Major: Visual Arts
“Arroy: The Thai Food Court”
My goal is to introduce Thai culture through the cuisines of street vendors, which demonstrate the impact of food beyond the purpose of simple consumption, but show the underlying socioeconomic and cultural significance of such establishments. While abroad, I will be filming and shooting photography of this community. I will also be employed as an intern at a film studio that will guide me through the process of preproduction and documentation for this project. When I return to the US, I will use my captured visuals to create a book filled with my photography and a short film. This is an artistic exposé that believes to successfully learn about another culture, one must observe how they treat and eat their food.
How did you find your mentor for your artistic project?
I interned with Prof. Bradley for my entire sophomore year. I learned about his experience with developing research and creating projects while traveling abroad, so great communication and enthusiasm brought us together.
How did you know this was the project you wanted to do?
Thailand has a very personal place in my heart. With my past experiences there, something that always left an impression on me was how communal the ritual of food was everywhere. From the buzzing family kitchens to the street vendor feeding a monk his morning alms, it shows how important food is to relationships. I knew this was a cultural perspective that expanded more upon the Western canon of spicy and colorful cuisine of Thailand.
Is this your first independent artistic project?
I have done a collaboration project for URCAD 2014, but this is my first independent piece.
How much time do you put into it?
During June-July 2014, I was working with Local Color Film Studio in Bangkok as a full-time intern. Through a proposal process that required thorough research and production design, my film was approved to be produced with a few employees as my crew. The first month I dedicated 10 hours a week of studying and designing for the proposal. The second month, my weekends were dedicated to documenting my travels and experiences of street food and fresh markets. After the summer, the fall-winter semester will be dedicated to editing the final products.
What kind of background did you have before you applied for the URA?
As a junior Graphic Design major, I’ve had plenty of background in designing, but also in photography and film. I’ve been to Thailand three times before this project and cooking Thai food is a heavy interest and hobby of mine.
Was the application difficult to do?
I personally felt the application format was a bit difficult in expressing an art abstract, but it is a straightforward process.
How much did your mentor help you with the application?
My mentor played a significant role in helping me expand and decide my project’s direction in a clear manner. He also assisted me with the (much needed) editing process of the application.
What has been the hardest part about your research?
As any over-zealous artist and food-lover, I had the habit of taking more than I could chew. This project was very challenging to produce, and sometimes some things had to get cut for the sake of keeping the message clear.
Did you have any unexpected experiences?
Well, I arrived four days after a coup was enforced, but it was surprisingly not as restrictive as you’d imagine. One of my fellow interns at the studio was a film student and from the famous Amphawa Floating Market, so he was an amazing resource for traveling and assisting documenting. Lastly, I have developed a new understanding of bonding and trust from this experience.
How does your research relate to your work in other classes?
In design courses, we are challenged every day to produce media that is attractive with clarity for an audience to understand. This project will expose a culture in a creative, but clear manner. In Typography III, we have to research a typeface and write an entire book on it that is designed by our own hands. These are applications of research that are refined by design.
What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
Do what you love, even if you don’t know that is, follow those inevitable trails of questions on what you’re passionate about, and they will lead you to a discovery. If you have a project screaming to be made, face the challenge and make it happen.
What are your career goals?
I want to pursue a career as an art director in film or advertising.