A few weeks ago, I learned that Pisut Masanong was going to be in Las Vegas for a few days. If you read this blog, or are part of the diecast community on Instagram, or follow the Hot Wheels Design Team, you know who he is. Let me refresh your memory:
I worked on getting myself to Vegas to meet Masanong, but work obligations kept me home. Fortunately, my good friend Jay Kho, aka the RTE, aka @jestersgarage, lives in Vegas, and was able to spend some time with Masanong. Jay was nice enough to take some photos and write a little bit about a customizer who is truly on a level all his own.
So I am dedicating As is the Custom for this week entirely to Jay’s visit with Masanong. I am truly sad I wasn’t able to be there.
(Because this is As is the Custom, here is a shout-out to our Lamley Partner and sponsor, @7Eightoys. Be sure to check out their amazing custom wheels.)
Many thanks to Jay for doing this, and to Masanong for letting us spend some time with him.
At the age of 12, while he was bored at home, he grabbed a pencil and started drawing skull on his nail. Now he travels the world doing seminars as a renowned nail artist.
So why am I leaving the comfort of my home, on my day off, in 113 degree heat to see this man? Pisut Masanong is also a diecast customizer, and a great one at that. His micro hand-painting skills are above none, and the attention to detail on his customs are some of the best, if not the best, as most would argue. Luckily he was in Las Vegas for one of his seminars, and granted us some time to learn more about the skills of this great artist.
Pisut, who hails from Thailand, started painting in such smaller scale at an early age, but not until he went to college did he decide to apply his talent to some diecast cars. You see, he is a car nut as well, and when he wants to get away from his nail-painting livelihood, he finds comfort and peace playing with his toys. That is why whenever he has any free time, he works and play with his diecast cars. Every piece he does is considered one of his precious babies. Which is why he always travels with them, wherever he might go. Having his art accompany him while he spends long periods of time away from home gives him comfort.
So as I sit here in some Las Vegas hotel lobby marveling at his wonderful works of rolling art, I have to wonder, HOW?
If you have seen his work, you know that this must take time and patience, and require that a mastering of your inner Zen. So before he even picks up a paint brush, he spends countless hours planning his custom. How does he do it? He starts with Photoshop. Pisut will look for a stock car on the internet that sparks his interest, and then he will pick aero parts online, one by one, that will match his style. If he can’t find a part, he will create one to his liking until every piece of the puzzle is complete. Once he is satisfied with the car on his computer, the real action begins. His customs may take about 4 days to complete if he has time, and that is not counting the Photoshop rendering. Well how many hours per day you might say? He just simply said sometimes 6 hours or more. And even when he is done, he will modify or add more to it. So the answer is, he never really finishes a custom.
That is why every piece is very dear to him and truly are like his babies. He doesn’t create them to sell, but rather as a way to relax from his daily routine. VERY rarely will he will let one go. On the rare occasion he does sell one, it is always with a heavy heart, he said. Can you imagine how many times he gets asked to sell his creations? I know I was thinking it, and already plotting a visit to the nearest ATM machine. You can’t help but want one. He even mentioned that there was a fan of his work who flew to Thailand just to see, and possibly purchase one of his customs. Let me say that there was a lot of the word “please” in that conversation before he finally agreed to sell to the visitor. Fortunately, our Mattel friends Jimmy Liu and Jun Imai where lucky enough to see his work while visiting Bangkok, and take one home to display at the Hot Wheels Design Center. Lucky!
As we were in the hotel lobby, me salivating at his work while sitting on the carpet to get a level point of view of his cars, we were interrupted by one of his nail art students, who flew from Georgia to see him and wanted to say hi. I forgot he is a rock star in that world as well. Pisut mentioned that before the end of the year that he has 5 more countries to visit for seminars, each taking at least one week each. He also said that for every place he visits, he would asks the organizer to give him one day to hunt for Hot Wheels. Haha!
Want to hear something great? Not sure if you are ready for this. He is planning on creating and selling diecast cars next year! Yes my hopeful friends, Pisut plans on finally sharing his babies. Just give him time to prepare mentally and emotionally, Hahaha how great is that?! You just might have to get in line behind John and me.
We are thankful that Pisut was able to find time and sit down with us. I think I can speak for all of us who are fans of his work, that we hope that his plans to sell some customs goes through next year. As we in the diecast community are ready for Pisut to share some of his magnificent rolling pieces of art. Bring it on!