In the back yard of a house at Soi Porn Praphanimit 23,
near Siam Country Club, a pile of useless junk is being turned into art.
Phairote Thanomwong, a 31-year old
engineer-turned-artist, is the man turning scrap into, if not exactly
gold, then increasingly popular objects d’art that are finding their way
via the gift shops of Pattaya into the homes of Thai residents and expats,
and overseas to adorn the houses of foreign visitors.
Thanomwong with small items of his artwork.
Graduating as a mechanical engineer from Kasersart
University, Phairote’s first job was at Maptaput Industrial Estate,
where he installed pipe and tubing systems into factory buildings. Here,
he said, he acquired welding skills. At the same time, he and his brother,
both keen appreciators of art, began to study plastic models to see if
they could build artworks from the discarded car and motorcycle parts that
were stored in the house at Soi Nernplubwan that they shared at the time.
pieces are scattered throughout the showroom.
They started welding and building, and as the number of
artworks began to accumulate, the two of them decided to start selling the
pieces in Pattaya.
“I walked from one shop to the next around Pattaya
City for nearly one month, showing them photos of the products,” said
Phairote. “Eventually I succeeded at the silver shop in Royal Garden
Plaza. In only one week all the work I deposited with them had been sold
“I had an arrangement with another shop in Mike
Shopping Mall. All my customers were foreigners. It took nearly one year
until I received income equal to nearly the same as a monthly salary. But
as I enjoyed the work, and my ordinary work was becoming repetitive, I
made the decision to resign my job and devote myself completely to
at work on a new sculpture.
Having made the decision, Phairote created a website
www.OldSteelArt.com. He drew up a proper marketing strategy, targeting his
outlets and doing promotional work. He submitted entries to OTOP, SME and
BOI competitions. He received a prize of 100,000 baht, and attracted the
attention of Karabao Tawandaeng Co., Ltd. Producer Karabao Daeng was
looking for creative ideas for an advertising campaign under the theme
“Build a Life – Build a Nation” and they came up with the idea for
Thai fighters for a TV commercial.
“I work nearly every day, which is different from my
former work where I had weekends off,” said Phairote. “But it is
something I love and have been interested in since I was young. When I
wake up I feel I can create something new each day.”
shows off his work in his exhibition room.
Phairote created some models that he is able to farm
out to six other skilled welders in the province, allowing them to add to
their family income. Some live a distance away, necessitating a bus
journey for the materials and finished work, but Phairote is determined to
step up the output and make the region famous for producing this kind of
pieces line the shelves.
He plans to exhibit more of his work, possibly a
permanent exhibition, in the hope that it will promote Pattaya and
encourage more Thai and foreign visitors to come here. Phairote said
it’s an ongoing process and he still has lots of problems, but he will
Today, his regular products include sci-fi movie
characters, fighters, animals and toys. He has OTOP support, which means
that the products are receiving marketing support throughout the country
and overseas. His income is not less than 100,000 baht a year, which is
encouraging him and giving him the will to continue.
Anyone interested in Phairote Thanomwong’s work will find him at 39/7
Village No 2, Soi Pornprapanimit 23, Nongprue sub-district, Banglamung
district, Chonburi province. He can be contacted via tel 0 2950-0057.