The soothing works of Fatchurofi and how he achieves introspection through illustration
The Semarang-based illustrator’s style has notably advanced in the last few years. Here, we explore where these developments came from.
- Jyni Ong
- 17 June 2021
You would hardly recognise the works of Fatchurofi from the article we published a couple of years ago. When asked about this creative transformation, the Semarang-based illustrator says: “Oh my it is! I barely recognise. It’s good to know that I’m growing.” Though his work looks distinctly different stylistically, the bulk of Fatchurofi’s practice is pretty much the same. He draws thoughts and jots down recent experiences through colourful illustration. But while he once used his practice as a way to release overwhelming ideas and tensions, now, his work acts as a reminder to document them.
Elsewhere in his practice, Fatchurofi now works digitally, swapping his pen, paper and scanner for a digital desktop. He cites this new style as being influenced by Ukiyo-e – the genre of Japanese art which flourished between the 17th and 19th Centuries. Produced using traditional woodblock prints or painting (most notably seen in Hokusai’s work, for example) the style has seen a resurgence in contemporary illustration of late. Illustrators like Fatchurofi apply similarly flat graphics and textured lines to evoke woodblock printing, and in Fatchurofi’s case, he adapts the style to have his own stamp somewhere in the overlap of the digital and analogue.
“I also got rid of the typography,” the illustrator tells us. “I feel like it’s not necessary anymore, to put words in the artwork since the image is enough to speak.” If he needs to directly communicate by text, he does so through a title or caption. “This way, I think it will give more room for interpretation so people can relate to my work in their own way.” Certain elements reoccur every now again, among them, the sun, water and abstract faces. Fatchurofi’s not quite sure how he arrived at this point. There’s a level of intuition that’s gone into everything, along with certain compositional choices that are repeated over and over again until a style gradually unfolds out of the mix. As Fatchurofi puts it: “In my opinion, style is a product of tendency and choice.”
Themes come and go for the illustrator, but in general, it can be deduced that they arise depending on what’s happening in Fatchurofi’s life at the time. When he’s been sick and taken months to recover, for instance, the illustrator has explored healing. Straight after that, he makes a lot of work around the emotion of gratitude – gratitude that that period was now over while basking in the feeling of abundant health. During the pandemic, Fatchurofi investigated themes of resilience, responding to the fear and uncertainty that took hold of the world. The illustrator has recently begun to look inward, introspectively trying to understand “why and how I am making certain choices in life” as he enters his 30s.
The pandemic proved to be a challenging time for Fatchurofi, as, like so many of us, he had to let go of his plans for the year (both personal and professional) and draw attention to his health instead. That being said, when looking at his illustrated works, you can’t help but feel overwhelming soothed by the gentle washes of colour and hypnotic layouts which express uplifting feelings of calm, serenity and happiness. His composed and thoughtful imagery depicts blossoming lotus flowers, running waterfalls, hazy skies and blissful people in nature. It’s a representation of how Fatchurofi “drew himself through” the pandemic, easing himself out of the paralysing fear of the virus and into the creative zone of illustration.
He talks us through some of his recent works, each one as tranquil as the next. In them, he reflects on fundamental human emotions and stories, channelling profound feelings through poignant illustrations. In Kindness of Others, he captures the realisation that “kindness for others plays a huge role in daily life especially when I’m helpless in bed for weeks.” In Constellation, Fatchurofi alternatively explores friendships and how they change over the years. “As I grow older and older, the circle of friends becomes smaller and I understand that not everyone will genuinely resonate with me and that is a good thing. It’s natural, we cannot force friendship.” And finally, in Required Perspective, Fatchurofi ponders how he grappled with the pandemic. “It is frightening and terrifying at times, but at the same time, we also find out that life and health itself is a fortune. Family matters the most, we’re not our job, and nature heals itself when humans pause. And that is important to see.”
GalleryFatchurofi (Copyright © Fatchurofi, 2021)
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Fatchurofi: Mindbody (Copyright © Fatchurofi, 2021)
About the Author
Jyni joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in August 2018 after graduating from The Glasgow School of Art’s Communication Design degree. In March 2019 she became a staff writer and in June 2021, she was made associate editor.