This story was originally produced for Khaosod English.
Jeff Ross’ Bangkok studio is a maze of color and visual overload. Collage print posters line the walls, assembled like puzzle pieces. Abstract mazes lay scattered on table along with pieces of advertising from all around the world.
Ross grew up traveling. He moved from Colorado to Texas, California, and finally Seattle. Most of his creative career began in Seattle in the late 1980s when he started his own screen printing company, making posters for Seattle bands.
He printed T-shirts for Nirvana, Afghan Wings, The Fluid and more, and designed art for snowboarding brands such as K2, Snowboard Connection, and Ride.
Now, Ross travels the world collecting pieces of posters and torn-up advertising to create abstract works of art. His open studio display of collages, prints, and maze-like paintings was a part of the first Bangkok Biennial, held in July.
Born in Germany, Ross always had an eye for traveling around Europe. But when his friends invited him to Thailand, he kept coming back. He’s been based in Bangkok for the past four years.
“Bangkok is actually really good for just seeing,” he said. “I look at the little things. I look at the abstract of it.”
The Biennial is a grassroots collection of works by local and expat artists with no central curation. Pavilions are set up around the city and are all free to view.
The concept for Ross’ work began when he wandered cities to photograph graffiti. He began photographing with an abstract eye for detail. When he took an image of a torn up poster, he tore the poster even more so the photograph couldn’t be re-created.
But, at the end of it, it seemed a shame to waste all that paper so he used it to create more art.
“I clean up cities and I take home garbage and I create art,” he said.
Ross still screen prints in Bangkok, but the cultural differences keep him learning.
“I’m back to printing like I did in the very beginning,” he said. “I’m re-learning to print with what I have available. I’ve printed perfect for so long, I’m loving printing really loose and dirty now.”