Peerachai (Samer) Patanapornchai
b. 1961, Bangkok, Thailand
Lives and works in Bangkok, Thailand
Born in 1961 in Bangkok, Peerachai (Samer) Patanapornchai was raised in Bangkok with two siblings by his parents. His mother, brother and sister died from stomach illness. Samer served under the Thai Royal Navy and left in 1997. He was married and later became separated. Samer tried several jobs including ice cream seller, cleaner and garbage collector. For more than twenty years, he has been wandering on the streets of Bangkok. Treated as a tramp and outcast, abused and beaten, Samer has endured hardship and misfortune. His creativity, however, has made him recognized as the code man who made countless charcoal drawings on walls and public spaces. His graffiti has caused interest and curiosity by the media and the public. At a glance, these sketches are like blueprints of Bangkok’s chaotic electrical grids but are also encoded instructions and mind maps. After several arrests and confinement in mental homes, Samer abandoned scribbling on the walls and pavements and began to draw on used cardboard boxes with felt pen.
During his drawing sessions, Samer shouts and hold conversations with invisible beings. He thinks that secret groups are planning to disrupt the city and responsible for poisoning his mother and siblings. Full of energy, he draws out their devious plans and instructs ways of escape from looming disasters. These conspiration theories and secret plans by unseen powers and natural forces must be revealed to the people.
Samer uses word associations related to rhymes and pictograms that often link with astrological stars and logos on buildings. Undecipherable, the codes and symbols are entangled scribbles and numbers that only Samer understands. He explained that his mission that has lasted many years to find escape pathways and exits is coming to the climax. He said, “There are strategic places in Bangkok that relate to astrological stars of the city. My mission is to reveal these secret plans to the public.” Samer stressed that because he forecasted serious warnings on upcoming disaster before COVID-19 broke out in Bangkok, he was taken away by the police and confined in a foundation where he was maltreated and mistrusted. After his release, Samer continues his drawings of codes and escape routes on the streets of Bangkok.
Samer’s art falls in the category of outsider art who is self-taught and has no contact with the art world. His drawings reflect unconventional ideas and elaborate fantasy world. However, Samer should not be stereotyped as the mentally ill. In fact, he is quite sane and has a very clear memory when he is not in the trance state of shouting and drawing. In fact, his drawings make more sense than many ideas of the unstable, insane and crazy world we live in.