Peap Tarr is a self-proclaimed internationalist, and a cursory glance at his CV would confirm as much. Hailing from New Zealand but currently living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Peap Tarr has made a name for himself all over Southeast Asia by painting large scale works with a host of diverse collaborators. As of late, he’s taken to frequently painting with Lisa Mam, a more than able partner in crime. Having painted in places like France, Thailand, and Hawaii, his style is emblematic of the region he is uniting; at once completely ethnographic and cultural, while also the hallmark of an art scene that is increasingly focused on looking outside itself for inspiration.
As Peap Tarr says in the following interview, he feels his mission is to serve as a “cultural bridge,” a link of commonality that unites inspired people everywhere. One look at his work, and you can see how he might have filled notebook after notebook as a kid, with uber-detailed illustrations that emphatically impress when created on such a large scale. This dude oozes positivity, and between his philosophy and the art itself, we couldn’t be happier to feature him. Take comfort in the fact that Cambodia’s Peap Tarr is making the world a more beautiful place. Ahead, he paints our collective mind.
Evan: It’s such a pleasure to link up man… The second we saw your work, we were on board. Thanks for taking the time.
Peap Tarr: Thank you for noticing my art, always happy when my art can travel and make new fans and new friends, it’s a wonderful thing!
Evan: You must have been quite the doodler as a kid. I can see your stuff filling notebook after notebook…
PEAP: I doodled and drew nonstop as a kid, and even till this day I do the same thing. I’ve even had people wanting to purchase my sketch books, but its to personal to sell. When I was a kid my Mum just provided me with stacks and stacks of paper that she would bring home from her job. She was teaching at university so she had access to all these office supplies and I guess that was her way of occupying me for hours. I would draw all these different worlds where people and creatures lived in incredible houses, we always lived in apartments and moving around non stop when I was a kid, so in some ways these places I created where like dream homes for me.
Evan: How would you describe your stuff? How do you see your work evolving?
PEAP: I would describe my art as a mixture of two cultures colliding then giving birth to a new hybrid human that takes all the best aspects of both cultures. My Mother is Cambodian and my Father is a New Zealander, and this has influenced my artwork a lot, and is my main inspiration. At the same time, I grew up watching allot of cartoons and reading comics, as well as getting involved with graffiti, skating culture, hip hop music, basically all the urban aspects of growing up in a city environment in the 90’s.
Now I’m living in Phnom Penh Cambodia and my art has taken another direction. I came back to Cambodia to help my Mum out since she is unable to work anymore, so it was a whole new thing to come here and almost start all over again. In Cambodia there’s no real urban art scene, no real street art except a few randoms here and there from the back packing tourists, but all that is starting to change.
So I guess this the new evolution in my work is about being able to get more in touch with my Cambodian/Asian side over the last few years, as well as balancing my art alongside Lisa’s.
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