Sari Sartje has a passion for drawing, coffee and working on new projects with new people far away from home. The Jakarta resident was in Singapore to paint a set of wall murals at Hoopla, a café located at Infinite Studios. Gallery & Studio were invited to watch the artist in action and in-between breaks, managed to throw a few questions her way.
Words Tim McIntyre, Souher Wahba
Photos Albert Tan
Where is home?
I was born in Surabaya, East Java but the family moved to Jakarta when I was five, and we’ve lived there ever since.
What do you do?
I’m 34 and have been a full-time artist for over ten years. I studied visual communication design at the Jakarta Art Institute but have always preferred illustration rather than design work. I really love coffee and often draw these things (coffee-themed black and white illustrations) and some friends who own cafes have asked me to draw them on their walls.
Your current project here in Singapore
It happened spontaneously…a friend of a friend had mentioned there was a new café in Singapore that wanted to work with me. I really like working on projects like these, not only because I get to paint, but more because I get to meet new people and make new friends here. It’s a small project between friends that could lead to more long-term projects.
As a commissioned muralist, a lot of the work I would get back home would come with a lot of requests and demands from the client. In this sense, it was good to work with Hoopla (owned by Natalie Ang and Tom Aris) as they like the work I’ve done.
If you weren’t drawing, how would you spend your day?
Hanging out with friends, making music.
The artistic life
For me, it’s about balancing the time spent on commissions versus time spent on art. It’s really like leading two lives. One life is about finding work doing illustrations for magazines, playing gigs (Sari is also a musician), and just doing whatever artistic project is available. Then I use the money earned to do my artistic projects, especially to travel to Singapore or Kuala Lumpur to work on projects with friends there. That makes me happy. My art often inspired by my travel.
Best piece of advice you have received?
“Have no fear in perfection, you’ll never reach it” by Salvador Dali
If you could invite one designer, one artist, one musician and one writer to have a meal with, who would you pick?
I might choose American artist Raymond Pettibon, along with Nomiya Maki and Konishi Yasuharu from Pizzicato Five, and writer and director Sophia Coppola. I would really like to know how they take their brew.
Nasi Ayam Penyet and friend egg.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be?
It doesn’t matter. A great setting doesn’t do anything for me without great people.
The Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo.
Describe your style?
Best place to chill in your city?
An artspace in Jakarta called Ruangrupa.