Thinkspace Projects is pleased to present ‘ReImagined Heroes,’ a body of work that provides a small taste of what we can expect from RYOL’s upcoming July 2022 debut U.S. solo exhibition
At a glance, RYOL’s paintings are charmingly whimsical; pop surrealist artworks skillfully done in an illustrative style reminiscent of the world of anime. The visual veneer of his artworks camouflages the fact the artist broaches subjects that are in contrast quite contemporary.
Upon closer examination, the subjects this young artist’s works address are far from frivolous. Among them, critiques of traditional patriarchic society, social behavior that is quick to judge others, as well as the fluidity of modern-day gender and gender roles, to name a few.
To celebrate ‘ReImagined Heroes‘ and Thinkspace Projects final exhibitions of 2021, our interview with RYOL explores his experimentation with different mediums and his insight into the soul of an artist.
What was the inspiration behind this latest body of work? What themes were you exploring?
The inspiration came from the habits of scribbling on the photos of figures in history books.
Theme: focus on ready-made works initiated by Marcel Duchamp whose a label of a contemporary pop artist. The preference of the theme refers to the inspiration for creation that comes from the inspiration I mentioned above.
What was the most challenging piece in this exhibition? How did it help you grow as an artist?
Challenge: I bring the pop artworks to the center of pop culture itself, where the pop culture grows. It’s very challenging because I’m growing up within this pop culture.
As an Eastern person who grew up in the middle of Eastern culture, I’m experiencing today’s global culture. The basic principles of life embedded in local culture have become a culture that I must involve into my area of art.
Well, this is the characteristic of the artwork I brought to the global realm.
In essence, products of pop culture are generated by Western. Regarding this, I have the opinion that pop culture in Indonesia is consumerism. This is the reason why there are some of my works which were made in the form of appropriations.
Could you share what your day-to-day looks like when working on a new body of work?
Starting with the idea that I wanna make, then figuring out the concept. The next step is visualizing. I make the visuals based on the idea and concept. Then I put those visuals on the papers. When it’s in line with what I thought, I just process it on the canvas.
What’s in your “artistic toolbox”? Are you particular about brands you use?
My works are divided into several mediums and media. My explorations are independent of the nature of the mediums. For example: once, I explored oil pastels or crayons on paper. After I finished drawing on paper, I glazed it with Watch Paints which were mixed with quite a lot of water.
When the works were perfectly dry, the results were beyond my expectation. I also did the explorations on my canvas works. For example: I used raw canvas for oil pastel (medium). The results were different from the paper ones that had smooth surfaces.
There were also some canvas explorations that used transparent methods. Transparent method here is a particular method I applied by laying the acrylic paints with sufficient moisture content layer by layer. This accumulation then formed an object. I also used visual techniques, such as stencils, splashing paints, and many more.
How do you like to unwind outside of the studio?
I commonly go home, take a shower, then watch videos of interviews (about artists). Everything relates to YouTube. When I’m bored with those activities, I prefer hunting sneakers.
Do you have a process for sourcing and/or keeping track of your inspiration?
I always look for inspiration. When I am presented with a new canvas or a paper for an upcoming event, I keep searching for inspiration.
Most artists express themselves creatively as a child, but there is a moment when a shift occurs from just being creatively inclined to being more artistically minded – do you know when that moment was for you?
When I’m bored, I don’t think I’m creative. I always find that it’s hard to think of something creative. Moving from this boredom, I’m required not to be in boredom and have to create something fresh at least for myself. One thing I need to say: creating something fresh doesn’t always generate something new.
Where have you traveled to either work on a mural or showcase your work in a gallery space?
When I visited Art Stage, Singapore. It was the first time I saw the works created by the great artists like Yoshitomo Nara and others who really inspired me to always create the works.
Do you have a favorite destination/wall and why?
This question is the same as the friends’ question: if you were given an opportunity to exhibit your works in the big gallery, which would you choose? I answered: I will display my works in the gallery that invited me today, right now. It means big galleries are definitely the good and favorite ones for me.
I thought I should create a good work for every exhibition that will be held today.
Thinkspace and other big galleries are the galleries I frequently see in Juxtapoz Magazine. From this, I just thought one day I would definitely be there.
What words of wisdom would you share with your past self when you were just starting to show your work/ create murals?
The language of art is the art itself. I have always thought that art is borderless, meaning that art doesn’t need language in it.
Is there anything in your artistic journey that you wish you may have done differently?
I think the artist is a soul who has to see things; and fine art is the instrument I used to express my soul. I’m also interested in exporting the elements outside of fine art. I personally get more interesting ideas when I implement them outside of fine art. Once, I thought about making interior designs with my taste and artistic soul. I even designed my own house with my artistic soul. Many things I should be able to do everyday related to ideas outside of the fine arts.
What did you find to be the biggest challenge of 2020 for you?
My biggest challenge in 2020 was there were a lot of big moments in my career, but I fought my fear of exploration. And yes, this year there are opportunities and new possibilities keep coming. This is against the thoughts that I had believed before.
What is your proudest accomplishment of 2021? Life thus far? (can be art-related or not)
I’m able to explore the simplest things in my head and turn them into the amazing works displayed in several countries.
What big projects do you have coming up in 2022?
The upcoming shows are 3 big solo shows collaborated with several big galleries. The next upcoming project is the labeling RYOL Studio as a company that focuses on producing & branding the side products for the secondary markets. These side products are taken from my own original works.
I will also release some ideas beyond my fine art into an area of design. I named it ORIGINALCOPY as the brand. This is a continuing pure idea of mine, and I will always apply it to products of designs.