April’s Artist of the Month is a fellow Fashion Institute of Technology alumna, Taohou Rasaphone. I’m absolutely in love with her drawings. They are perfect in every way!
Meet Taohou…(you know how I feel about mustaches! hehe)
Taohou Rasaphone, born in Laos, family came to US when I was 3. My dad named me after a popular soybean drink called Num Taohou.
Family immigrated to upstate NY, Binghamton. Made my way to New York to attend FIT in 2005.
Why are you Artist of the month?
I started drawing when I was three or four but I didn’t know English. The only way I could get recognized was through my drawings. Teachers told me when I was five, “oh, you’re an artist,” but I never knew what that meant to be called an “artist.” I was shy and drawing was another form of language for me and easier than to speak.
I still feel I’m struggling to achieve and to express that certain thought or emotion… I am so bad with these words. I have this image in my head and I have these ideas I want to draw and I want to find that perfect balance to share these extreme or not extreme thoughts. I am trying to make my art grow and evolve. It’s a process.
What inspires you?
The other artists around me, contemporaries like Ray Sison and Sandra Ling push me to improve. I’m captivated by the macabre, the dream-like, the erotic, the strange– in any media. Unconventional viewpoints really serve as a launchpad for me. One of my early influences was David Mack, but the visual work of Takato Yamamoto has the simplicity yet complexity that I would love to achieve.
Is there anything else that you would like to create/accomplish that you haven’t already?
[laughs] Oh a host of things. I want to improve my typography illustrations. I couldn’t say words right, so now I want to draw these words, letter by letter, and convey new meaning through an artistic illustration. I need to challenge myself with larger formats, get out of the notebook, it can be anything, but it has to be big. I’ve been working on an alphabet book.
Do you have any advice?
Practice every single day. Good design has its mystique, but consistently strong designers have a process that involves discipline. Even if it’s crap, I’d redo my crap doodles and they’d get better. Don’t stop, don’t let your talent falter. Don’t be lazy and rely on sheer ability because originality takes effort.