02: The Creative Odyssey of Ian Peter Helwig

In the bustling streets of Bangkok, amidst its vibrant culture and burgeoning art scene, Ian Peter Helwig, a 45-year-old artist hailing from New York, has found his creative sanctuary. Now settled in Thailand's bustling capital, Ian reflects on his artistic journey, inspirations, and upcoming projects in an exclusive interview.


"My name is Ian Peter Helwig, I’m a 45-year-old artist from New York now living in Bangkok, Thailand," Ian introduces himself. "I grew up in the suburbs outside New York skateboarding, drawing and messing around in the woods at the dead end street we lived on. I went to art school for a year and dropped out and joined the Navy, was stationed in Japan for 3 years before I jumped ship and moved back to New York where I started to paint graffiti and became interested in making art as a career."


Living in Bangkok, Ian found the opportunity to create art full-time. "The low cost of food, rent, and art supplies, and just the general lawlessness here is what keeps me here," he remarks on his relocation. "As far as the work I make here, it started as reinterpreting matchbox art from India I found on the ground in my travels and just trying to make something new out of something old and discarded."


Collaborations with fellow artists like COZ ONE and CHIP 7 have been integral to Ian's artistic journey. "When you paint graffiti with someone, it’s a special kind of relationship," Ian shares. "You need to trust that person not only to paint something good and up to the standards you have but you’re also trusting them to look out for you if there’s police or if someone’s trying to be a hero."


Lately, Ian has been immersed in painting bootleg stickers from the '80s he's found online. "The internet is an endless black hole of information and visual wealth," he notes. "I start a painting by building the wooden frame in my wood shop, as I am also a carpenter by trade," Ian explains his creative process. "After I’ve built the frame and stretched the canvas, I’ll plot out the basic shapes with pencil and then start spray painting the bigger shapes down to the smallest."


Ian's work is driven by raw emotion and spontaneity. "In this age of overstimulation and hypersensitivity, it’s a good feeling for me to just be loose and free with spray-paint in a meditative capacity," he shares. "I use spray paint because I like the way it smells! It’s immediately satisfying and fairly easy to use."


Ian's recent exhibition, "No More Till Next Time," reflects his irreverent yet introspective approach to art. "It’s a half-assed attempt to reconcile with myself and try to come to terms with what I possibly did the night before under the influence," Ian explains.


As for his future projects, Ian is excited about collaborating with 2PEACOCK on a new fashion line. "This will be my first international collaboration in fashion and I’m so happy to be working with you guys!"


"For all up-and-coming artists, I would say paint or draw every day on paper," Ian advises aspiring artists. "Every day. Every single day for the rest of your life. I’m a firm believer that anyone can learn to do anything and you don’t need to spend a fortune on supplies.”


His words resonate with a timeless truth: artistic mastery is a journey, not a destination. By embracing creativity and dedication, aspiring artists can unlock their full potential and leave a lasting legacy in the world of art. 


In the candid words of Ian Peter Helwig, we witness an artist's odyssey that transcends borders, capturing the essence of life, emotion, and self-expression on canvas.

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