In the fast-paced world of constantly hustling creatives, it's reassuring to know there are still those who take a slower route. Take Parn Aniwat, also known as Wood You Mind, who carefully carves colourful wooden sculptures by hand.
Originally from Bangkok, these days Parn lives in Texas. And from his quiet home studio, he has been silently carving whimsical statues out of blocks of wood since 2019. Loosely based on drawings he makes on paper, these brightly painted statues retain a sense of childish charm that has earned him legions of admirers.
It's no surprise that a youthful innocence runs through his work. Parn tells Creative Boom that he used to feel peaceful as a kid when drawing and using his imagination. "I still get that feeling now," he explains. "And carving is just one medium that I experiment with. I also work with paper crafts, ceramics and resin. They're all fun."
Wood carving is what Parn is best known for, though, with nearly 130 thousand people following his creations on Instagram. This appears to suit Parn fine, as he naturally gravitates towards working with wood. "Wood carving matches how I like to communicate," he reveals. "It's all about taking things out, being imperfect, and letting go."
Indeed, it's the handmade approach that makes Parn's work stand out. In an industry that can sometimes get hung up on perfection, the 'flaws' in his sculptures only serve to make them more endearing. Who couldn't fall in love with a hand-sculpted fox or a group of uniquely carved bears?
Working by hand does more than give Parn's sculptures a sense of personality. It also suits his lifestyle. "I use hand tools because I live in an apartment, so I can't make too much noise," he says. "But using hand tools teaches me about effort and mindfulness. It also reminds me not to rush and remain calm."
Parn's carvings have a curious consistency to them while also remaining unique. Sculptures of flowers and rainbows easily sit comfortably next to rabbits and a rainbow with a face. And when thinking of what to carve, he gets his ideas from everywhere. "The places I go, the shows I watch, my memories," he says. "Then I combine these sources with my imagination."
But before he starts whittling away, Parn usually draws a rough sketch of his characters on paper. "It's mostly an improvisation." Elements of these drawings are then carried over into the carving process. "I let other things happen while I carve. I call this 'letting the present do its work.'
"My creative process is very spontaneous. It's kind of like a kid's drawing. Often, it does not need to have a deep meaning or an epic message. I try to carve very normally."
Just as there's no set route from concept to completion, Parn's work rate varies from sculpture to sculpture. "I'm not sure how quickly I make them," he adds. "Some take a lot of time. Since I started making them in 2019, I have made around 1,200 pieces so far."
If you're a fan of Parn's work and want to learn more about his creative practice, you're in luck. He's scheduled to appear at this year's Pictoplasma Conference in New York, which runs from the 26 October. "I will be talking about my working process, routine and work plan," Parn concludes.