[TCN Artist Interview] SpicyThaiDesign (Sanit Klamchanuan)

Sanit is an accomplished artist working out of Wellington, New Zealand, at one of the world’s most recognized creative design and physical effects companies Weta Workshop. In this interview, TCN dives into what drives SpicyThai Design aka Sanit Klamchanuan creatively and the work he has done over the years.

Q: First of all, what got you interested in drawing and costume design and special effects?

A: Ever since I was very young, I have always loved watching cartoons. My mum has often told me that straight after watching a show I would start drawing the characters. I guess my dream has been to be a cartoonist since those early days.

When I was in my 30s I decided to start drawing comic book characters. As I was drawing some characters I realized they didn’t look quite right, so I started to design my own costumes and improve my drawing skills.

Q: What inspired your artist name?

A: It was a nickname that was given to me when I was at university, because I was always eating spicy Thai food!.

Q: Which drawing / costume / prop of your own are you most proud of?

A: It’s got to be my Thai armour. To be able to showcase my Thai culture to the world.

Q: Do you own any work from another artist that gives you inspiration?

A: I have many comics and art books at home. I have many photos of my cosplay friends on my wall.

(and) Which artists are your biggest influences?

A: It’s very hard to pick a few as they all inspired me in different ways. 

Q: Do you have any upcoming movies or other projects you can talk about?

A: I can’t talk about any of them much I’m afraid, but what I can say is that I worked on Mulan and it was an incredible project to work on – and it should be out soon!

Q: How did you get to work at WETA? Did you approach them, or did they approach you?

A: I answered an ad on this website when some artists were asking for help to work on some dragon sculptures. It turned out those artists worked for Weta Workshop and through this particular project I learnt about more work at the studio in Wellington, New Zealand. I went down to help and I’ve been there ever since!

Q: Are there any costumes that you dream about working on?

A: Mmmmmm I want to make everything! But to make a fully lit-up Gundam would be cool.

Q: Are there any franchises you want to design for?

A: Mmmm there are so many also.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the work you did for Thor: Ragnarok?

A: My work was in the costume department, where I helped the team design, test and then build the character Skurge’s armour. The process is interesting – we’d make a quick mock-up in foam to make sure it fit the actor and would move as he needed it. I was also lucky enough to make a foam suit for the character Korg.

Q: Can you tell us about some of the work you did for Power Rangers 2017?

A: My role was in the costume department, working on the prototypes for the costumes. It was very important to make sure the actors could move freely in their costumes.

Q: What is your favourite thing about being an artist?

A: I get to make cool stuff all the time.

Q: What would you say is the most difficult or challenging thing about being an artist in the movie industry? The deadlines? Artist’s block? Sore hand? Haha

A: Yes, the deadlines. But again it is what we live for. I love working to a deadline because we have to work together as a team to get the job done. 

Q: If you weren’t an artist, what career would you have chosen instead?

A: Mmmmmm I would have loved to be an art teacher.. Hahaha

Q: What hobbies do you have when you aren’t drawing or creating costumes?

A: I love all sports. I love being in the great outdoors.

Q: How do you feel about going to comic cons?

A: I love going to cons. I get to see many of my friends. I love to see people’s costumes and talk shop with them. Sharing techniques and of course taking heaps of photos. 

Q: Is there a particular comic con you would like most to visit that you haven’t had the opportunity to go to yet?

A: I guess SDCC would be a dream to go to. It looks crazy but amazing at the same time. 

Q: If you could go back in time to when you were just starting out and give your younger self advice, what would you say?

A: Mmmm I believe things happen for a reason. I would just say “Keep having fun!”

Q: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?

A: If you have a dream or something you really want, work hard to get it. But make sure you are having fun! If you enjoy what you are doing, you will never want to stop.

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