Born in Surakarta, central Java, in 1990, Arswandaru is a talented illustrator who is rapidly gaining recognition in the surf and skateboarding art scenes in Australia, Bali and beyond. Arswandaru attributes his lowbrow style to his surfing, skate boarding and music lifestyle he now leads in Bali, but don’t be fooled, Arswandaru is anything but your typical beach bum. Not only is he continuing to develop his unique style and build a promising career, Arswandaru is currently establishing a charity for underprivileged children with his friends at the Australian surfing brand, Salty Shoes.
Arswandaru’s work has progressed from abstract styles during his university days to its more conceptual style today. His work is heavily “influenced by vintage tattoo flash, especially the simple depictions of pinups and skulls.” However he feels that his current style has been most heavily influenced by the job he held during university. Whilst studying art philosophy at the University of Indonesia, Arswandaru was a pencil artist for a comic publishing company. There he learnt many illustration techniques that have been extremely useful in finding his own unique style. It’s this style, and Arswandaru’s continued efforts in refining and developing his skills, that has caught the eye of a number of prominent Australian surf and skate brands.
Arswandaru has been working and collaborating with Australian brands for the last 4 or so years. After entering a surfboard design competition in around 2013, which although he didn’t win, Arswandaru’s artwork was appreciated by Australian surf magazine, Delirium, who then featured his work. This exposure helped to accelerate Arswandaru’s career and popularity in the Indonesia and Australia surf-art scenes. This has lead to commissions and collaborations with a number of prominent Australian surf,
skateboarding and music brands. It is his surfing culture that has drawn him to continue to collaborate with Australian artists and brands, as he feels that their themes are relevant and relatable to his daily life. Most recently, Arswandaru has just completed the art for the lookbook and video campaign for Australian brand, The Critical Slide Society.
Alongside these commercial endeavours, Arswandaru is currently working on a number of pieces that will be displayed in a collective art exhibition at The Culprit Club Gallery in Brisbane this month. He’s also working on a solo exhibition at the same gallery in September this year, which will explore his own perspectives on technology, social interaction and daily life.
If you didn’t think Arswandaru was busy enough, his collaborations now also extend beyond art galleries and brand merchandise. Now in the process of establishing a new charity organisation, Arswandaru feels that it is important to give back to the community. He comments that he sees a number of Indonesian artists who have become very successful on an international scale, but aren’t giving much back to their communities. Arswandaru hopes that those who have been fortunate enough to gain some success can share a little bit of their luck to those less fortunate. Arswandaru is collaborating with the guys at Salty Shoes to create a children’s book as well as a video campaign. All proceeds of the book will be donated to underprivileged children in Indonesian and Australia so that they can receive adequate education.
Arswandaru’s altruism extends beyond generating funds for the underprivileged. He is passionate about giving back to his community in more ways than one and “hopes to teach young artists, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds or who are unable to receive adequate formal education, to be more interested about social issues, in order to improve their futures.” This passion to make a difference coupled with his talent and drive, I have no doubt Arswandaru will be able to greatly help those in need.
You can check out more of Arswandaru’s work at his Instagram @arswandaru
Story by: Freya Gaunt