We had the good fortune of connecting with Catheliya Suwanakrit and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Catheliya, what’s something about your industry that outsiders are probably unaware of?
I think for me. It’s the fact that every piece that I draw or paint. I open up a piece of myself or someone else in it. Everything that I draw or paint had a purpose. Some of the drawings and paintings are about my own life. Only I know what the stories are about.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think that my art sets me apart from others because of why I do it. I would love to do it for the money. But I don’t. I do it for the emotional release. I bare my soul in my art. And I can hide it in plain sight. Because my life story is so. What’s a good word to describe it? Filled with twisted lows and highs that you would never expect just by speaking to me, or seeing me. When I look back on my life now. Some parts of it was like living two lives at once. I seem so normal. But if you wrote and memoir of my life. You would understand my art and me better. Because I am far from normal. Or at least what most people call normal. And when I make art for others. I look at them and express my feelings of who they are in my art. I started with my first painting. The one that is the day and night painting. It was actually my first drawing then painting. I was never good at drawing as a child. And I didn’t color in the lines well. But I decided one day that I wanted to paint this thing for my step dad for Christmas one year. So I went to Michael’s to buy a canvas and some paint and brushes. I drew the picture and started painting the tree first actually. The day and night came later. I didn’t really know what I was doing. But it all came together just perfect. Just like him. And he loved it. I think we are all aways in the process of being something. So I am still a work in progress. But showing my art is hard. Allowing people to see it. Exposes a little of my secret to someone every time. They don’t know the depth of what they are seeing. But they are all still judging my work and me. I overcome it by trusting myself to be open. No one really knows all of my true story. I have moved too many times lived too many lives for them all to know it all. So I open myself to letting people see my art. I want people to know that I hope that when they look at my art. It makes them smile. Because I like to see the happiness in others. I hope that the colors and curses give them a sense of the life in the pictures. Since there is a story in everyone of them.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, I would take them to LA so wee could eat up all the good food there. We would go to Thai town. There are too many Thai restaurants and authentic food to eat their. Pig intestins, pigs ear, rice soup, Thai sausage, sticky rice, papaya salad with pickled raw crab, crab fried rice, pork leg over rice, Thai beef jerky, and so much more.. K town Korean BBQ J town sushi, Ramen, Tenzaru “cold buck wheat noodle with a cold dipping sauce” my favorite dish, Boba tea and dim sum in Montebello. Killer Shrimp in Marina Del Rey, Yamashiro, Glad Stones, Zuma, Malibu, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, Marina Del Rey, Griffith Park. We would hit them all. I like to go where I feel I am wanted. A beach, a park, a restaurant. My friends are like that too. We always have the best time together. Even if we are doing nothing. Still a great time together. All the the foods and places I named are fun places to eat see or go too. I went to junior high and high school in LA. Spent most of my 20’s in LA. It was a wild ride!! All people are interesting if you give them the time. When I’m in LA strangers stop me for conversations. I’m not sure why. But it always happens. I love it!! People there are so energetic. The city itself is buzzing with energy. Even late at night. The underground clubs. The underground seen there is awesome!! The music the eclectic people that come out. I guess I used to be one of them a life time ago.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mom (Maryalice Smith). All of my friends Oat, Cindy Munger, Diane Croy, Kay Lynch, Aaron Truby, Sindy, Traci, Rhonda,, Wayne, Stephanie, Josheph, Stevon Salter. My friends have been my family for so many years. Some since high school. Others from places that I have lived in through out the years. And I have lived in many states and cities in America. A lot of us call each others sister at this point. My friends and I have been through many tough life struggles and tears together. And we still are going through them together to this day. I had a health scare many years ago. We all got through it together. One of my sisters has a telescopic colon. It is life or death for her.. Doctors can’t figure out all of her issues.. So we live with it minute by minute. Day by day. I am so blessed to have her in my life. Even when she is in pain. She still lifts me up. Some of us now live in different cities. And lately we have all been going through heart breaks. So we have been calling each other for support. Crying together for support. Laughing together for support. Some of them are more recent friends that I have met. All in all they have all been there for me and I for them. I am so blessed to have such a vast support system. I thank each and everyone of them for ther friendship and love!!