Drawing activities, of course, are always favored by many people, especially when we were little. However, who would have thought that this activity could generate material coffers if taken seriously? Maybe if we take a poll about this in childhood, the percentage will be very low when compared to other ideals. There’s nothing wrong with the dreams of small children, after all we can’t force our will on them (as well as in our childhood). Everyone will find their own way to get to their own dreams and goals, although sometimes struggles often occur in the middle of the road.
One of the many small children in the past who still holds true to their dreams is Luthfi Hadi, or who is familiarly called Keos. Since he was a child, he really wanted to become a “drawer”, he told us in detail and clearly when he met us some time ago.
This man who was born in Bandung, December 29, 1987, works as a freelance illustrator for many names, be it bands, clothing brands, to big companies. Having studied Strata 1 DKV at the Computer University (UNIKOM), he now does not want to be complacent with what has been achieved. The path he chose now is even more steep and uphill than the previous one. Want to know what the story is like? Check out our chat below.
A: Hello Os, how are you? Can you give me an idea, how did you start in the world of illustration?
K: Wow, that’s really long. So when I was in kindergarten, I was stupid haha. Can’t count, write haphazardly, read also stutters. Well, the one who got a positive response was in the drawing session. So starting from there, I imagine that when I grow up I have to be a person who can make a living from drawing. Then, the bigger and older he gets, the more he realizes his passion for tea in the world of illustration. But I never expected to be an artist, painter, designer, or someone who is really involved in fine arts. The point is, I can live from drawing. Thankfully, the dream from childhood that wanted to live from the world and joy could be achieved. But doubts also came at the beginning of trying to make a living from drawing, confused to be more precise. How to sell these services, how to set prices to clients, everyone must have felt this. Why the desire to continue to draw is getting bigger, because when I was in high school, I often saw newspapers that featured illustrations for short stories or comics. From there, I immediately thought “wow, it’s not wrong to choose this path”. Then for the first client, it was my neighbor, around 2nd grade high school. So my neighbor asked to draw a picture of her boyfriend’s face, when he tried it, he liked it. Yes, because of my factor the picture is good, the style is good haha, the client is happy. But the problem was a bit at that time, I was confused about the price of the image service earlier. Yes, in the end, because I was confused, in the end, I only asked for 10 thousand haha. But at that time, the 10,000 had a great value, didn’t it. From there, those who had graduated from school wanted to take a college majoring in sports, hesitated again. Should I take that major or take Fine Arts? It’s possible for both of them to become teachers, but since there’s a hobby in basketball as well, maybe they can still be real athletes haha. The turning point was when my drawing services were able to make money, so I majored in graphic design at Unikom, and I started getting a lot of connections.
A: For style when you first started getting serious in this field, what was that?
K: More to realism. Draw a human shape or form. This is all from kindergarten. At that time, many of my friends preferred to draw landscapes, so I chose pictures of people. Then at that time, the image of a black person playing a skateboard immediately appeared, something the other children didn’t think about. It’s because the crayons that I have are limited in color hehe. Then, the current style is self-taught. My parents are also not artists, there is no extended family either. In the world of football, I might be like Christian Ronaldo hehe. The training and hard work that made him what he is today. Not because of talent.
A: If you have a role model and inspiration, do you have one? K: There must be one. Number one that I like the most is Salvador Dalí. For me personally, his work depicts the dream world into a visual that fits and can be enjoyed by others. For number two and locally, I really admire the late Mr. Paulus Sapomo, or who is familiarly known as Kanji Art. For me personally, he is great at combining his drawing style with his signature quotes. The lines made by him are also very characterful.
A: What if you focus more on style now?
K: Well, now I’m confused. Like losing identity, not having a fixed style. Because of the factor when I was in college, it was all the same for me hehe. Realist, Nirmana, Abstract, Pop Art, Surrealist, Psychedelic, all have been covered. In the end, I was confused about the style myself. But now again trying to return to find the true identity. Starting from the Rusty style or the Raw. But for the shape of the object, keep it like the original but don’t cheat what is there. All thought out. I also don’t apply this Rusty style to all clients, because there are some clients that I want to follow. But if I can’t follow their wishes, then I will direct them to wear Rusty’s style, or throw it to a friend who can do something else.
