Bangkok Faces: Paron Mead, Founder, Paron School of Art

9 February 2015, BKK Kids

Your Name: Paron Mead
Job Title: Founder of the Paron School of Art

What is your nationality and background?
I have wonderful parents who are Thai and British. My father, for most of my life, has been a very committed painter so in some ways art was always a component in my upbringing. I had my share of Thai-state schools and British-boarding schools before going on to study art at Central Saint Martins in London. I have worked as an artist, a designer, a tutor to undergraduate students and a curriculum consultant. For the past 5 years I have worked as a visual Arts teacher at Harrow International School.

What is your profession?
I run and teach at the Paron School of Art, which is based in Ekkamai. I offer curriculums in Art and Design to children, adolescents and adults in small class sizes.

What are the key skills and responsibilities of this role?
The main thing is making sure that my students feel positively challenged in their technical and creative developments. I place great value in both of these aspects. I am continually writing and re-writing curriculums which I have used to teach the 7-18 age range in order to ensure that my lessons are balanced and impactful. For older students it is important that I have a good understanding of the marking criteria set by various exam boards and that my awareness of undergraduate options are up to date. I also want to make sure that my artists are engaged and happy people.

How did you get involved in your profession?
Initially I had joined Harrow as an artist-in-resident and found the school to be a supportive and welcoming place. I took a teacher training certification and re-joined as a secondary school art teacher the following year. I felt that students and parents valued my work and ever since then I have been looking for other platforms to practice as an art educator. Creating a school was the logical next step.

How does your role enhance the wellbeing or experience of children?
I’m a big believer in education. My job is to create access and development opportunities in the Arts. Learning about the way the world works, from a visual sense, is a fantastic discipline. Acquiring tools to create works that respond to that enquiry can be a very fulfilling experience for young people.

What challenges do your face in this role?
Having come from an established environment like Harrow, I was used to teaching in a space which was structured, professional and which had very clear cultural expectations in place. I’ve found it difficult to introduce this and I am realising that a school’s culture can’t be created overnight. So I am exercising patience. The breadth of work in setting up a school has been massive – but it has also helped me to better understand the core values of my practice.

What do you hope to achieve within your industry?
In a very broad sense, I hope that every child has access to an education that extends them and gives them a sense of who they are. Specifically, I would like to see the profile of art education in Thailand raised. Being surrounded by art seems to be such an easy and worthwhile way to spend one’s childhood. Experiencing art in Bangkok should be a lot easier and more accessible than it currently is.

Who or what inspires you?
I’m very lucky. At work I am surrounded by many meaningful images and ideas, both from art books and of that generated by my students. Inspiration is all around. I think living in Bangkok has given me a lot of inspiration to do what I do also. In all of its beauty and strangeness, Bangkok is also a life force.

Only a Bangkok local would know…
..their way around the vast number of Thai restaurants and of tailors. I like selecting Thai food from an extensive menu that includes a wide selection of Lanna and Isaan dishes in a no-frills space that is conducive to great conversation. I go to Gedawa Restaurant on Sukhumvit 35 for my fix of beautiful foods in a homely environment. My tailor Khun Tin at For Chong (between Sukhumvit 49 and 51) has been cutting suits for me for over 10 years.

Paron School of Art is on Sukhumvit 63 between Ekkamai soi 11 and soi 13
Call +89795 8765 or write to
ParonSchoolofArt@gmail.com for information on his upcoming classes or to arrange a tour of the facilities.

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