As of late, illustrator/photographer/designer Ari Puguh has been hopping between UAE and Indonesia, crafting positive material for kids and grown-ups alike. From hospital murals to children's books (one arriving in April) to interactive video games to multimedia photography to pattern work, Ari aka Arylosophy seems to do it all with a boatload of love. His Instagram posts feature motivational messages that compliment the brightly colored art. Meaningful art. Art to help people through today, tomorrow, the next day. Art to transform melancholy into energized optimism. Currently residing in Bali (with plans to move to the States soon), I sent Ari some questions to provide further insight into his vibrant soul. Enjoy the artwork throughout and check out his social media pages for more great material.
How has 2017 been treating you?
2017, super great! So far so good! Been busy working on two children’s book projects (one is created fully by me and the other one is working on the illustration side), working full-time with Passion Planner USA and challenging myself to do more doodling on my online platforms. I am expecting to move to California by this year for Passion Planner company, so fingers crossed for it. Overall, I feel amazing!
For those unfamiliar, how would you describe yourself/your art?
I am an amateur illustrator, a daydreamer that does, a believer, and an optimist. My work is mostly dedicated for the children’s world and for children at heart. I like to create graphics based on positivity, cheerful, childlike, happy thoughts, overcoming fear, and dealing with self-esteem.
How long have you been taking your art seriously?
Well, I would say my professional work as an artist started 2twoyears ago when I got a job for an illustrator and game designer position for a game company in Abu Dhabi, UAE. From there, I do not mind to mention myself as an “artist” once in awhile. I did not have quite the courage before to say that I was an illustrator.
I have always been a creative individual but did not feel the confidence to call myself an illustrator before. I did some freelance projects here and there when I was in college but did not think that making graphics and illustrations would be my full-time work that I could make my living with.
I studied in movie and television studies, but never fully studied artwork/illustrations on the formal classes, so basically, I learned how to draw and illustrate autodidact.
From design patterns to children's books and more, is every day different?
In terms of the online platform such as Instagram, yes! I would like to do something that I feel like doing each day, I never put strict rules about what should I post each day, it just comes naturally. A year back my Instagram was actually just a personal page where I usually post my personal photos, stories, and random doodles, and I did not make my page to please anyone. I share it because I feel like that’s my point of view in life, that’s why sometimes I do not mind to share my personal photos or stories because that’s my life, and it’s a pleasure that I can share it with the world. But now I am challenging myself to post doodles more often to just develop my artwork and get feedback from people.
In terms of artworks for professional projects, I mostly work on the various types, like game, poster, painting, logos and mural. with one big line, bringing happiness and joy to the people who sees it.
What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
My book will be published next month on April by Royal Publishing House, yay!
It’s called I Wish I Were…Someone Else. This children’s book is about how living in general sometimes feels unsatisfied or children are unhappy with who they are and feel like they wish to be someone else that they think is cooler. It’s also the bias from the media that made perfect looking physical figures to be a role model, and when these kids are not as fit as them they would consider themselves a failure. I wanted the children to think that they are worth it, having self-esteem, embracing the identity and loving who they are and perhaps in a good definition of a self-esteem by caring, loving and sharing with others.
I expect to develop my artwork more each day so I am still learning, exploring as well.
Beside like what I mentioned before, I expect to be in the US this year, so let’s see. The company that I am working for is excited about it, so am I.
Living my life to the fullest and being a good person each day.
What were your art habits like as a child?
It’s a great question! Actually when I was a child, making random doodles and drawings were just a way for me to prove that I could do something.
So, I am a lefty (which means I am using my left hand to create my artwork and do activities in general). In Indonesia being a lefty is consider impolite as in the society you always use right hand to do your daily activities and left hand for toilet business (yup!). People around me constantly told me that I need to use my right hand, but because my right-hand does not really function (when I was born my right hand is shorter and it just does not have enough power to do much stuff) so I was a bit concerned with their view and tried to prove that left hand is also a good hand, by creating something great.
That’s how I started to believe that my left hands can create some artworks and just make random artworks and crafts, period.
Do you create every day or do you take breaks?
I definitely do my best to create every day. I guess if I did not create my days, I would have just ended up being in my small town in Indonesia, doing a regular job that is not related to art.
So, I grew up with my aunt and uncle in a small town in Sumatra, Indonesia since I was a child as my mom can't afford my education and my dad left us since I was a kid. She passed away not long after. Since a little kid, I always believe in my views and dreams, and I wanted to work on something that related to the creative industry. But I live in a standard life of Indonesian family where many of us still think that you can’t go far with art.
During my studies in college, I started to realize that my dreams are possible and valid. I tried my best to get a scholarship, by studying and picking up English languages from movies, music and talking with people. Exploring my artworks and uploading it online, I started to get positive feedback and my confidence on my artworks gained.
I remember my first paid works was for an event poster in Paris & Cooperate logos in London back in 2014. Not so bad for a boy who lived in poverty from a small town in Indonesia. Starting from there, I do my best to keep on reminding myself that my goals are achievable and I could make something out of my art.
Do you live in the UAE? What is the art scene like where you live?
I lived in UEA last year, and I am still doing some projects in the UAE remotely. The art scene out there is interesting. With Middle East background, people are embracing their art side. They love ornament and beautiful colors. There are many expats and people from abroad that came to UAE as well, so they kind of contributed to the society, like one day I even saw Arabic characters with manga style. When I worked for the game company there, I tried to combine Arabic culture with my style.
Now I am temporary back in Sout East Asia, specifically Bali. I would describe Bali as a magical artistic place.
What have you been listening/reading lately?
The recent music crush at the moment is Honne. I listen to many kinds of genres.
Do you have any advice for artists working on their craft?
Believe in yourself, trust the process. If I could be honest, I was not really confident in my artwork, sometimes those feelings even gradually come back, but I tried to have a conversation with myself and tried to trust the process and something good would eventually come up! Just keep on doing what you are doing! Explore, learn and develop them. You can do this!
Any closing thoughts/words of wisdom?
No matter where we come from, what background and past stories we are having, we have the equal right and possibility to create something great for our better future. It all depends on us. Turn the negativity into something positive!