these animals. Working to help save these animals inspires me in so many ways. In 2014 there were dead whales beached not too far from Bangkok so I created “THE LAST FAREWHALE”. I captured the carcass of the whale with a fashion model in posing in front of it. After the photos came out, they received a lot of attention from the media and the public.”Potisit continues, “To develop my works based on combining fashion, art, social and environmental issues based on the concept ‘local problem, global issues’. I want to inspire the young generation that they can make a different and fashion photography is not just a tool for selling goods and pretty clothes, it is a very important tool that can penetrate through feelings and send a message across from one culture to another. I want to create art that can make a change. Its no wonder Tom’s favorite quote is “Changing the world one image at a time” because that’s exactly what he’s doing.
The editorial that you see on these pages was created after Potisit lost one of his kidneys due to kidney failure. “I just wanted to raise awareness about organ donations. Lack of organ donors in Thailand is a huge problem. I wanted to use my knowledge of photography and fashion in combination with medical science to communicate just how important the issue is. Not just here in Thailand but across the world. I hope that it’ll bring change across the board.” Potisit is also part of the SeeMe community that Tartarus Magazine is a partner of. “As a photographer and an artist we all try to grow and see how far we could get with our ability and talents. I have been a photographer based in Thailand for the past five years and I think it is time for me to grow on the international level and see what the world has to offer and I have been looking around for the right platform to showcase my work on and I came across SeeMe. There are a lot of talented and amazing artist on the platform, I’d love to learn from other artists from around the world. SeeMe has so many amazing programs to help artists to grow and get more recognition on the international level through multi-communication tools. When I first started with SeeMe I have submitted my work for a chance to be part of Scope Contemporary Art Show 2018 as part of Art Basel Miami week. My work got printed and displayed along with other 11 top contemporary artists from all around the world. I flew from Bangkok Thailand to attend the show and got to meet the people behind the platform. They take great interest in what I do and my works. They helped me promote this story on the Story of Artist on the website during the Art Basel Week and helped me connect with Tartarus.” “They are trying to bridge the West and the East Artists with the Market, we have been talking about the possibility to help me grow, we shall see what exciting things they will come up with. I am excited and very grateful for everything and every opportunity that SeeMe has created for me.” Tom’s style varies from time to time, he loves challenging the traditional believes, exploring different opinion from different cultures, people, nature, animals, art history, he digests them and uses them as a reference in his work. “I like my work to create a voice, a voice that I hope people who come across my work will hear and feel something from it. I often start with a current social and environmental problem. Then I explore a different style from a different era, use art history as reference for each element that is suitable to tell a story in that particular image.
Potisit’s next project will tackle depression. Last year he lost a friend to this unexplored and not fully understood disease, he says that he underestimated how many of his friends, family and even his interns are suffering from this condition. “I hope that this new piece of work will help make people understand better about how severe and how close we are to the issue and how we can help each other as human beings and not simply as artists.”
Story by Astrid Buck.