Three Worlds

It’s an epic battle for souls: Will mankind succumb to its animalistic instincts or ascend to the heavens? This is the overarching theme of Thai artist Jakkapong Thapkoa’s acrylic paintings. They swirl with animals, humans, and technology in glowing chromatic colors; the cool, magenta schemes drift through time and space. Classical European references, marble textures, and steampunk contraptions are combined with Buddhist teachings and ancient Thai murals. His style, which began about seven years ago as a study of animals and humans, has become an exploration of the struggle to evolve.

The animals that populate Thapkoa’s work represent beastly instincts like anger and desire, all of which are amplified by technology, which he thinks overwhelms and distracts us. There’s a feeling of disembodiment that runs through his work, the ephemeral colors give it all a sort of weightlessness, positioning his work in the heavenly, formless realm of cosmology. But it’s a false one. In his eyes, we’ve created a delusional, artificial heaven filled with never-ending hungers and thirsts. It’s an infinite space of petty squabbles, controversies, and competition that leaves us in a trance and puts our Earthly world at risk of total destruction.

To avoid becoming tools of destruction, Thapkoa thinks we must have faith. It’s the only way to live a life of goodness; true happiness comes through accessing and understanding the teachings of moral principles. All of this is expressed in a way that surpasses a specific religion, and he purposefully draws on Christian imagery to communicate these ideas in a more universal manner. The paintings themselves serve the same purpose, utilizing beauty and style to inspire his viewers to elevate themselves.