Laura Thipphawong triumphs over darkness by channeling it into these mysterious paintings

Artist Laura Thipphawong talks about darkness in her childhood and how monsters play into her cryptic paintings.

'I've had to think a lot about what it's like to be, or to live with, monsters in your life'

(Laura Thipphawong)

Laura Thipphawong's paintings, populated by young girls, monsters and forests in the dead of night, have an unsettling quality. They're dark, inspired by true crime novels as much as folklore and her own childhood in a small mining town. But she's plunging into these depths in order to extract fragments of light.

"There's something that really appeals to me about the study of fear," says Thipphawong. She believes fear has the power to dictate many of our life decisions, but it often remains unspoken out loud. 

Watch the video:

Laura Thipphawong's dark fairy tales

5 years ago
Duration 2:46
Featured VideoThipphawong opens up about how childhood and monsters play into her cryptic paintings

In this video, Thipphawong gives you a glimpse of her early years and struggles growing up in Northern Ontario, and she lets you in on how these shaped her art practice.

Mining her own childhood memories and her own psychology is a defining aspect of her process. She's looked at violent events in her own life, working her impressions and insights about them out on the canvas. Doing so means "you're going into somewhere unknown, a very dark place and you're finding things that are very unexpected — and more often than not, those things are really great."

Follow Laura Thipphawong here.

(Laura Thipphawong)
(Laura Thipphawong)
(Laura Thipphawong)

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 11:30pm (12am NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4pm NT) on CBC Television.


As a young child, March Mercanti would play with his action figures for countless hours because he was obsessed with telling stories...to himself. Currently, March is a filmmaker living in Toronto, ON. He works at CBC Arts creating documentaries for artists across Canada.