Ko Ko Naing was born in Mawlamyine, Mon State in 1960. For many years he worked as a designer and illustrator of books, magazines and posters. He is a skilled and very good at line expression for his illustrations and is well known for his paintings of old buildings that has not disappeared from Yangon’s spirit.
“I came to Yangon in 1984 because I wanted to see the big movie posters and billboards around Yangon train station and in front of movie theaters. Later I decided to live in Yangon and paint those movie posters. I tried my best to live in Yangon permanently with income from drawing posters and painting” said Ko Ko Naing. After 2000, he spent more time on painting although he is still doing illustrations for various magazines, book covers, short stories and poetry.
“I miss the good old days, walking around the Strand road in the early Winter mornings wearing a jacket. There are plenty of things I miss about how Yangon used to be and what we did back then - walking drunk at night on Fraser road, going through the flea market clothes, the big sewage pond on Cheek road, architecture of the little bridge over Pansodan road, taking shelter under the big awnings of buildings on Pansodan road, sometimes having rum at Thamada Hotel, drinking at the little shop behind the Strand Hotel, drinking BE drenched from the rain at the shops in Pazundaung, 42nd and 55th streets. There are so many more things I miss like the Padonmar tea shop on Bar road and my friends who passed away, Zein Za Man and Yar Pyae” said Ko Ko Naing.
Maybe those are the reasons why Ko Ko Naing always choose Yangon subject for most of his paintings. He has done 3 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 50 groups shows locally and internationally Singapore, Hong Kong and US. He lives in Yangon with his family and works as a full time artist. His collection can be seen at the Nawaday Tharlar Gallery in Yangon.