Illustration, its existence from the past until now is very closely related to various aspects of human life. Whatever it is, it will definitely use an illustration to advance its interests. Especially if the illustrations that are displayed are very pleasing to the eye. Indonesia itself is known as a maker of reliable illustrators, they also stand on equal footing with each other from any part of the world. They also mastered various techniques, pointillism, hatching, cross hatching, spray almost all of them mastered it. The collective also overflows with a variety of activities.
One style that is widely used in making an illustration is pointillism. The roots of the presence of this drawing style can be seen from the era of the development of impressionism painting towards the end of the 19th century in Europe. Where Georges Seurat is present with an illustration entitled A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte in 1884. This painting depicts a garden filled with people relaxing in the shade of trees. There are various sizes of dots that are often used to form a pictorial element. Until now, pointillism illustrations often used black dots on white surfaces. One artist who embraces this style is Martin Valard.
He is widely known as an artist and musician. His expertise in the realm of illustration is obtained from his self-taught talent. The characteristics of the illustrations are quite easy to identify, colorful, done in a pointillic style, and full of social messages. His works can be found on various album covers, souvenirs and posters.
Curious how about his actions? Check out our chat below:
A: What are you busy with right now?
M: As for commission, it’s still quiet, bro. Right now, I still focusing on working for my self first, and working on NFT.
A: In the beginning, what was it like?
M: From middle school, I started to know this world. At that time, my brother was taught Photoshop, but I didn’t know what it was like. Then I used to have a band in Siantar, I joined the Melodic Punk community like that. From there I often made posters for these community events, but it was still just a copy-cut and copy-paste technique and install fonts. It turns out that there is a lecture about this design, yes, DKV is haha. Immediately think about taking that course. After college, you know what it’s like, you often see other cool illustrators. But at the beginning, I didn’t know where it was going. Gradually I became aware of it because I used to hang out a lot in college. Anyway, know it professionally in college. From the “Basic Drawing” course, I often draw in a traditional way, and I started to understand the software, which turned out to be a lot.
A: How about for music?
M: Yes, it was the same when I was in middle school when I was in Siantar. From Punk communities, there are brothers and sisters, then we also create a community that is still fresh. The references are taken from Bandung, look at Closehead, Sandal Jepit, and others. We are already professionals, starting to make our own songs, recording, performing at gigs. At that time, the name of my band was Sweet Heart Honey. The band’s name was Melodic Punk and they changed it to Easycore. Because again, there are many references from Bandung. At that time, Billfold was still buzzing. The cool thing is, we’ve been in Hai Magz magazine haha.
A: Who do you look up to in the illustration?
M: In the beginning, I didn’t understand it at all. So keep trying lots of drawing styles. After knowing and experiencing many styles, uh I’m comfortable at Pointilis. If you say who the figures I like, there are Ken Terror, Dante, and Kendra. Why are you happy at Pointilis, because it’s different in my opinion. There are challenges and satisfactions in doing works using that style. I’ll continue to match them with colors, because Pointilis’s works are rarely colored. I’m just experimenting with color and pointillism, so my drawing doesn’t seem dark. I’ve been using these mixes since 2018.
A: What is the special reason for working in the Pointilist style?
M: Because it trains patience, bro. It took a long time to work on it and it was impossible to predict where it would lead, even though there was already a sketch. If it’s just an outline drawing and then colored it looks like there’s no struggle in my opinion hehe. If you’re at Pointilis, you’ll be very happy when it’s done. Then the density of the points that we make can create an effect that we don’t imagine. It’s cool anyway.
A: Your process is the longest while drawing, how long does it take?
M: At most one month. Because the pictures are 5 characters of people in different positions, with different backgrounds. The problem is separate on A3 and A4. I don’t want to color it yet.
A: What premise do you want to convey from each of your drawings that feature riots?
M: Actually, it doesn’t mean anything, bro. I’m just happy to draw with objects and atmosphere like that. Then lately I’m happy to draw buildings as the background of my pictures. Because I rarely see anyone doing it, why don’t I just brush it off.
A: If you look at the figure of Ken Terror, what is it like in music or as illustrator?
M: He is very good and knows how to use it to draw on the skull. But if he draws other objects, he can still use his existing style. So people still know that it’s his work. If it’s in music, because he’s been in the scene for a long time and has several bands. So I see that he has a very wide range of musical references, because he doesn’t only play Hardcore/Punk music.
A: What do you think is the correlation between music and visuals?
M: Can’t be separated. Because all the works of the two things need each other. For example, if we want to make an album, we definitely need visuals for the cover. Then the work of these two things can be done by one person. There’s often an illustrator but he’s in a band, and vice versa.
A: How did you start working with Ochan?
