Residing in Semarang, in Indonesia’s Central Java region, illustrator Fatchurofi is a long way from the big cities of the contemporary art world. Working remotely as an art director for a design agency in Jakarta, he also spends much of his time doing freelance illustration. “I’ve been drawing for the past decade, mostly for clothing and album covers,” he says. “After suffering from a panic attack disorder a couple of years ago, however, I began to practice mindfulness and this became a big influence for my work, encouraging me to start drawing purely for myself about my own experiences.”
Consciously distancing himself from the pressures of trends and what’s “cool”, Fatchurofi instead creates as a form of release: “My art is about escaping the tension and demands of day-to-day life and taking time to look at yourself,” he explains. “It’s about putting depth of mind into a simple, flat illustration.” This introspective approach is thematically evident in his work too, which Fatchurofi says revolves around self-mastery and lessons in control.
Equally reflected in his process also, he begins by finding inspiration in Buddhist, Hindu and medieval paintings, studying Javanese wisdom and listening to psychedelic music. After which, he will take some time for self-reflection and focus on his current thoughts: “Then I begin simply by sketching with a pencil and pen, and finding words to accompany each drawing.” These words will later take form in either found and modified typefaces, or self-illustrated ones which resist conforming to the faddish trends of typography. The final stage in the process is the scanning of his illustrations into Photoshop, where he begins to colour.
Fatchurofi’s use of colour is just as considered as the other aspects of his practice. Predominantly working with a palette of primaries, he says he prefers to use bright colours and minimal shadowing to evoke lightness and minimise “dramatic tension” in his illustrations. Coupled with the flat linework, he explains that this compensates for the lack of contrast.
Looking forward however, Fatchurofi tells us that he is open to change: “My style is not fixed, I’m interested in exploring different uses of colour in my future works.”
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