Thinkpace is pleased to have presented RYOL‘s exhibition “Ready Known.”
The new body of work reflects his dissatisfaction with reality in comparison to the world he has imagined as a kid watching childhood cartoons. His pop-surrealist artworks are skilfully done, illustrating issues in a patriarchal society, social behaviors, and the fluidity of modern-day gender and gender roles.
Our interview with Ryol discusses the takeaways and curiosities he had after meeting Robert Williams, Kenny Scharf, and Shepard Fairy, along with his fascination with the role pop culture plays in society.
For those unfamiliar with your work, can you share a little about your background and what inspired your artistic pursuits?
I explore a variety of artistic mediums by imitating popular figures from the 1990s and 2000s.
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes were you exploring?
My latest works are inspired by my observations of visual arts that I come across on social media or the internet. I see a generation of artists who use social media as a means of expression or simply to display their work, but I also see a slight preference for the visual forms they create. This, in my opinion, is a type of information that is quickly transmitted from one artist to another. The acceleration of information will, to some extent, affect the artistic tendencies of artists. Unlike in the past, when there were no social media, information may be obtained more slowly.
Visual resemblance may become commonplace in today’s world, and it may even become a concept in work. In this exhibition, I incorporate that background into the exhibition’s theme. The title of this exhibition, READY KNOWN, refers to popular forms or momentum that I bring intimately and essentially.
What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you grow as an artist?
I live in a third-world country. Since I was a child, I have been exposed to Western pop culture, including music, cartoons, fashion, movies, and even food. I also learned a lot about American pop art history. I am going to have an exhibition in Los Angeles, and it makes me difficult to sleep because I am going to hold an exhibition where the pop culture that I frequently enjoy is born. And in this exhibition, I present myself as a consumer of pop culture.
What are elements of Indonesian pop culture that are uniquely Indonesian? Or what is an element of Indonesian culture that has the most global pop culture potential?
Pop culture is a popular culture in a society. I believe that Indonesia, a developing country with aspirations to become a developed country, is culturally similar to other developing countries. And I have my own opinions on popular culture. People in Indonesia are very friendly, helpful, and polite, even though queueing and littering can be a problem at times. Many large rivers are clogged with trash.
We also have traffic jams everywhere. Aside from that, I believe Indonesia is known for its diverse culture and strong traditional culture. As an artist, I am fully confident and ambitious that local Indonesian culture can be enjoyed globally, starting with batik, wayang, and local tropical culture that can be enjoyed as a popular product.
How important is experimentation in your creative process?
My creative process undergoes constant change over a predetermined time period. When I am working, my natural filter is my own boredom with what I have created.
When you were in LA, you were able to meet with a few notable artists who have been influential within the new contemporary space. Can you share what those various experiences were like?
When I met Robert William, I was more triggered when he explained his work process. I also had a brief conversation with Kenny Scharf. He added a new reference to my comprehension. With Shepard Fairey, I am curious about how he manages his studio and how he recycles production waste, such as collecting some production waste that he believes can be reused. They mostly have an impact on their respective portions.
If you could collaborate with any artist within any medium (movie, music, writing, etc.) who would you work with, and what would you develop?
First, I want to be able to collaborate on street art projects in every country. Then I would like to work with fashion designers to incorporate their products into my work. Virgil Abloh is one of the fashion designers with whom I would like to collaborate.
How would you describe the evolution of your artistic expression and work over the last three years? What were you exploring and the challenges along the way that informed the evolution?
I am very interested in popular culture. In the last three years, my creative process has been focused on how to process narratives in my visuals by experimenting with existing mediums such as acrylic, oil, and others.
I went through this process for nearly two years. In a certain point, I began to doubt my ability to explore as long as I was working. Finally, I started to consider the essence of the media, medium, and visuals that I chose and used. As in this exhibition, I believe my works are more significant in terms of medium and visual impact. The challenge that I face in the course of my work is delivering ideas in an essential manner.
If you could have any skill or topic downloaded into your brain, what would you want to be able to do/be an expert at?
I want to be an expert on what I am doing right now.
Thank you to those who submitted questions for this interview via Instagram