TUTU on Indonesia, Post-Graffiti and ever-evolving styles.
With a love of the Jakarta urban landscape, his vibe today is more geometric, more organic, more 'post-graffiti' and after 20 years of painting the city, he's embracing evolution.
When I first met TUTU in 2009, he'd just finished a whole range of trainer customisation. Mixing and mashing up different brands and then giving them a paint job and then some. Trainer customisation was a big thing during the 2000s, but TUTU took it that step further, evolving it from just hand-painting a pair of trainers to making whole new set of limited editions.
They also contributed to our 2010 Laurence King book GRAFFITI ASIA which paved the way for us to set up a studio and get working in and around South-East Asia for a decade.
TUTU has remained a close friend for years. His recent work has evolved into something more impressionistic and even surrealism. He has always used a lot of colours in his street work and in a way that commitment to colour has pushed his work forward.
What made you change or even evolve your style recently?
Well, my style has not entirely changed. It has just evolved. I keep finding new elements when building compositions and layouts. It's basically a development from my graff style and technique. All of it influenced by narration that i've adopted. (So) I paint lot of figurative imagery based on my current anxiety about social life.
I want to put something more precious into my art. Not only visual candy. I'm only now just learning and understanding arts in depth. From learning art history, trying to interpret old paintings and at the same time developing my art and putting more value into it.
I've found that narration is the most important thing. I have learnt techniques and discipline from graffiti and the street, but i think this is the time that I must put something more personal and give more weight into my art. So I try to mix disciplines and not get stuck into a title or even a specific technique.
Many artists get stuck because they feel as if they are betraying their roots. For me art is broad and very accessible. I feel that art is supposed to be evolving and artists are supposed to be more mature and that can be felt from how they develop and present themselves to the public.
On a personal level, knowing him now for over a decade now, he is not scared to change and evolve. He experiments with forms, ideas and colours and is bold with his concepts. This experimentation has allowed him to move forward taking him into new realms whilst managing to inspire generation after generation of artist whilst all the time keeping his work relevant.
You recent work and imagery. Are these scenes from memory? Ideas you have - or are they all just made up?
I like to portray social life around me. I really love to put satire or criticisms into my work. It is a way for me to laugh at people, issues, ideas. Some of my work is from memory which I still relate to societal issues.
I lived in the 80-90's era and everything suddenly changed since the millennium. Culture, tech, social interaction, has all mutated. So now my idea's come from my observations of everyday life. How everybody can be a digital celebrity with multiple personalities. It's tragic but funny at the same time as people have become more surreal than art itself.
What is your process now?
I love to write concepts and narrations based on what I see. I try to reflect on it and built it into any media. It's really upside down compared to what I did on the street and it's important for me to expose some of our unique local issues.
These kind of things open my mind into many new possibilities in to the way I express my art.
What was the moment that you decided to commit to being an artist?
Hahaha.. I used to work for a creative agency and I was a part time artist. But then i felt that it didn't match. Time goes by and I really must chop my brain and time to feed these two monsters.
So I decided to spend my time and energy into those thing's that really come from the heart. Now as an owner of my own projects, I have more control to grow and manage all the processes involved and i'm happier for it.
With a new series of prints by The Glitch Network TUTU doesn't stop working. Go check his IG (and ours!) and if you're interested in a copy of GRAFFITI ASIA, head to our STICKERBOMBWORLD shop for more info.