Q&A with the Cover Artist: Nanzo

Get to know the artist behind our anniversary issue cover better in just two minutes and six questions

[This story first appeared in Koktail Magazine Issue 4.]


Artist and graphic designer Waraporn Hemaratna, who goes by the nickname Nanzo, is so prolific, with over a decade of experience in commercial art direction and fashion and graphic design, if you live in Bangkok and are familiar with brands like Greyhound Original, Greyhound Cafe, Aunty Haus, Blaq Lyte, and The Standard Hotels, then you’ve probably come across her quirky lines, shapes, and colours somewhere. Medium doesn’t seem to phase this multi-disciplinary artist at all as her portfolio includes works on paper, canvas, digital surfaces, glass, a motley of textiles, and even cake. She has also on occasion brought her ideas to life in the form of sculpture and large-scale murals.

An artist who exudes such excitement and positivity, Nanzo was exactly the kind of soul we wanted behind our anniversary issue cover. Learn about her thought process, inspirations, and how she herself celebrates in this customary Koktail Q&A.

Can you describe your style of art, as well as talk about some of your influences and inspirations?

Love and happiness are the primary themes of my artwork, and music plays a major role in my life, especially when it comes to creativity. I find that songs often become the inspiration for my paintings. I'm very much inspired by older music, such as Sun Ra, Sade, or older jazz. I believe that people can hear the music when they look at my paintings. My influences really depend on what I am experiencing at the time of creation. Music, nature, and the people around me often inform my work. I also tend to depict female figures in my paintings, and they are usually dancing and having fun.

How did you interpret the brief of “celebration”? Can you walk us through the process of creating this piece for Koktail?

We often drink with company to celebrate, so for this anniversary and “celebration” issue of Koktail Magazine, I have created two cocktail buddies having a good time together. I used bright colours to evoke joyfulness. My process always starts with multiple rough sketches. I first sketched this artwork on paper and then refined it on my iPad.

What’s something worth celebrating in your life?

There are so many good moments each day. I try to celebrate them all, from the little achievements to the big events.

How do you celebrate?

It depends on where I am, but quite often I like to celebrate with friends and family by going out for a meal together. Spending time with my loved ones is most precious to me. They are who I want to celebrate with.

Show-off time! What are some of your recent works that you're proud of?

Some of my recent works include an art exhibition with Euro Creations, a pop-up collaboration with Rag & Bone, my ongoing project with Cheese N’Wine designing wine bottle labels and other visuals, and two projects with The Standard Mahanakhon. For The Standard, I recently completed a custom painting for their restaurant as well as a hand-painted ceramics collection made for sale at their gift shop.

Where can people keep up with your work?

People can keep up with me at my Instagram account @nanzonanzo or check out my portfolio at nanzonanzo.com