M: Because we’re friends right in the village. Then we met again in Bandung when I was in college. He’s in the band with Stand Here Alone, in 2018 he started making his solo project. Then he need a cover design, so that’s where it starts. Because we are also connected during the production process of the cover. Finally, it continues until now. The best thing is that we’ve known each other for a long time, so it’s not stiff and he knows what my job is like. But still professional.
A: Well, about the principle of friendship. How to determine the “friend price”?
M: That’s a lot of “being Asshole” like that. It’s okay if there is no fee to pay. But say it from the very start, don’t lie. Later, I will spare time which is a priority between those who are paid and those who are not. Because it happened once, there was a friend who ordered and said it would be paid. What happened was that he didn’t pay, and the artwork was taken. The point is to be honest, it’s called friends. Yes, if you have a friend, you have to talk about it.
A: You often do album covers. How do you interpret audio work into visuals?
M: I have two ways bro. It depends on me or the client. At Ochan he usually gives an idea, then I develop it. It could be from the title of the album, or it could be far from the album, it’s okay. The “Sentimental” EP has nothing to do with the visuals and the overall content of the songs. Because Ochan wants to be like Angels and Airwaves. Or from me the idea, but I have to ulik from the lyrics or the song. Find the common thread of the album.
A: What sets you apart from other pointillists?
M: For me personally, in that color. Because as far as I know Pointilis is only mono color, identical to dark, horror, punk. I made my own path by combining colors. That’s what makes the difference haha.
A: How to find drawing ideas?
M: I will browsing for it. For example, if there is a brief or it is currently being made, I’ve been looking for the right reference for the band. I’m also looking for the red thread, which matches what the object and background look like. Because it’s important to browse for references this time.
A: How about Maio in the beginning?
M: So this Maio has been around for a long time. I just came in recently. Yes, because my friends from the same campus are also connected when we talk about music. Kikim Ajis, and Abuy at first. Yesterday’s format was not the same as now, so I asked to enter. During the initial practice, I felt a bit messy because the position was not right. So the formation was corrected, then it was delicious. The drummer is also not our friend in the community, he is different himself. Because his friend is Kikim and he’s good at it, we invited him. The first stage was at Banjaran.
A: Just released an album, and I found the bundle interesting and quite the opposite of your music color. Why is that?
M: Because from the very beginning, I wanted to make it like that, bro. The visuals and the music are not connected at all. On the album cover, is there a curmudgeonly figure wearing a Slank shirt? Because Kikim likes Slank, and we want to visualize this, the Indonesian version of Maio. Visually, we are 80’s Heavy Metal. It’s all on purpose. For the debut album, yes, we want it to be unusual. Because usually Hardcore / Punk bands must be white again, that’s why we made red and blue. For popcorn, because at that time Husted Youth (label) held a hearing session while barbequing. When we were about to release it, we actually already had another bundle pack concept, but the capital is swollen haha. So I chose 3D glasses or a popcorn holder, because again haha, there was our promo video at that time. Connect it, while watching a promo video wearing 3D glasses while eating popcorn.
A: What do you mean by Maio’s music?
M: I really feel that our music is still Punk Rock, right? Maybe because there are beats, beats, and slightly distorted riffs, people start speculating wildly. But that’s okay.
A: What is your big goal as an illustrator?
M: Ideally, I want to grow up as an illustrator, describe the world’s big bands. Yes, it’s okay to be local. But the more I come here, the more I think, why isn’t my name going up, orders only come from friends. That’s why now try to be marginalized first idealistically, try working in a corporate while looking for friends. Who knows, there will be a good and big network in the future.
A: It’s important not to be idealistic, some of the problems are like that.
M: I don’t think so. Because the world of illustration is very broad, it can be in books, it can be pictures in magazines or newspapers. At that time, I had an internship at Provoke Magz, from there I knew that the world was wide, and it wasn’t just music. Idealism is necessary, but don’t let it undermine yourself. Idealistic then not eating haha.
A: Where is your professional point as an illustrator?
M: From having clients, and getting to know invoices haha. Because 1 image can be counted per hour during the production period, or the agreement, for example, is only a usufructuary right. For my rate card, it usually depends on how long it takes for the artwork to be ordered. For example, it’s too complicated, I don’t give it expensive. It’s relatively cheap, yes. The biggest I’ve ever got is 5 million orders hehe. For files I give depending on the terms and conditions in the agreement, in the past I gave all the files haha. Now it’s different.
A: What are your tactics in finding materials in the midst of this pandemic?
M: Yes, it’s really hard to find clients. I’m still trying to sell on NFT. But I also think hockey is selling there. It depends on our figure on the platform and in the real world too. It’s quite a relief that there are these NFT platforms. Yes, hopefully it can continue to be fun.
Interview by Adjust Purwatama
October 13th, 2021