On canvas, everything flows
by Made Budhiana

I don’t where to begin if I explain about my journey in the world of art to now. I don’t even know if it needs to be explained at all. Often, people think that to understand an artist it is enough to enjoy his or her art work. I think that actually an artist wants to reveal the way he comprehends something, whether it is something in the external world, or something to be found in the artist’s thoughts, visions, and dreams, like the way that Henri Matisse expressed his amazement with the beauty of colour, or Paul Gauguin who expressed his sadness at the process of modernisation in Tahiti, or ……… everyone eventually wants to be involved in dialogue with other people.

I realise that every artist has a different approach to the creative process, concepts, expressions, aesthetic convictions, and the way in which one responds to the environment. That’s no problem – I also have my own approach to creating art. People work on their own, or together, or only under specific conditions – anything is possible.
For me, the sources of beauty are too diverse to be limited to a studio. Maybe because I enjoy it, or because I have a restless nature, I often go driving to new and unknown places. And I enjoy every moment of my travels, and everything I see – the dirty road-side stalls at the edge of small villages, small paths in the valleys, swimming or bathing in rivers, talking with people in the villages, playing with young children …… I believe that there is a build-up of humanistic, environmental, sociological and psychological input from all these experience - all that I see, hear, feel - everything is part of the process. I now realise that there is beauty all around us.

I also think that the way I have lived my life until now has also influenced my approach to the materials I use for my art work. I don’t need to be in a certain place to paint. I don’t require particular conditions in order to be able to work. Often I use materials which are not commonly used by artists who create work on canvas or paper. I use tin foil, sandals, pieces of string, plastic, pipe, glass, pieces of cloth – I use whatever I need at the time in order to be creative. It’s the same with the time I choose to paint. On different days I might feel like painting at the Denpasar market, at the beach, in a warung or small food stall, in the graveyard, or in the middle of a crowd of people.

Sometimes I feel that when I am painting in a crowded environment it is like a form of street theatre in which all the people around me are the actors. I think that this is my definition of freedom - I know art theory, but I am confident enough to rebel against the accepted theories. I paint without being dependent on restricted use of materials. I use a painting technique which could be described as “non-technique”. I choose to live my life in a spontaneous way which is not restricted by complicated schedules and plans.

People describe me as an abstract painter. I wish I could explain abstraction in a way that makes sense of it, but I think that it is more important that people who view my art work can “get back to” a way of looking at the world and our everyday life, and see that there are so many abstract objects all around us. An abstract painting is a puzzle which is only slowly put together and understood. An abstract painting tends to be a long process of wrestling with the imagination.

Lines and splashes of colour on an empty canvas are the outpourings of aesthetic experiences which have been building up in me over time. They flow out and take the form of the art works I create. Everything flows out, just as I live ……

[translated from Bahasa Indonesia by Michelle Chin]