Face Your Fears

Bob is scared of death. But rather than live in fear, he’s decided to confront his mortality in spectacular fashion. The green-skinned salaryman throws himself in front of tsunamis, steps into the path of dinosaurs, and leaps in front of moving subway trains. Each time he dies a gruesome death, but he always returns with a brighter outlook on life.

This is the latest series by Thai artist Mr.Sexman, called 100 Ways To Die, which is a mix of paintings and digital pieces. The green man is a self-portrait of Sexman himself, whose secret identity in day-to-day life is Preyawit Nilachulaka. (He donned the Sexman alias early on, when his work revolved around an exploration of sexuality, but he moved on to different topics years ago.)

Nilachulaka started the death series as a way to cope with the COVID pandemic so he could stare the possibility of death in the face and laugh instead of cowering. “Bob was created as someone who can die and come back to life,” Nilachulaka explains. “However, Bob is actually afraid of dying and seeks remedies for his fear of death. He trains himself by killing himself repeatedly.”

The earlier pieces in the series were blockbuster-style deaths, scenes that belong on the cinema screens unavailable during lockdown. But Nilachulaka’s more recent methods of passing on to the great unknown are more domestic in nature and generally revolve around cooking disasters. “I just realized I enjoy drawing things related to food. I think it’s funny to die by way of food,” he laughs. It probably doesn’t hurt that his wife has run a ghost kitchen for the past ten years.

Whether or not Bob is inhaling various types of deadly gases, being electrocuted in pursuit of the perfect roast chicken, jumping from the roof of an office building, or self-immolating while cooking duck, he always comes back for more. In one piece, he’s calmly doing yoga in his sleek condo while kaiju and Gundam battle directly outside the 20-story windows behind him. Death is no longer a thing to fear. He’s totally zen nowβ€”and you can be too.