“In 1992, the central monk body was decentralising, and I got my first job designing banners for them. The project paid me Nu 17,500, much more than an officer made back then. I was on cloud nine – not walking but floating on air in Thimphu town.
I was 23 and had no job. I hung out with my friends who worked in the government offices as if I worked there, too. I’d dress like I was part of the team, and when a seminar came up, they needed someone to design posters.
My art journey took off, and I started making posters, book covers, pamphlets, and more that focused on raising awareness about HIV, hepatitis, and TB.
I began to make some money and decided to invest it wisely. While buying fancy imported cars was the trend, I bought land, which would help me in the long run. I’d learned to think like an entrepreneur from my dad, who ran a grocery store.
In 1994, I got a job as an artist at RSPN and worked there for a year. My art career was on the rise, and I realised the importance of independence before settling down.
I started dating an American woman who worked for Save the Children in Bhutan. Three years later, I built a house and married her. Her job allowed us to travel, including a trip to Kansas City, a place with no mountains and only flat land. It was a big change for me. I was amazed when I saw a man who didn’t take his $1.50 change back at the store. Back in Bhutan, that was a lot of money.
Later, my wife got a job offer in Tibet, and we lived there for two years. Just 25 minutes from our house was the captivating Potala Palace. I continued to focus on my art and even held an exhibition at one point.
While travelling with my wife, who worked for the Peace Corps in Mongolia, I even got a picture with President George W. Bush when he visited.
My wife and I were focused on our careers and decided not to have kids. In our 50’s, we finally settled in Paro – our home.
When COVID struck, my gallery in town stopped doing well – I barely made rent money. I decided to close it and turned my temporary shed in Paro town into my full-time art studio. So my day now is spent painting away in the peaceful ambience of Paro Town.”

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