Mega is an amazing self-taught designer based in Indonesia. His style extraordinary and different from what we have seen so far. Some of you may remember the first post I had for his work I Just Murdered The Alphabet, which was hand made work and needed 6 months to finish. Recently he had his solo exhibition in Paris. I took this opportunity to interview him and learn more about this great illustrator!
Hello Mega. I am very pleased to have you and your so inspiring illustrations in graphicart-news.
Please tell us about your art style. How would you describe it?
Thank you Graphicart-news for having me. My style is a punch in your face. It hurts but it makes you stronger. I want my artworks to be powerful and to impact the world I live in. My recent works are about the life in the jungle, depicted with a urban vibe. I am obsessed with clean lines and deep colors.
When did you start using this technique, pen illustration on paper as a media of expression?
During years, I’ve become well known for my colorful and catchy illustrations. With my recent exhibitions, I wanted to show that I was able to create catchy images by using just one color. Some people were wondering why I was using a computer to create my images, so I wanted to show the world that it was just a matter of flexibility. You want the technique? Man, I can be cleaner than Adobe Illustrator with my hands. I love computers and the flexibility program allows. I also love to draw by hand. It takes a lot more time, and I’m quite obsess with clean lines, but at the end of the day it is a different kind of satisfaction. For my last solo exhibition called I Just Murdered The Alphabet, I’ve spent 6 months in my room, drawing on art papers with all those silver pens. The constant smell of the silver ink would give me nasty headaches every night, and it probably shortens my life, but who cares? Come on, you can shorten my life: I will live forever ;)\
Where did you study design?
In front of a blank paper. I come from a poor background. My family had no money and no interest in art. When I was a teenager I was working as a trash collector. This was my life. At night, I would go out to paint the wall of my city and the trains of my area. After a couple of years I saved enough money to join an art school, hoping to learn new skills. It didn’t happen, and the school was a place where I saw all kind of people I didn’t want to become. I feel like I’ve been put in this world in order to produce images, not to talk about arty concepts. I’m too practical for empty talks. So I left school, started to learn how to use a computer by myself, then became an art director for urban and fashion magazines in Europe (like WAD or BPM) during the next few years. I was also doing my own illustrations for other magazines and publications. I learned a lot during that time. How to respect a deadline, a brief, how to be efficient, etc. Basically I learned everything by myself, and to be honest I don’t even think that there is another way to learn.
What makes your illustrations unique? Describe your design philosophy
Don’t wait, do. You can spend your energy to complain about the opportunities you don’t have, or focus on creating and making things happen. This is what I am. I started from scratch, and I consider this as a chance. I have more motivation that a new comer, I am always hungry for more. You do one lousy artwork, I do ten beautiful pieces, you do a small exhibition, I do a world tour, you work during an hour, I work during a day. My name is Mega for a reason. It’s not much about other people, it’s a constant competition with myself. I want to do more and to become better every day of my life.
You have this different unique signature style, what inspired your work?
I don’t feel like I’m inspired by someone, especially another artist. I don’t mean it in an arrogant way. You reach this signature style that makes you different through a lot of practicing. When you spend most of your time drawing and stay true to who you are, you get to that point where what you do is kind of unique. I don’t try to be different. When I was a teenager, I was into new school graffiti, and what I still keep from this era is a sense of clean lines and strong colors. Having lived around the world, I have been in touch with a lot of different cultures and people, and I guess that it shows in the stories I tell through my art, even if it’s not a really conscious decision. I draw what I am.
Who is your favorite illustrator?
I love every artist and illustrator who is dedicated to what he does. I lock myself in a room and work 10 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year long. I have a lot of respect for other people who dedicate their lives for their passions. They are too many to name them, and I don’t really have a favorite illustrator, but I really like the artworks of Charles Burns.
What is your take on Social Design, do you use your art in this direction?
As I explained before, I do more arm to my own health by constantly breathing silver inks, than I could do to the environment. I live in a village, next to a tropical forest, and I really love the jungle and the nature, but I don’t really have this deep sense of ecology some people could have. I live in Indonesia, and this country is also the place where I spend most the money I make from my exhibitions and art works around the world, so the money come back to a community who needs it. I wouldn’t market my activity like Social Design tough. What makes a difference to me is how you live your life and what you do with your money. It’s not about what your intentions are, it’s about what you do in your daily life.
Tell us about the design scene in France today.
The design France is really exciting those days. You have a bunch of really talented people who have been along for a while, like Koa or Niark1, and keep pushing the limits and bring their art to a new level. On another hand, there is a whole generation of new comers like Ugo Gattoni, or Tyrsa, who brings some fresh air in the scene. As for me, I have been living around the world for the past 8 years. After a successful career in France, I felt like I had reach the limits of what the country had to offer in term of opportunities, so I moved to Brazil, then Argentina and Australia, before moving my studio to Bali in Indonesia. I am still in close relationship with the artists who rocks the scene in France, but I try to focus more on a international level.
