Sompop Budtarad's search for spiritual realization and his respect for
nature are the center of his art and life. Themes frequently explored by Sompop
in his work relate to the cycle of existence, preservation of nature and other
truths in Buddha Dhamma (Buddhist philosophy), including change, suffering,
detachment and enlightenment.
do not consider art solely the most honorable thing in my life, but as a necessity
for both my mind and spirit. Art has become part of my being. Through art,
I probe and externalize my thoughts, emotions, experiences, and assuage my
curiosity. I bring them all before the world in many forms. My instinct merges
with time and the circumstances that surround me."
in rural northeastern Thailand, Sompop has memories of the village
and the traditional Buddhist society and culture there, when the
temple was the center of village life. As Sompop's school was connected
to the temple, an early connection with the temple art was forged.
At age 15, Sompop left for Bangkok and began his art education at
Poh Chang Art School and then graduated from the Faculty of Painting,
Sculpture and Graphic Arts at Silpakorn University in 1980.
1985, Sompop traveled to London as part of the team of young artists
commissioned to paint the murals at Wat Buddhapadipa temple in Wimbledon.
The temple assignment was completed in 1992, but Sompop stayed in
London for another three years: painting, exhibiting and exploring
western culture. During that time, his early Buddhist-inspired art
in the realistic tradition began to develop into mixed media works.
While continuing to uphold his traditional Buddhist conceptual roots,
Sompop began to experiment with more contemporary techniques and
media, including sculptures and installations using clay, ash, mud,
smoke, and fire. Sompop's use of natural materials supports his
belief that unprocessed materials contain their own natural values
- "I allow nature to convey its own message by letting those materials
display their own qualities and textures".
Sompop eventually returned home to Thailand in 1995, he noticed
a big change in his homeland. The Asian boom had brought obvious
signs of wealth, industrialization, development, new technology
and, at the same time, growing materialism, consumerism, alienation
in society and a rapidly deteriorating environment. This sensitive
artist believes that, "In developing, we must choose the best from
around the world. When change comes too quickly, it confuses people.
We have to know ourselves, where we have come from, where we are
now, where we are going in the future. We must understand the roots,
keep our heritage and embrace progress, but in a way that preserves
and respects the environment and Thai culture."
several occasions Sompop's art has been accepted for exhibition in the prestigious
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition in London and he has exhibited in USA and Japan.
He prefers to participate in exhibitions that support the preservation of nature,
culture and the spirit.