In life, there are some obstacles that cut the corner of your dreams. Such obstacle comes in various ways whenever one is in pursuit of achieving their dream. For Gerson Gilrandy, also known as @gersonewone, pursuing his dream means following his artistic instinct; knowing what he wants when he was still in junior high. It started off as random doodles, which then gradually shaped into something abstract yet distinctive in form of mural. The guy already has his own signature touch. The whole different medium of drawing caught his attention the most. When Letter F met Gerson, he was accompanied by two of his talented fellow mural bombers: @basehitter and @melfrigazza, the three of them successfully bombed old buses in Cibubur area.
“My interest got bigger as I entered high school. Unfortunately, I got distracted and sidetracked during my high school years. After I dropped out of high school, I still found the urge to pursue my passion in art; in drawing. I even told my parents that I wanted to focus in design and drawing. As fate may have it, I got a scholarship abroad to continue my studies in design. It was during this crucial time in college that I was lucky enough to know many artists and to learn from them. They were very helpful in giving many insights. I was convinced to better pursue my hobby as a career. Somewhere along the way, I kept drawing and manage to make an art of my own.”
Do you always have this desire towards arts, or just specifically only for mural art?
“Frankly speaking, I love arts since I was a kid. Since I was so into drawing, I was introduced to graffiti and it was so exciting and new for me. I can channel my inner desire of drawing, to explore them in many shapes and colors. And soon I learn that I needed other medium, other than paper or canvas, but walls.”
Since you studied arts abroad, do you find the difference between Indonesian art scene versus international one?
“There are pluses and minuses, come to think again. Let’s say in our country, the people and the culture are so rich, in terms of arts, from every region – we have different and specific art that differs from one region to another. Whereas in Singapore, not only the people—but as well as the government that appreciates the local artists. There are also a lot of private companies that use many form of arts as part of their marketing strategies. In here, to be honest, the opportunity is still little. But I also see that Indonesian arts are getting the recognition it deserves in the first place, that also includes the mural artists. Because we know that mural is identical with vandalism or even sometimes is considered as doing illegal stuff. That kind of mindset is so unfortunate though. But, as time goes by, people can see the more of it and they slowly digest that mural is not vandalism at all; it’s an art of its own.”
How about the mural community?
“It’s different in each country. Here, it’s very diverse. In Jakarta alone, there is one established forum like Tembok Bomber, also Gardu House and Artkoholik. I see them as colleague, but also a teacher, because they’re my seniors. While back in Singapore, there aren’t much of so called communities, and we know each other quite well. Your name and work of arts could be easily recognized as long as you keep drawing. Meanwhile in Indonesia, we have to really fight to get your name to be known. That’s the challenge. You can’t be a lazy ass because it’ll affect your art, like, it’ll be easily replaced.”
What do you think about Darbotz, also dubbed as Indonesian Banksy?
“Man, he is the pioneer of Indonesian mural world, I’d say. He is the most consistent mural artist and he is basically all over the world. He represents Indonesia when it comes to naming the face of mural artist. Although he is busy with other works, but he always has the time to draw and create new arts. He is indeed a living legend.”
Do you ever think to create this mysterious aura, just like what Banksy consistently does?
“Hmm I don’t think I want to follow Banksy’s way though because every artist has their own methods; Banksy has his way, Darbotz has it too, and I have mine. I want to spread my artwork in my own way and that’s how I communicate with the world.”
Talking about your mural, do you have signature colors or even pattern? Because we see you often use purple, pink and white, also the dots pattern in your mural.
“So actually the colors and pattern are the ones that I often use– I just established them this year. I actually want to use blue and red, just like the magnet color. But I toned it down to purple and pink. The color combination is all about positive and negative side of life. While the dots pattern is a representative from a hectic activities. So it’s like people having various problems and obstacles in life, also the positive and negative vibe in their life – I want to represent it all in my work.”
Being an artist is all about the motivation. Do you think a good mood play a big role in the process?
“Well, it depends actually. If I need to draw for commercial purpose, I need to stay professional and go on. But if I’m drawing for myself, I won’t hesitate to stop once I don’t feel the vibe.”
Tracing back to what you said earlier and the common misconception that mural = vandalism, thoughts on the matter?
“I don’t take (their assumption) seriously anymore. When I break the rules, that’s the challenge on how I turn people’s perspective by looking at my artwork. The thing is we can’t force them to agree rightaway with our way. So I let my work of art do the work, let the result talk.”
The last one, your hope for art communities in Indonesia, especially mural art?
“I’m proud with the artists in our country, because they live up to their name from nothing to something. But truth be told when it comes down to it, we need more appreciation and support from the government and the whole public about what we do and our community. That street art isn’t labeled as illegal, this thought means the world to us mural artists.”
Editor&Conceptor: Galuh Tathya
Writer: Adhinda Latifa
Photographer: Bismo Angger
MUA: Nadia Renata
Stylist: Hilarius Matthew
Digital Imaging: Dela Naufalia
Wardrobe: Legiteamate and HSTLR, available at The F Thing