My Art

It started from boredom as I faced a canvas or support, because it looked like I was merely led by habit and my eyes when it came to the use of colors, lines, composition, theme, all the techniques and effects. There were times when all I wanted was to tear it apart and walk away from it.

From there I continued to seek what and how is painting. I tried to read books on fine art. But these only added to my frustration. Everything has already been discovered and our seniors have done it first. I don't have to follow form, since there was Delacroix, Manet, Monet, or Seurat. I don't have to pursue lines, for there have been Durer, Matisse, Miro or Oesman Effendi. I don't have to seek content, because I know Van Gogh, Gauguin, Dali, Rusli or Amang Rahman. Not to mention geniuses like Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Picasso, Kandinsky, Mondrian and Paul Klee.

My journey came to something in 1991. I concluded that somehow painting is about pouring out or putting into images what one feels inside, borrowing forms from nature or from 'the inside', from within ourselves.

I started anew from there. I began to think up ideas and then adopted the habit of making little sketches as a medium that could fit into the shoes of a painter. Afterward I pour my attention into anything I can find as the 'canvas' to say whatever I feel and think, honestly and freely: a canvas, scraps of used paper, walls, blackboards, even diaries.

My journey continues until today. I started to feel how good it is to 'paint', not just 'making paintings'. I do not care about forms, lines, composition, techniques, or any -ism within the fine art world. I paint on anything, with anything, using whatever technique, about anything that's there inside me when I am face-to-face with something to paint on. I believe that when I am hungry then whatever I paint is going to sing the tunes of hunger. When I am alone, silent, soft, dark, restless, choked, or screaming, whatever I paint would say it honestly and becomes the medium that channels the feeling without hesitation. I do not need themes, contents, or messages to transmit through my art. I do not see beauty and order as the ultimate priority. Good or bad, pretty or ugly, it is my painting, it is what I feel, it is what I want it to be.

A canvas or support becomes a kind of basket that hosts every idea, complaint, hope, howl, or hopelessness that is put into it sincerely.

The graffiti we can find anywhere, on the city walls, the bridges, scraps of paper, engraving on trees, often force us to smile, to get upset, to be embarrassed, to grunt, to be moved into tears, or at least force us to raise eyebrows.

Those things make me feel like I am not alone.

Ugo Untoro, 1997