Bizzie Bee's Artist Interview: by mamalaterre's Roong Suchinunkul

Hello Bees,

June is upon us! How are you closing out the school year and what are your summer plans?

This month we have by mamalaterre sharing her art with us. I first came across Roong's work when my friend gifted me a stamped Hong Kong skyline and junk boat in an embroidery hoop. I immediately looked up by mamalaterre and was delighted to find more unique work created with a variety of materials and tools. Have a read to learn more about the life of an artist and see how you too can be inspired by our colourful city and the things that surround you everyday.

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Roong Suchinunkul. I was an Architect with my own studio for 14 years in Thailand. Now I am an artist that specializes in hand carved stamps, hand printing, fabric printing, watercolor painting, calligraphy and embroidery. I started my art business under the name "by mamalaterre" in 2013. Everything began from motherhood and I picked art to be the main activity between my daughter (Laterre) and myself, thus the name “by mamalaterre”. I love to create art that is related to Hong Kong culture and lifestyle such as the Hong Kong skyline from handcarved stamps and Hong Kong shop houses with watercolor painting. I also love to use Chinese culture mixed in my art such as teapots and Chinese porcelain. I have created a lot of art pieces and made many products from my art. I have taught over 600 art classes for kids and adults (watercolor painting, stamp carving, fabric printing), led workshops for companies like Christian Dior, Sisley Paris, Weber Shandwick, Clarins, Les Nereides, Royal Canin, Credit Suisse, Tod’s, 360 wellness, Petit Bazaar; and also set up special art workshops for international schools like Kellett School, Quarry Bay School, Canadian International School.

How did you start making art/start your creative journey?

I use art as the main activity to connect me with my daughter so I started with trying things that were suitable for kids. Little by little they became my favorite, especially stamp carving and watercolor painting. I do art every single day.

What is your workspace like?

I work at home and do everything on the big table with sunlight—which is the best light for painting. It's flexible for me in that I can work and take care of my daughter.

What inspires you and how do you keep your creative spark?

I find that with making art everyday, while you're doing one thing, other ideas pop up themselves. You can also get inspiration from other artists' work but not copy them. You can call yourself an artist only when you create something in your own style.

What is your favourite tool for making art and why?

Brushes are my favourite tools. It’s quite freeing for me to use a brush in both painting and writing.

What are you working on right now?

I'm really enjoying creating the oriental and Hong Kong fabric patterns from my paintings at this moment.

How do you know when a work is finished?

I know when I am happy with it. A lot of my paintings look like they're not finished yet because I didn't paint in some parts and left the pencil sketch lines but I am happy with that.

What's your favourite place to see art?

I see a lot of art on and get inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest. I love art from everyday people.

If you could be any animal, what would you be and why?

Maybe a bird as it would be wonderful to be able to see the world from a different viewpoint.

What do you collect?

I collect so many art and craft materials—different kinds of paints, inks, pens, yarns, fabrics.... I have tons of them at home ; )

What do you love most about being an artist?

I'm able to sleep peacefully. It's not stressful especially if I compare it with life as an architect.

What are three things you can't live without in a day?

My family, my tools and my hands.

Name something you love and tell us why.

Oriental art —I really love eastern art. It's a familiar art from childhood until now and it’s timeless.

What jobs have you done other than being an artist?

I love to share my skills and techniques with others so enjoy being a teacher along with being an artist.

Why art?

Art can be a simple thing that relates to everyone at every age. In my class, there can be a grandma, grandpa, mom and kids all joining together to learn and do the same thing. The important thing art gives me (and lots of other people) is happiness, joy and relaxation.

What's the best piece of advice that you've been given?

All my skills didn’t happen in only a few days. I practice a lot... so it’s very true that practice makes perfect.

What advice do you have?

Dedicate time and hard work to make your art and to be able to develop your own style.

What is your dream project if there were no restrictions on time or money? What would you create?

I don't have a dream project but instead I dream about my lifestyle. I want to live in the countryside with a big garden or farm and still be able to sell my art and do workshops.

See more of Roong's work, find a class she's teaching, or see what she's up to on facebook @Bymamalaterre and Instagram @bymamalaterre

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Bizzie Bee is a social enterprise initiative and primary funding partner of Lizzie Bee Foundation Ltd, a Hong Kong registered charity. Money raised from the sale of our products goes directly to arts projects for the underprivileged in our community.

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