Patcharapol Tangruen, also known as Alex Face, is a well-known and influential graffiti artist in Thailand. Alex studied architecture at Bangkok’s King Mongktut Institute of Technology. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree on a Department of Fine & Applied Arts. An interest in architecture led Alex Face to explore and wander the streets and alleys of Bangkok for abandoned buildings, buildings that he eventually used as a canvas to develop his street art where he could express himself.
He then created Alex Face, a character with an aged, disillusioned child’s face wearing animal costumes. Through his graffiti, Alex Face especially attempts to create a link the urban population, the underprivileged of Bangkok and the provinces. He now includes images of penguins that have since become famous into his graffiti.
Alex consider himself as an artist with a social conscience. His current signature, a quizzical smoking baby who looks wise beyond his years at first glance cute but all the time worrying about the future world. The baby idea was inspired by the birth of his daughter. “The first time I saw her she looked angry or worried” he told me. It made him why she looked like that, causing him to reflect on the life she had ahead. “I thought are you not happy to be my daughter? Are you not happy to be in the world?” Ultimately this world changing personal event had caused Alex to consider the future and in particular to take stock of the changes happening in his own country, the country in which she would grow up.
He draws the baby with a third eye, as well: “I believe in the spirit, that is how I grew up, I feel the spirit” he says. The third eye in his drawings represents another dimension “it’s something that we can feel but can’t see with two eyes so I add the third eye which can see what we can’t”.