OKY-DOKEY. DA MAN chatted with the mastermind behind the most talked-about exhibits at this year’s Bazaar Art Jakarta Fair
Ask anyone who visited this year’s Bazaar Art Jakarta what the most memorable exhibit was, and chances are you’ll hear the live Pokemon-inspired painting by artist Oky Rey Montha mentioned over and over again.
Born into what he described as an artistic family, Montha says he’s been familiar with the world or art since childhood. The Yogyakarta-born artist is now part of a generation whose work is inspired by images from various media but is then provided with its own narratives that lean toward fantastic tales.
Today, Oky’s art style is defined by showcasing the polar opposite of semiotics or: contradictions of the popular icons that he often uses. The 30-year-old artist himself, whose passion also branches out into music (he calls himself “an indie musician who works as a music arranger and play drum as well”), describes his personal style of work as “pop surrealism.”
DA MAN: Can you tell us about the Pokemon-inspired live painting you did at Bazaar Art Jakarta?
Oky Rey Montha: Basically, what I was trying to do is find what is currently on trend these days. I thought it would catch the attention of audiences who aren’t into art at all, as it would make it easier for them to understand and accept a work of art. But the main goal was to show the audience my technique.
DA MAN: When creating a new artwork, how does your creative process unfold?
Oky Rey Montha: Normally it comes from everyday occurrences, activities, the environment, media and culture. I pack them into a surrealist form because my visual interest leans toward something that is not real. I don’t have any special steps that I need to go through in creating art and not everything that I have in my mind goes into my paintings. I also express those ideas in other forms like sculptures, drawings, music and videos. There’s no limit to art.
DA MAN: Where do you usually draw inspiration from?
Oky Rey Montha: I’m visually inspired by styles of darkness, innocent cartoons and fantasy.
DA MAN: What’s your take on idealism versus going commercial in art?
Oky Rey Montha: For me, ideology is the main thing and then the market will come by itself. I do not think a lot of people really understand the depth of art; a number of them only reach the visual part. That’s why I did the live painting, to ignite their curiosity that will then lead them to explore deeper.
DA MAN: Do you have any upcoming exhibitions in the near future?
Oky Rey Montha: Next year, Galeri Canna, whom I’ve been working with for the past seven years, and I are planning to hold my eighth solo exhibition.
This article first appeared in DA MAN October/November 2016. Get your copy here.