Today’s artist is a painter and illustrator based in Jakarta, Indonesia. Devin Sutanujaya’s full portfolio can be found here. Meanwhile we had the chance to talk with him a bit about his art and what inspires him as a painter.
How did you choose this specific art?
I come from a commercial design background and was initially took a study in visual design. Along the way, though, I had this urge to create something that represent what I felt and wanted to tell my own story instead of others’. I started doing my own research on art history and various artists from different era, and I realized that I had a profound fascination of the beauty of the human form and how each artists had their own interpretation of the subject. At the time I was so mesmerized and considered it as something magical – to be able to capture them visually and to represent something beyond their physical appearance. Over the years, I spent a lot of time and effort to experiment with different styles and mediums, and tried not to limit myself to one.
When it comes to visualizing my ideas into paintings, I’m always fond of the dream-like quality and atmospheric look, and I found that using acrylic combined with the dry brush technique works really well to achieve those effects in my artworks.
I always have this life-long fascination with the concept of what it means to be human – our struggles, and our capacity to experience wide range of emotions. I try to be observant in life and often times I come across something that words fail to describe, the invisible thread that tie us together and may be deemed insignificant by most people such as the fleeting feelings and many transient nature of life that makes us who we are. It is my aim to be able to capture those concepts and translate them into my works in hope that I can bring it to the open so I can share it with the viewers.
When it comes to inspiration, I have a belief that that they usually will reveal themselves when the time is right. I’m always open and keep my eyes peeled over everything that happens around me and be attentive to what I feel. I am easily fascinated by little things that I come across with – books and articles that I happen to read at the time, interesting podcasts and music, or something as simple as a conversation with friends can inspire me. I love to daydream and ponder over the little things that happen in my life and learn not to take it for granted. More often than not they reward me with ideas or concepts that I can turn into my artworks.
Who do you admire in your field?
Gustav Klimt, Alphonse Mucha, and Renoir definitely have a major influence in my work, I adore the way they capture and interpret the human form so masterfully and delicately.
Tell us a bit about your latest project.
For quite some times, I’ve been wanting to create a series of drawing in which I can focus on the line quality of my works that I don’t normally show in my paintings. The overall theme is inspired by a line from a poem by Rainer Maria Rilke in his book ‘The Book of Hours’: “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Through my delicate and highly detailed drawings, I’m attempting to capture the shared experience that we all go through in our lifetime – the agony and ecstasy of being alive.
My painting: ‘Please Let Me Keep This One’ is quite a memorable one to work on because of the personal story behind it. The inspiration for it was my grandmother – at the time, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease which caused her memory slowly deteriorating to the point that she lost the ability to remember people, including myself. This was something that shook me to the core and made me question myself about the nature of memory in our life.
I wanted to create a painting that would be a remembrance of her. I wanted to capture the unspeakable feeling of losing one’s memory and identity. The whole situation was such a wake-up call for me of how easy it was for someone to lose one’s concept of life as we knew it in a blink of an eye.
The painting is depicting a character surrounded by a swarm of butterflies as he is holding a jar with one butterfly captured in it. The butterflies in the painting serve as a metaphor for memories that come and go in our life. The captured butterfly is a symbol of wishful thinking and our struggle to hold tight to the concept of the “self” even as everything around us seem to fall apart and fade away.
I’ll be working on adding more artworks to my already-growing body of work, I’m hoping that in the near future I can have the chance to have a show where I can share my artworks with many people. My wish is to keep making art and never stop despite of the challenges and road blocks that may come in my life; to never lose the longing to create something beautiful and keep improving myself as an artist.
If you’re an artist, if you like to paint, photograph, write, saw, sculpt or embrace any other crafts as a hobby, don’t hesitate to drop us a line and tell us all about it. We might consider featuring your work on our blog.