Sathorn 11 Art Space & Gallery Pizza
The combination of an art gallery and a pizza delivery operation might seem odd at first, but the success of both Sathorn 11 Art Space and Gallery Pizza proves that the guys behind this unique concept know exactly what they are doing. The common denominator?… Supporting local Thai artists by providing a creative space and platform to pursue and exhibit their talent.
When New York expat and founder of the gallery Marc Greene came across the empty shophouse along Sathorn Soi 11, a low-rise street in Bangkok’s CBD—he realized the potential of turning it into something special.
“I thought this would be great for something, I just wasn’t sure what,” he admits. “And then I was down in Chinatown, and I saw this little girl drawing on the sidewalk—super talented—and I just thought this would just be a great thing to give back to the community.”
He consulted Chaiyaporn ‘Mike’ Boonmahanark, whom he’d met during a six-month program at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Bangkok 10 years prior. Originally born in Thailand, Mike spent nearly 25 years living in the US, and, contrary to Marc, had a professional background in art. Partnering as curator and director, they launched their first residency program about two years ago—offering creative talents from across Thailand a temporary place to stay, work, and exhibit their art work.
One such residency session lasts between 3-6 months, and currently there are five artists in residence—two on site, and three outside. The call for the next program was launched in March and recipients will be announced in June, giving artists enough time to prepare a portfolio on which the decision will be made.
Though, there sure is no lack of applicants—last time there were about 60 candidates—not everybody is able to afford to focus solely on their art career, which led to the idea of Gallery Pizza. The wildly successful pizza delivery service catering to Bangkok’s late night hordes (it’s open until 4am) was launched last year by Marc’s son, Shane. Unsatisfied with Bangkok’s pizza options, he spent four months in Italy learning how to make real pizza, and on his return set up the delivery service, with the aim of providing job opportunities—as delivery dudes or pizza makers—to the resident artists who need extra income.
“Now we can also offer them a job,” Marc explains. “We give them free paint, we give them a place to stay, and we give them the studio for free. It’s very beneficial, and we are getting more talent because of that.”
The exhibitions on show are, for the most part, group exhibitions, displaying the resident artists’ works as well as those of some more well-known, and established artists. This helps draw a larger audience, and exposes the resident’s work to local and international visitors, collectors, and art lovers.
On the topic of running an art gallery in Bangkok—or anywhere for that matter—Mike explains: “It’s a passion of love because you’re not here to make money, you’re here to contribute to society and to the community and to something you love which is art. Marc started this because he wants to give back to the community, and to help out young artists, and I got into this because I love art and I know there’s huge disadvantage in Thailand for Thai artists, so this is why I agree with his principle of the mission statements of helping the artists to get recognition.”
Their quest seems to be successful—just a few months ago, they raised half a million Baht at an exhibition for two young artists—and their future plans are varied, including a cocktail bar at the back of the gallery. As for Gallery Pizza, Shane tells me about his plans to expand to a second location in the near future, most likely around the On Nut area.
Sathorn 11 Art Space
404, Sathorn Soi 11 | Tel: 02 004 1199
Open: Tue-Sun, 11am-6pm