Enter a Semi-Surreal Wonderland with Adobe Stock artist Biruoh

Image credit: Adobe Stock / Biruoh.

Hailing from the Isan region of Thailand and raised in rural Nakhon Rachasima (also known as Korat), Phatthranit Osman prefers to be professionally nicknamed Biruoh (the Japanese word for “beer”). The artist has turned her childhood love for drawing into a freelance career as an illustrator and UX/UI designer, currently based in Cork, Ireland.

“My mom and aunt are seamstresses, so growing up, I often saw my mom and aunt drawing, and I would ask them to draw while I watched,” Biruoh says. “At the time, I couldn’t draw on my own, so I felt like it was such a nice and interesting thing to watch.” As a teenager, Biruoh spent most of her time immersed in comic books or in front of her computer. This period sparked an early interest in Adobe Photoshop and graphic design.

“Drawing makes me feel like myself and allows me to express my thoughts freely,” says Biruoh, who cites cartoons, games and movies as main inspirations for his subject matter. But she also likes to travel with friends.

“I come home and look at pictures from my trip, and I often want to turn that picture into a fun story,” she says.

His portfolio for Adobe Stock, including work from his Artist Development Fund commission in 2021, offers a kaleidoscopically colorful window into these journeys and experiences, executed with his signature style: full of energy, movement and color.

Left image: Various groups of people standing together Right image: Portrait courtesy of Biruoh.

Image credits: (left to right): Adobe Stock / Biruoh — portrait courtesy of Biruoh.

worlds away

Travel has been an integral part of Biruoh’s life since she moved to Ireland from her native Thailand to be closer to her husband’s family. Although the culture shock was an adjustment, she also had the opportunity to broaden her outlook in many ways.

“I feel like I’ve learned so many new things, seen different people from different cultures – almost like I’ve had the chance to step out of a small pond and see the wider world,” says- she. “Which is helpful because when I was living in Thailand I only had a handful of sources of inspiration, but now I can turn those experiences into creating new work.”

Naturally, there were changes to be made – with food, with weather, with clothing.

“Here in the UK it’s pretty cold, but luckily I like the cold,” says Biruoh. “Even in Thailand, I liked to wear a jacket, when it was too hot for me. Now that I live in a cold city and can put on a jacket, it’s even better. Biruoh loves to explore his new city, keeping eyes open for splashes of color on the houses, or better yet, on the flowers.

“I’ve never seen some of these types of flowers before, and I take pictures of them to keep,” she says. “I like to use them as references for future drawings. I always feel excited whenever I can get out in a new place, whether it’s in the city or in public parks, in nature and many more – it’s an eye-opening experience for me.

Biruoh’s work explores diversity, gender and authenticity, informed by her childhood in rural Thailand, but also colored by a kind of magical visual realism – a style she calls “semi-surreal wonderland”.

“It’s like a reality and a dream combined to express my thoughts through drawing,” she says. Biruoh also likes to create monsters or creatures, with the aim of making his audience smile, or perceiving the stories told as unfolding adventures embroidered with imaginative flourishes, rather than just journeys or day-to-day activities.

Left image: Standing woman in hijab wearing LGBTQ+ rainbow pants.  Right image: Woman applying makeup in a mirror with rainbow lips.

Image credits (from left to right): Adobe Stock / Biruoh, Adobe Stock / Biruoh.

Although Biruoh does most of her work on digital platforms, she has long had an interest in artisanal techniques such as oil painting, printmaking and watercolor.

“I started working as a UX/UI designer,” she said. “In my free time after work, I would come home and try out different materials. I was trying to figure out what I really love and who I really am. Trying to move to Ireland but stuck in Thailand due to the COVID-19 crisis, Biruoh took some time off to explore her artistic voice.

“I took this opportunity to practice, train, develop and try new things because during this time I felt like I wanted to find my own style, my own palette,” she says. “I tried to use different colors and tried to draw in many different styles, all to find my own unique style.”

These days, Biruoh loves drawing in Adobe Fresco and Adobe Illustrator on an iPad.

“100% of the work is done on my iPad, because when I go out or commute from here to there, I can still work,” she says. “I like Fresco because it provides many tools. I like to take photos and import them to make sketches.

Most of the time, however, the use of these tools is only a means to its end goal: to create a feeling.

“On one of those bad days, sometimes we come across something that makes our hearts bloom and refreshes our strength,” she says. “I like to contribute to giving pleasure and strength to others.”

Left image: Disabled woman diving into a swimming pool.  Right image: School language teacher in the classroom.

Image credits (from left to right): Adobe Stock / Biruoh, Adobe Stock / Biruoh.

Live the life we ​​want

Finally, in Ireland, when the opportunity arose to apply to the Adobe Stock Artist Development Fund, Biruoh was inspired to tackle her father’s work ethic project.

“Ever since I was little, I’ve watched my dad work, do his job very early in the morning every day, never complaining,” she said. “He opened a garage in Korat, Pakchong district, and worked so hard. When it comes to work, he always said “whatever you do, if you really want to do it, keep doing it – it doesn’t matter if it’s 10 times or 100 times until you accomplish it” .

But one day, an electrical accident led to the death of his father.

“I looked back and thought that we spend a lot of our lives at work, so we should be doing work that provides opportunities to live the life we ​​really want,” Biruoh says.

With that in mind, Biruoh was able to overcome his reservations about applying for the Artist Development Fund and put together a commissioned portfolio for Adobe Stock.

“If I try, I could pass or fail,” she says, “but if I don’t apply, I have only one answer, and that is fail.”

Another family member who greatly influenced Biruoh’s message is his aunt, who has known herself as queer from an early age, but has had to keep that part of her identity hidden for much of her life in rural Thailand. .

“My aunt and I have been quite close to each other since I was a child,” says Biruoh. “I never thought my aunt being herself was wrong; we just accept, love and adore him as part of the family. Finally, came the moment when she decided to be herself and to defend her identity, which my grandfather could not accept.

Biruoh cites his aunt as a major inspiration for his Adobe Stock portfolio, to serve as a medium for people to see and accept, regardless of their identification.

“Being ourselves can make us feel liberated,” she says. “Rising up as your unique self is not only a satisfying feeling on its own, but it allows people around you to see the point and be brave too.”

Check out more illustrations by Biruoh on Adobe Stock. Explore the Adobe Stock Advocates program to learn more about commissioned artists and opportunities to apply for the Artist Development Fund.

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