The world of Kolahon is a surreal one, full of women who float among shapes and objects that intersect with and splice through one another. Stark whites and blacks are contrasted with kaleidoscopic colors separated by bold linework and Ukiyo-e print textures offer an analog softness to the crisp digital comic aesthetic. A mix of manga, 60s psychedelia, geometric patterns, and odes to Keiichi Tanaami all bump against and blend with one another.
Kolahon—a Thai artist born and raised in Bangkok whose real name is Kawinwarong Ingadhamrong—started painting in this style as he found himself burnt out from a job doing architectural and landscape design. He began with black and white drawings but the rise of the local NFT scene inspired him to add color to his work. “As an architect, we typically adhere to a palette of black, white, and earth-tone colors,” he says, explaining the learning curve the transition required. “But it doesn’t quite align with expressing the full range of emotions, so I wanted more.” Although everything is digital, he’s recently begun turning his work into copper-etched prints.
His work largely revolves around the idea of finding meaning within the chaos of existence. His alias Kolahon means “chaos” in Thai, and he’s heavily inspired by the works in “Cosmic Dance” by Stephen Ellcock, which explores global art styles concerned with connecting the infinite with the invisible; the way the cosmos resemble cities and families and atoms.
The yin and yang is present in all of Kolahon’s work and often bleeds across them, with blacks and whites mixing and challenging each other prominently. Black hair drifts into monotonous expanses that then become water, while a koi becomes a hood and geometric patterns find resolution in the form of the human body.
Although the theme of Piet Mondrian-styled primary and secondary colors posited against blacks and whites is a regular theme for Kolahon, he refuses to settle on one particular style and relishes the opportunity to explore new concepts. “Perhaps change shouldn’t instill fear; instead, we can play and find enjoyment in it,” he says. “My parent’s emphasis on following their lead led me to crave freedom. I can’t adhere to any specific rules.” Whenever he travels he incorporates his new experiences into his artwork, whether that be Tibet or Italy.
At the center of nearly all of Kolahon’s paintings is a woman, although it’s not always the same person. Manga’s heavy influence on him is an obvious reason for this, but it was his former partner that acted as his main muse from the start. “When I would have an argument with my partner, I’d channel that emotion into my paintings. When we’d create beautiful memories together, I’d continue drawing,” he says. Eventually, their relationship came to an end and he kept expanding the world he’d created with her in mind, using it as a way to express fragile emotions he has trouble with in other contexts. “It taught me a lot about life—how to find balance and keep moving forward with a passionate desire.”