After inauguration fatigue (unfortunately we have lost some fans there but haters gonna hate), Stickerbomb is back with our first artist conversation for 2017 with Indonesian fun and bold duo, indieguerillas. We have been following them on social media (@indieguerillas) for a while now, and if you thought the Indonesians don’t know how to have fun, think again. Bringing the traditional elements of their culture into pop and contemporary is what indieguerillas have done. Defying boundaries is what they set out to do.
Indie “freedom fighters”, Santi Ariestyowanti and Miko Bawono from Yogyakarta, Indonesia have fought their own artistic battle in making that transition from being graphic designers to artists. They have exhibited all across Asia including Art Basel Hong Kong, and are now one of the Indonesian artists to look forward to in 2017. #respect there that we all can learn a thing or two! Read on and who knows you’ll be in inspired to do the same?
S: Hey indieguerillas, how’s it going? That change in career is indeed a “Big Leap” (see what I did there?). You current works are clearly inspired by your backgrounds in graphic design and also elements of street culture eg. street fashion, patches, skateboard etc. Care to share what are your other inspirations (pop culture, particular artist) and why?
i: At first, our main influence is wayang, the Javanese shadow puppet. We drew our characters heavily from there. In the ’80s there was a boom of wayang comics in Indonesia, most kids -in Indo- back then read them a lot, including ourselves. We guess it’s becoming the fundamental part of our works as wayang comics are a mix between traditional and pop culture.
This last 3 years we saw ourselves more and more attracted to Architecture, Fashion and also Poetry, we see a lot of interesting stuff there. Their philosophy (Frank Gehry, the architect; Yohji Yamamoto, the dressmaker), their vision (Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, the architect) the way they challenge themselves (Jeremy Scott and Hussein Chalayan, the fashion designers) to the uber coolness of Rick Owens or Jun Takahashi, they are some of our inspirations, our creative energy source. We are also inspired by music scene. Like when we started new works sometimes we wonder what if Thom Yorke working with Tyler, the Creator just to encourage ourselves to push the boundaries. Art is rich, why limit yourself?
S: Our team visited your exhibition at Mizuma Gallery in Singapore (unfortunately we missed the performance) but we were taken aback by the works! We walked in and went “wait, is this a gallery?” We mean it in a good refreshing way, about how you guys have blurred the lines between ‘urban art’ and the contemporary ‘white cube’ art. Are you guys challenging the boundaries of what art can be?
A: Well yeah. That’s the spirit. Challenging the boundaries but also challenging ourselves, straight outta the comfort zone. For the _hyP3<y<lu5_ exhibition, our general theme is market. Consumption pattern in contemporary market to be precise. Our “happy victim habit”. So we think it’s fun (because “fun” is fundamental) to bring the atmosphere of a store. Fashion store in particular, because right now we also have projects with Lulu Lutfi Labibi, a talented fashion designer from Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It’s just fit the whole thing. (Watch the quirky video below!)
Q: In an interview with JakartaPost in 2015, Santi, you mentioned your creative process resembles that of street art. ” A piece I created in the evening could be changed by Miko. It’s like the takeover process in street art.” That’s really interesting, could you explain more on the reference to street art? Any plans to venture into street art?
i: Up until now we consider our creative process as a battle. A common thing in street art. Back then we used to settle the arguments we had straight on canvas, but as we grow older our battleground now is moving to more verbal one – over a cup of coffee 🙂
Plans for street art? We did wheat-pasting when we were young :D, but yeah we would like to if there’s a chance. why not?
S: A lot of our fans are graphic designers and illustrators trying to make a living with their passion and I think what you guys have done to take your passion a step further and developed your own style will be great inspiration to them. At which point in your career did you decide to switch from ‘client orders’ to being ‘artists’?
i: We did graphic design for artists in Yogyakarta, our hometown, back in early 00’s , we made them catalogues, posters, magazines and also book covers. Being involved with the artists and have chance getting to know them personally made us realize the term “freedom”. We know it sounds utterly romantic, but that’s exactly what we want. Try! 😀
PETRUK JADI SUPERMODEL
S: Lastly, Indonesia contemporary art is definitely on the rise so what’s next for indieguerillas?
i: We have already scheduled for some projects in the near future. But one thing for sure – “to challenge ourselves” is the spirit. We gonna do something new to us, it’s TBA and we would like to share with you guys when the time is come for sure.