Guests at the newly opened akyra Manor Chiang Mai, the hip urban hotel concept, can now get some ‘face time’ with their favourite Hollywood superstars.Each of akyra Manor Chiang Mai’s luxurious, contemporary and spacious suites features a large, signed limited edition Dr Andy Gotts piece– in the form of a montage of shots from his ‘contact sheets’. The subjects are some of the biggest names of stage and screen, including George Clooney, Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Clint Eastwood, Kevin Spacey, Meryl Streep and Cate Blanchett, as you’ve never seen them before.
Dr Gotts, an English man who divides his time between London and New York, has become renowned for black and white or monochrome studio portraits of Hollywood royalty and other celebrities revealing the person behind the mask of fame.
AKARYN Hotel Group founder and managing director Anchalika Kijkanakorn, whose boutique hotel group operates the new property, developed in partnership with Singapore’s Manor Group, said the involvement with Andy Gotts was a statement of intent of the level of artistic excellence and calibre of cutting edge artists the hotel planned to bring to Chiang Mai.
Ms Kijkanakorn said “His portraits have won him fans all over the world, not least in the Hollywood mansions and corridors of power”.
“You think you know the faces and characters of Hollywood’s A-List pretty well from the movies and magazines,” she said. “Then you look at the work of Andy Gotts, and you get it. What you see is a mask, an elaborate facade and a persona, something larger than life.
“Andy Gotts gets behind that mask somehow, armed with his camera, a cup of tea and some conversation. He manages to find the real person or a side of the superstars that you haven’t seen before. They are powerful, mesmerising images.”
She said akyra Manor’s location in the heart of Nimman Haemin, a bustling and vibrant new quarter of Chiang Mai which has become a favourite hangout of the city’s university students and burgeoning community of artists, was the perfect locus from which to give the city’s art scene a short sharp kick in the pants.
“This is just the beginning,” Ms Kijkanakorn said. “We are putting the finishing touches on a schedule of exhibition openings and artist showcases and workshops which will be announced once the smoke clears from the launch.”
Ms Kijkanakorn said the prints brought the rooms to life and complemented perfectly the glamorous touches like a large al fresco hot tub in each suite. “Have a soak outside, with some bubbly, under the stars -then come in and sleep under the stars as well. George Clooney or Brad Pitt? Decisions, decisions.”
“The suites at akyra Manor are very spacious. So we had a lot of scope in making a dramatic statement with these wonderful portraits,” Ms Kijkanakorn said.
In his coffee table book Degrees, Gotts put the ‘Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ theory to the test, and worked his way through the Hollywood ‘who’s who’ on the basis of each person he shot loving the results and recommending who he should shoot next.
Savoy Hotel was another acclaimed project that saw him shoot a succession of celebrities in the iconic London landmark, with the hotel, not the actor, as the star of each shot.
The thread that links every Gotts shot is the capturing of an unguarded moment or unfamiliar expression that reveals a deeper truth behind the public facade. Famously, he shot the last portrait of Tony Curtis just before the death of one of the last links to a more glamorous, pre-paparazzi Hollywood.
Mr Gotts said: “Even though I have been given the title ‘celebrity photographer’ I have always seen myself as a photographer of actors. I have always been a movie buff and getting the opportunity to meet my matinee idols is beyond a dream come true. I specialise in character studies of the face and try to show a new and different side of world famous faces in my ‘warts and all’ style.”
His recent touring exhibition, ‘Behind the Mask’, for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts was an ambitious idea and an artistic and commercial success, drawing crowds to museums and galleries around the UK. The biggest collection of BAFTA award-winning actor portraiture ever assembled took Gotts around the world as he shot the likes of Daniel Craig and Glenda Jackson, as well as American stars Al Pacino, Johnny Depp, Sidney Poitier and the late Lauren Bacall and Robin Williams.
akyra Manor Chiang Mai is offering an introductory rate including breakfast of THB4,900 ++ / approx. AUD 190 plus Service & VAT per room per night until 30 Nov, making it the perfect opportunity to come and experience akyra Manor’s urban chic and warm hospitality in the ‘Rose of the North’. http://theakyra.com/