“These warehouses have a lot of potential – this soi could be a fantastic creative destination. My hope is that more artists and designers will rent a space here”. So says Christian Dveleter, the Belgian tenant of one of the studios helping turn an unassuming little soi only a short stroll from the river into a S oho-like artistic enclave. Entitled Warp 54, the structure – a teakwood warehouse built by the Japanese during World War II – is first and foremost a workspace where Dvelter, an internationally known artist, creates his vivid, oversized oil pantings of Asian characters. But pop-up events ranging from dance performances to magazine launches and gourmet sit-down dinners occupy its rough teakwood floors now and again too. www.warp54.com
What is Warp 54 exactly?
It’s a raw spacious work place, just the way I like it.
How did you find it?
Our friends, also from Belgium, found the space through their dad, who has an amazing antique place opposite our studio. They have a furniture design studio further up in the soi called P. Tendercool (ptendercool.com). I paint on large canvases and tend to lose myself in my space, so when I saw it I immediately imagined it as my atelier. It was a quick decision.
What was the building used for previously?
After being built during World War II, it was used for storage of various items. The space hasn’t changed a lot since those days .We cleaned it up and restored the warehouse feel. It’s rare to still find a space like this so near the river.
The name – any link to Studio 54?
We came up with it when we were having some drinks whilst renovating the place. The ‘warp’ part comes from warp speed from Star Trek – we found it a fun name. The ‘studio’ because it’s my studio and ‘54’ is the number of the warehouse. And yes, there’s a wink to New York’s Studio 54 in there, although we haven’t had any white horses in here, yet.
Describe your work.
Most of my paintings tend to be huge portraits based on Asian subjects. I decide on the colour scheme while painting by putting opposite colours next to one another. It’s more or less a mathematical process.
Why use such big canvases?
Because it best suits my technique. I prefer to paint a stroke with my whole arm and feel the tension then scribbling on a small piece. I feel more interaction when I paint in a physical way, it’s something personal. It’s also more a pain for my copy cats.
Do you exhibit other people’s work here?
Yes, when it’s complementary to my work and the artists are as committed to their work as I am to mine.
We first encountered Warp 54 at a magazine launch party. What other events do you host here?
Our best event so far was an amazing pop-up dinner with Dusit and Chef Mc Daeng. And we also staged a contemporary dance performance inspired by Jean Genet during the floods.
What’s next for Warp 54?
For the next few months I’m going to focus on my new collection, which is based on facial tattoo’s from the Chin tribe in Myanmar. It’s painstaking work but a very exciting project. My urban and tribal paintings have also inspired the next collection of local fashion label Tube Gallery. There will be a full fashion show here at Warp when it’s launched towards the end of this year.
Are you open to the public?
Whenever I’m working in the studio I leave the gate open, and I’m usually available by appointment if I’m not traveling.
Warp 54 Studios
Charoen Krung Soi 30 (turn left into the gate before the Portuguese Embassy, third warehouse on the left) | Si Phraya Express Boat Pier | 081-867-5002 | www.warp54.com | Open by appointment only