Peap Tarr and Lisa Mam #artlife in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

by Shaz Hassan

As we continue to check in on some of the artists we know and love, we had to say hello to Phnom Penh artists Peap Tarr and Lisa Mam. Without a doubt the couple are pioneers of street art in Cambodia and as I personally have lived in Cambodia on and off, I'm very happy to catch up with the dynamic duo and see how things have 

How’s Phnom Penh and how’s everything re: Covid and the Art Scene?

Phnom Penh and Cambodia has had a few ups and downs since Covid kicked in. There was only one official major lockdown in 2020 during March which was enforced by Law and Military where travel was really restricted. It roughly lasted officially 2 weeks and step by step it eased up where only areas that had high cases were lockdown and that’s mainly in Phnom Penh. I know Siem Reap had some issues plus the border areas with Vietnam and Thailand. But overall we have been living relatively normal, just that we always wear masks and are constantly spraying alcohol on our hands and surfaces when outside.

 Despite it all, we are maintaining and creating and just keeping it moving.

There are less events and all overseas projects were stalled or went in the bin. But as artists and creative’s both Lisa and I are flexible and we did our own projects and a few commercial ones. Lisa got her website up and running, thanks to our friend back over in Long Beach in the States and now we can sell prints, stickers and various merchandise to fans of Lisa. You can check her site out over here.

image of lisa mam holding an oversized street art sticker

 There have been some art shows going on here and there are local artists who I’m sure are maintaining and creating out here and creating their own paths, I think in some way the plus side of Covid, it has made, maybe some artist reflect on their art and maybe tackle things in a different way which is what being a creative is all about and really just what being a human is all about and that is being able to adapt in the situations one can find themselves in life sometimes and learning to thrive in your environment no matter the challenges you are given in life.

picture of peap tarr holding an oversized street art sticker


What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment we are working on a few projects both include some commercial work, some private commissions and what I’m most excited about is our own projects that Lisa and I are working on together.

This year we are really going to focus much more on our own art that we want to create instead of the commercial work, which is cool to do and helps pay the bills and when it’s a good client its always a pleasure. Chivas Regal here in Cambodia (and the agency handling it) and have been super cool and very understanding towards us as artists and they pretty much approve everything that we create which is sweet as!

I have also just finished up a mural for a local bar here to which was cool doing since it can be seen from the street But we are just really excited for what we got planned in terms of putting out what we really want to put out with no restrictions or guidelines.  It can be very limiting sometimes when working on commercial projects, but its also good training to be creative with restrictions - because you have got rules and if you can work around that and make a success out if it that’s a great thing.


Any plans for 2022?

I can say we got many plans for 2022 which both Lisa and I are excited about. We do have various commission work, commercial work we are in the mix of.

But as I said, we are really just excited to do a lot more of our own thing and less of the commercial thing.

We have already started and we are preparing for lift off real soon.