"How did i begin in art? In the beginning I didn't have any interest at all. I didn't even have a dream. I didn't consider it. I loved drawing. I loved to paint, I never thought of that as a real job or that it was important. I was eleven when I started. It was just something fun to do. That's how I thought of it. I based my ideas from movies, video games, cartoons and comics. I just kept drawing. Then, in my early twenties, I realized maybe art could be more important than just playing, more than a hobby, more significant.
I came to New York City when I was 21. I sold my first painting when i was 25. One day I passed Union Square, I think it was a Sunday, and saw a lot of artists with their tables set up. It looked like a fun place to be. I didn't consider myself an artist at the time, just a guy who loved drawing and painting. But I thought, 'I could do this too. Why don't I do this?' So I did it. I set up a table and on my first day sold two small paintings. On my second day, I sold another two and thought maybe I can do this as a job. I had been a seller at a shoe store. I quit selling shoes.
Where do I get my inspirations? When i was a kid, I liked to daydream. I was bored at school some of the time. All the paintings I make come from those dreams and imaginations I experienced in childhood. At the time I didn't know how to do it though but the inspiration has stayed the same. My skill wasn't as good then as it is now; but I still keep those same memories, I want to relive the dreams of childhood in my paintings.
When I was a kid I liked sleeping on the couch and outside my window I would see the clouds. I would imagine a cloud looking like a dinosaur. I would look at a tree and it would look like something else. I imagined the tree with a different color. I imagined a house on top of the tree, a flying house, stuff like that. I changed the reality a little bit. A lot of my inspiration comes from the real world still. I like to take something that's real, that you know and feel close to, and let my imagination work on it. So it is a product of the imagination but the object is real and down to earth. I'll change the object.
Same with the dreams. The dream is set in the real world: He is catching a fish. You can see it's a fish, you know its a fish but I changed it a little bit. The thing that happened, the dream, the meditation, he's going on a date with the submarine girl. I called it "First date."
And the next one, you can see there's a dinosaur. Everybody can recognize that.
I grew up in Indonesia, East Java on the outskirts of a city, a suburban area. Actually, a lot of my art work is representing a suburban area. not so far from the city, just on the outskirts.
Do I miss Indonesia? Yes, Of course I miss it. I miss the food the most. i can get the food in New York, but it won't be the same taste. Here, it's all synthetic. No matter what it cant taste like the original food in that area of the world. Over there, they have all the materials from nature, here synthetic.
If you want Italian food and for instance, you go to the Olive Garden, it's good, but you can't compare it to the food in the Mediterranean area. Outside of Indonesia I like Italian food. I like Greek food as well. The Mediterranean area is my favorite area.
What describes my world? It's very colorful. I like experimenting with colors. I want to change the way people see the colors on a painting.
I don't care for strict realism painting, that you have to paint according to the real world. I enjoy realism and love the real world but at same time I don't want to be restricted to rules on what I should be painting. This is why I change the color, for instance. The ocean becomes green instead of blue. Fauvism excites me, Its colors are so vibrant and makes bold choices. Its daring. I love that, breaking the traditional rules. My intention is to break traditional rules in my paintings. I use symbolism. People have called my paintings neo-symbolism. Sometimes I don't intend for a meaning, it just happens. That's what it is."