29-year-old Jakarta-based designer, graphic artist and graff writer Darbotz is a monster in disguise. If you’ve been to Jakarta recently, you might have noticed his mighty Cumi (“Squid” in Indonesian) sprawling over the walls of the capital city. In 2008, he was invited to design his own pattern print Nike Windrunner 400% Be@rbrick ferrite with with black ink to commemorate the Nike Windrunner series. JUICE recently got close to the abnormally gifted artist. Crash helmets weren’t an option…
How did you start off in art?
Since I was little, I always loved to draw and my major was Visual & Communication Design. So it’s pretty much in my blood.
Where do you get your inspiration?
The city of Jakarta pretty much gives me inspiration – the hecticness, chaos and pollution.
Have you ever been stuck when it comes to creativity?
Sometimes I get creative block. That’s the time when I see and experience other things apart from design. It gives me knowledge and triggers me to be more creative.
Do you go through a particular process when creating projects?
It depends… Sometimes it’s through brainstorming, but it can be spontaneous or even planned.
What kind of products are you working on at moment?
Tees and toys. I’ve got some upcoming exhibitions as well.
How do you present your style and message in your artwork?
My style is raw, like my hometown Jakarta. Everything is rough here. I don’t really have a particular message, but it pretty much talks about Jakarta.
Are you aware of the Malaysian design scene? What do you think of it?
Yes, I have some friends over there. I think it’s the same as in Jakarta, but cleaner and simpler. Jakarta is more diverse.
What do you think of Asian design?
Asia has its own style, which is good. It’s like how the Americans and Europeans have their own styles.
Who is your favourite Asian designer?
I don’t have any particular person in mind, but I love Japanese design. It’s weird and simple at the same time!
True. We’d love to see Cumi do battle with Ultraman one day too!
Text Pok + Ben Liew Images Darbotz