Since you have been traveling around the world, how would you describe the design scene general?
The design scene is made of individuals, but you can definitively see trends in the topics people draw according to where they live. For example, most illustrators in Bali are really into skulls, devils or dark stuffs, kind of like the heavy metal imagery. From my experience, I can tell you more about the different type of people I meet during my solo exhibitions. In Europe, my artworks attract cool kids, hipsters, trendy young girls and art directors, while in Asia it’s quite a different story. I have all those kids who come to my shows, so they can ask for a picture with me and an autograph. It’s actually really fun and weird, because I get all those kids queuing to get their picture. You may feel like a star, but on another hand they don’t focus much on the artworks. It’s more about the celebrity factor.
Technology has given individual designers the opportunity to create for themselves like never before, tell us how this has impacted your designs?
I am super independent and I like to keep a maximum of control over everything I do. Do It Yourself. I love to be able to create, but also to show, promote, and sell my artworks by myself. I do my stuff, then I did my website http://www.ilovemega.com where I can show it the way I want. Then I can email my interviews and promo material for my upcoming projects, talk with gallery owners about my next shows, and even sell some pieces on my online shop http://ilovemega.bigcartel.com/ I love the Internet era we live in.
Do you design other types of illustrations, for example book or album covers?
I do a lot of illustrations for magazines, books, or album covers. When I am lucky enough I do some advertising. I actually love to do it. People contact me because they want my style, so it’s not like I have to change what I am. When you do a commercial or advertising works, the briefs are quite detailed and to the point. Customers know what they want, and are clear with when and how they expect you to work. It is actually easier for me to do an advertising than a small job where people ask you to do “something cool”.
As for the album covers I have fun stories. A couple of years ago I had this Brazilian guy called Iggor Cavalera who asked me to design a cover for his new musical project. I was like, “how does it feel to share the same name with metal band Sepultura’s drummer?”. It was him! I was a fan of Sepultura when I was a kid, so it was really cool to have them contacting me to work. Another cool story happened with this girl who asked me to do the design her first album. I didn’t really enjoy the music so I said no. She was Lilly Allen. Haha!
What are you working on now?
Right now I am working on 2 collaborations with Eastpak. They asked me to draw on some bags they will use for a group shows early next year. Eastpak also will come to produce a video interview with some live drawing early next month. I also have a great group exhibition at He Made She Made gallery in Sydney at the end of the month. In November, I have a great collaboration with Jon Burgerman coming out. I am also working on a series of products to be released by a nice brand in 2013, but it’s still a little bit secret. On another hand, I will soon start to schedule my solo exhibitions for 2013. More than everything, I am always hungry for more.
What are your plans for the future?
I have been living in Indonesia for the past 5 years, and I guess that I will stay there for a while. I like the fact that I am able to be 100% focussed on my work when I’m there. I live my village mostly to do art event, conferences or exhibitions around the world. I plan to conquer design and art worlds from my small village in Indonesia. I will take more time than if I was in New York City for example, but I will do it. Time will tell.
Well Mega, this was a very cool interview! Thank you so much for sharing your experiences!
Thank you graphicart-news, keep being awesome.
Let’s take a look below Mega’s solo exhibition and events!
OPENING EXHIBITION AT SERGEANT PAPER GALLERY
A lot of people despite the rain for the opening of I Just Murdered The Alphabet at Segeant Paper.
I was presenting the new series of artworks I prepared during 6 months of hard (but satisfying) work.
The series combines hip hop punchlines and handmade drawing, obviously with a focus on typography.
The art publication L’Attrape Reve was also launching their “Special Mega” issue, with 40 pages of exclusive artworks prepared just for them.
FAVELA CHIC MEGA PARTY
I was happy and honored to be invited for a Mega party at the Favela Chic club. The event started with a live painting session, good vibes, vodka, nice girls, danse, great music and cool people.
The whole event called was organized as part of the Mega week for the launch of my Mega issue of l’Attrape Rêve.
I started with a 9 hours live drawing session with Posca during the day.
To the club for a big party with DJs Gero, Gee Da Pimp and Saint Pierre.
SIGNATURE SESSION AT THE PALAIS DE TOKYO
After the Mega night at Favela Chic Club, we went to the Palais de Tokyo for a signature session of l’Attrape Rêve.
Headache and signatures in the temple contemporary art.
More good vibes and ctchy artworks on http://www.ilovemega.com/blog/