Bangkok Neon by Chris Coles


In the middle of the day, Bangkok is a vast smog-choked metropolis with some of the world’s most horrendous traffic, flat lighting, high humidity, its shoddy infrastructure on full display, sidewalks with gaping holes, streets dug up and paved over way too many times, buildings streaked with rust and mildew, bits of rotting garbage and trash in every direction, thousands of soi dogs wandering, sniffing, pooping and peeing.

But as the sun sets, the Bangkok Night comes to life. The air cools, the traffic calms, and Bangkok’s faults disappear into a glossy and seductive darkness. Beautiful girls and stylish guys fill the sidewalks. Music drifts through nighttime breezes scented with jasmine and ten thousand food stalls. And lighting up every boulevard, street and soi, across the entire metropolis, trillions of little fairy lights and millions of signs.

Every kind of sign in every kind of language with every typestyle and color, from gigantic to small, stylish to outlandish, some blinking, some discreet, some ordinary, others wacky. Very few cities anywhere on this planet have the number and variety of signs as are spread across the vastness of the Bangkok Night. With little apparent zoning, control or censorship, the only limit is the imagination and when it comes to applying visual imagination to the business of the Night, Thais are second to no one.

What follows is a taste of the Bangkok Night’s signs along with some of the mood and feeling they create, enticement, the promise of pleasure, glowing neon colors hissing in Bangkok’s humid air.

There are approximately fifty paintings in the BANGKOK NEON series.

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