A: What do your drawings always visualize?
K: Pictures of everyday life or events that I experience. For example, the last image uploaded on Instagram. It’s about longing, the idea came when listening to Rhoma Irama’s song haha. So that’s a macho but melancholic Cowboy picture. Or I usually bring up visuals that are closely related to Sundanese culture. Then why do my drawings usually have quotes, because they were inspired by the late Supomo.
A: What do you think about Salvador Dali?
K: So because the father is an artist (who doesn’t just draw), he is very, very inspiring. She once served as a fashion designer for an association that held fashion exhibitions, and she has also been a model. Like Andy Warhol this Salvador, the difference is only in the era. Very artist, live from work. What I like is that he can apply in the real world too. Well, for example, later I think about making an exhibition, I want to be like him. There are exhibitions of visual arts combined with performing arts, be it music or theater.
A: What projects are you currently working on?
K: Most Apparels for now. For myself, now we are in the process of building a concept to make a Podcast (I just want to enter this world). And again the process of finding the right style for yourself, wanting to always make a work that is better than the previous work. Personally, I still don’t feel like I have a “very” style. Same thing, micro stock haha. So prepare pictures for platforms like that, looking for money nowadays has to be fast, not just cash. Because online can also get income if we are serious.
A: Where do you think the application of an illustration is good?
K: It’s in Art Print. Because this shape is really one thing that has a common thread from the world of illustration. In other forms, it feels less exclusive. In Art Print itself, there is an artistic process in it. Feel more appreciated if a work is made in such a form. More exclusive.
A: What makes other artists different from you, in the same style?
K: What is it? Maybe more to the process of finding ideas and making. The results are definitely the same as other artists. Because there are some people who rely heavily on tools, that’s what they prioritize. For me, I’m more free, not too dependent on tools, even though they are limited. From those things, we can better express what we have. Until now, he is still very happy with the traditional technique, which is more expressive. When it comes to digital, it’s like being spoiled, but actually there are things that are lacking. Like pressing a pen or pencil when drawing, drawing straight lines also differs greatly in results. In traditional media, the challenges are even crazier, and don’t erode my style. In digital, if something goes wrong, just delete it or undo it, haha, in the traditional way, if something goes wrong, it’s fixed or made a new one.
A: What activities can generate ideas for drawing?
K: Motorized and daydreaming haha. Because if we are motorized we can see many forms of life that are different from each other. Daydreaming is also a very fun process, the visuals that come to mind are sometimes very unique. So if there is work from a client, always ask for a long time.
A: Mood in drawing is important or not?
K: If you’re already in the industry, don’t always depend on your mood. Because we have entered the realm of professionals. But I myself also still depend on the mood, which is sometimes not satisfied with the results obtained. This is again trying to balance and understand.
A: In this pandemic era, many people complain about the situation, how about you yourself?
K: It’s useless if you want to complain all the time, it’s a waste of time. It’s better to be diverted to find a solution so that you can continue to live. For example, my income has decreased due to current conditions, yes I am willing to leave this world, what is important for now is my family. But thankfully, my wife is very supportive and always thinks that I have a good future from the world of drawing. As mentioned above, in the end something limited people will definitely be more creative. Don’t give up on the situation, try to channel it into something positive. Complaining won’t solve the problem, try your best to find the best solutions.
A: What do you think is the point of success?
K: Get recognition from people.
A: When it comes to music illustration, which side do you respond to the image from which side?
K: Usually I ask for sample songs, usually 3 to 4 I ask for. The point is to know what kind of visuals match their musical character. Almost the same as most illustrators haha.
A: Do you have something to say for the people who will read this chat later? K: Don’t complain too much, you’re tired if that’s the case, just keep working. Many people now complain that they want a big salary but the work is not heavy. That’s not how it goes haha.
Interview by Adjust Purwatama
September 22th, 2021