For Worapol Nuanla-ong, drawing has been a joy since childhood and is almost the only thing that makes him happy. “Every time I draw, it’s like conveying my happiness that I keep inside onto a piece of paper, so now it’s a hobby that pays off and I plan on continuing for as long as I wish,” The artist comments. He received a bachelor’s degree in art and has been continuing to produce artworks ever since. His work presents Buddhist philosophies through abstract art.
During his master’s degree, a professor named Itthipol Tangchalok suggested that if he wants to improve his work, he should try meditating and practicing Dharma (buddhist studies). At the time, he was doing expressionism on the topic of thunderstorms and didn’t think much of the method, he just wanted to improve himself as an artist so he followed what his professor suggested. “Turns out that when I did it, I felt happy,” Nuanla–ong recalls. Practicing Dharma turned into true happiness and it was a subtle pleasure that he gained from it that made him believe in the routine.
Originally, the artist’s art style was an expressive style of landscape painting, mostly of temples, which was his personal preferred topic. “I don’t know why I prefer temples either, but the highlight of it for me is outlining the silhouette of the structure,” He explains. Later, at the approximate age of 30, he realized that it wasn’t drawing that brought him joy, but the experience of understanding Dhamma that was driving him to produce creative work. He conceptualizes ideas from Dhamma thus making his work more enjoyable to him as he transitioned into adulthood.
Abstract work came quite naturally to him and followed the progress of his state of mind. “I chose to stick with this style of art because of the freeing feeling I get from working. I used to be very caught up in the final results which put a lot of pressure on myself to perfect the process but I find that impossible to do now. Practicing Dhamma allowed me to realize that letting go of stressful issues instead of trying to solve them all the time can lead to peace. I applied these principles to my paintings,” The artist explains.
The turning point in his career, where he decided to completely turn to abstract art was when he was deciding between starting a surrealistic art style about Buddhism or abstract work. On the night of the same day, he had a dream that he was producing abstract art and took it as a sign to start creating. His work has always been abstract ever since. When asked whether he’ll ever go back to his old art style he replied stating that “going back to what I escaped from is not the right answer for me”.
His purpose in creating his work isn’t to make people understand or like him, but for them to interpret his work based on their true honest opinions. There is no sharp definition to his paintings nor a clear explanation about the concept, but to give the people freedom of thought and expression when viewing his work is his aim. “Each viewer has a different personal experience so each person’s interpretation will naturally vary according to their life experiences,” He elaborates. The matter of art is to not restrict anyone from seeing its beauty. Abstract works are universal and will always possess universal beauty qualities.