Exploring Thai contemporary art, virtually

333Gallery’s newly launched website combines virtual collection and e-commerce for investors in this emerging art scene

THAILAND has a long and well established art tradition, but it is the country’s contemporary and emerging artists that are attracting notice. Long-held views of Thai art are being changed and, for both collectors and investors, this is an emerging market.

333Gallery Group holds the largest collection of contemporary Thai works, and the widest curation of local artists, making it a important centre of emerging Asian art. Pioneered by its owner, Prasong Kochaphan, 333’s mission is to bring Thailand’s modern art scene to an international audience.

The gallery recently launched its website, 333Gallery.com, a digital marketplace where visitors can freely immerse themselves in a 360-degree experience of the group’s collection. As well as offering an interactive cultural experience of Thai art to anyone with an internet connection, this e-commerce platform will promote local artists and their work to investors around the globe.

Following the launch of the platform, we conducted a digital Q&A with managing director and owner of 333Gallery, Prasong Kopchapan.

Most of your represented artists are from SEA. Is this purposeful (i.e. to become the biggest platform for SEA artists)?

South East Asian art is at the core of 333Gallery Group – in fact, our origin is rooted in a passion for it.

333Gallery was established in 2002 by Tira Vanichteeranont, an internationally-renowned art collector from Thailand with an interesting story; Tira is a former telecommunication engineer who started his collection with very little money or knowledge of art when he started his collection. A combination of good fortune and coming across the right pieces of SEA art at the right time ignited a passion that led to the creation of 333Gallery, a curated collection devoted to Thai and Vietnamese art.

The launch of 333gallery.com is the next step in 333Gallery Group’s future. Having more than 20 years of experience in the art sector, 333Gallery Group has identified a gap in the market both in Thailand and internationally 333gallery.com fully satisfies the needs of the global art community by offering the necessary resources, opportunities, and solutions to address all pain points. It’s an e-marketplace that will serve as an imaginative, secure and trustworthy meeting place for artists, spectators, critics, and art enthusiasts.

333gallery.com will bring us closer to our mission of introducing worldwide art enthusiasts to local artwork and foreign artwork to Thai art enthusiasts.

How do you source your artists?

While we still have a team responsible for communicating and sourcing artists directly, our website launch aims to create a community without borders that thrives almost independently. We see it as an imaginative, secure and trustworthy meeting place for artists, spectators, critics, and art enthusiasts. It enables them to communicate quickly and easily, uplifting the entire local and international art scene.

We welcome all artists from around the world to join us via 333gallery.com, and we’ll focus on online and offline marketing to reach more artists globally.

Are your collectors primarily based in SEA?

We intend to make 333gallery.com the go-to art e-marketplace in Asia. That said, we’re very ambitious and certainly not limiting ourselves to customers from the Asian market. We have our sights set on expansions into the European market.

Thailand has a rich art history, and the popularity of established and emerging Thai artists is increasing. Long-established notions of Thai art are evolving, and Thai art is on the rise for pleasure and investment. We hope to enable more European collectors to discover a passion for Thai and Asian art.

Can you tell us about some of the events you host?

Our launch event for 333Gallery.com was a great example of the types of events we host. We try to bring a diverse range of people together, including special guests, celebrities, partners, artists, collectors and industry experts.

We have a very high standard for exhibition launches wherever we hold them. For example, we recently opened a gallery at ICONSIAM 1st floor, ICONLUXE building, Bangkok, and our standard for installation and artist support needed to remain consistent wherever we are.

Do you have any plans for travelling exhibitions?

Travelling exhibitions are very much part of our activity pipeline, particularly towards our aim of expanding our international reach and making more Thai artists well-known beyond Thailand. At the moment, we’re tentatively looking at overseas exhibitions next year, and some of the countries that we have on our list include Singapore and London.

Do you have any plans for opening more galleries in Thailand?

At the moment, our primary goal is to extend our reach overseas. However, we’re always open-minded when it comes to great opportunities. If a really strong opportunity comes along to open another gallery in Thailand that would be a rewarding and exciting challenge, we’d definitely consider it.

Your platform will create a virtual gallery for collectors. How does this virtual experience enhance the collecting journey?

We live in a digital-first world, and every element of our lives can be enhanced by technology in some way. However, scanning or photographing an artist’s work and uploading it to the internet is not enough. Interconnectivity offers huge opportunities in the art world because we have more tools, mediums, and opportunities for discovery than ever before.

Our goal is to replicate the breathtaking sense of wonder and awe we feel when we lose ourselves in art. Now, for every exhibition held at 333Gallery, we will have a Virtual Exhibition for art collectors or those interested but can’t visit the exhibition in person. The Virtual Exhibition can be accessed through various devices, including VR glasses, which offers a truly unique and immersive experience.

For people who may not have a deep knowledge of art, 333gallery.com will also have various accessible options to help them quickly locate and shop for artwork using AI (a personal digital curator). This operating system also can help buyers choose the artwork that best meets their needs. Before purchasing, the buyer will also be able to read the artist’s notes, another buyer and comments from the curator on each work of art on the main page.

Every artist on 333gallery.com has their identity confirmed through ‘Know Your Customer’ (e-KYC) electronic software for the safety of art buyers, so buyers can rest assured that the artwork they acquire will be of the highest calibre.

Do you sell NFTs?

We’re planning a second phase of activity and development incorporating NFTs as part of the web 9.0 world, which will be built into our existing web platform. It’s something we’re very excited about, so watch this space!