Inov Fauzi is an Indonesian artist who lives in the outskirts of its capital city, Jakarta, with his wife and a number of cats. He was a late starter. That is, he only started to engage fully with his art more seriously and intensely at the age of 45 - when he finally gave himself the license to break away from that social construct; that a decent living comes from having 'a proper' full-time job', not making art.
Inov started working on his first body of work in September 2018 within the medium of Collage, with which - along with Assemblage - he had a recurring interaction through years of exploring different art forms. The idea of working with the constraints of manipulating existing materials seems to appeal to him. It is therefore his current medium of preference, although there is always room for change and/or development in times to come.
What initially drew you towards becoming an artist?
Art itself is something I’ve naturally been drawn to and done since little. As for becoming an artist in terms of profession, it’s a simple matter of wanting to make a living from something that I love doing. I was an art teacher before. Although that is still within the same field, it isn’t exactly the same as being a ‘full-pledged’ artist.
How would you describe your own personal style?
I’d like to think that in my current body of work there is a contradicting idea between the impulsive spontaneity of abstract-expressionism against the kind of controlled and calculated execution that you would see in hard-edge painting. In the case of the latter, I take careful measures in how I cut and compose my collage pieces.
What pushed you in that direction and how can you see your work evolving in the future?
I personally find it important to be technically sound. I acknowledge and appreciate the diversity of art but I personally can’t see myself, at least for now, making art by duct-taping a banana to a wall, no matter how profound the concept behind it may be.
What inspires you in your work, is there a driving factor that draws you to the easel?
Seeing the work finished. Wanting to see how much I can visually realise and translate my ideas.
Are there particular individuals who have encouraged / inspired you along the way, friends, family, teachers, maybe even other artists?
I am a football fan and I have a habit of supporting the underdogs when it comes to tournament events. Oddly enough, my inspiration comes from a football manager who once handled my favourite team, Chelsea FC. He is Claudio Ranieri. Claudio Ranieri has only won a major trophy once – the English Premier League with Leicester City in 2016 – at the age of 64! Before that he had managed a number of top teams but with no major trophies to show for. The theme of my life is mediocrity but I’d like to think that similarly I can agelessly pursue my goals; that one time my work can receive some public appreciation, even if only for a brief moment.
When it comes to creating your work, do you have a preferred medium, certain types of brushes or tools you love to use?
I prefer to use hard surfaces for my collage. I recently just discovered water-resistant MDF board. It’s nicer to use than the regular kind I used before. However, it costs more and much harder to spit with a cutter as the fibre is much more dense.
When it comes to the subject matter of your work, what draws you to those themes?
My personal interaction with print media; newspapers, magazines and tabloids especially of football content. Being a migrant generation from the analog world to the digital, I’ve seen many of my favourite publications close and disappear.
Could you describe the process behind your art? How do you get from concept to execution?
My initial ideas would often come in very rough sketches that do not even look close to finished artwork. The sketches would just record an overall idea of the composition. The rest is done straight on the working surface. I would draw up a grid so collage pieces can be cut accurately to size on top of the surface – thus functioning also as a cutting mat. Then I would organise and sort the papers that I would use, so as to make selection easier later. As an abstract painter draws ‘first blood’ with the first stroke/splatter/drip/any other marks, I would do the same. I would stick something, then just go from there.
Could you describe your normal day as an artist? Have you set routines and rituals or is a more a case of when the moment is right you work?
Currently there is no set routine. I somewhat work in a sporadic way, juggling between making art and other activities. As I am still new to this, I am writing my guide book as I go along. I suppose it would be useful to get some sort of structure of activities that I can stick to. Right now I have only one general rule. Slow days with artist’s block will come, so whenever I happen to be on a creative roll, take advantage of the moment and be as productive as possible.
When you work, do you focus on one piece at a time until completion or are you working on multiple pieces at the same time?
I tend to get one piece done at a time. It simplifies the materials preparation and set up.
How has your art evolved to be where it is today?
In terms of collage work, I have taken a more abstract approach, focusing more on the use of colours and textures (text) rather than images. In terms of evolution I think I will leave that to the natural flow of things. I have some ideas in the back of my head about three-dimensional and kinetic work, but I'll just have to see things when I get there.
Which of your artworks are you most proud off?
I would say the bigger pieces, as they are more laborious to complete.
Is there a fellow artist alive today that you admire? If so, why?
I admire Julie Mehretu’s work. I find it quite visually overwhelming, considering the complexity and size.
If you could travel back in time, is there a particular artistic period / era that you would like to have been involved in?
I think it would be abstract expressionism.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring artist currently studying art?
Do your assignments well and meet your deadlines.
We have all heard of the unfinished masterpiece, even Da Vinci laboured away at the Mona Lisa for years and years, have you works that are in a continual process of evolution? When working on an artwork do you find it hard to let go? Knowing when enough is enough?
No. I either need to complete my work or, if it seems to take too much grinding out, I would just leave it. If there is something that I feel can be further developed on a piece, I’d rather just start another piece and do it there.
Many people see artists as storytellers or advocates for a cause, do you believe that it is an artist’s responsibility to shine a light on a particular subject / theme, or do you create purely for the sake of expression your creative nature?
I think it is simply a matter of choice whether an artist wants to take on the responsibility or not. Nothing should be held against any artist who practices one or the other.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m still putting together my ‘Off Text’ body of work.
Have you ever been part of an artistic group / movement? How did your work benefit from that experience?
No, I’ve never been involved in such activities. I did not come from the traditional fine art education/societal environment where these groups can be formed. I’m an outsider, I work alone.
When is your next exhibition? Is it a solo or group exhibition? Could you tell us a little about the exhibition, when and where it is?
I have just started my journey and I still have a more comprehensive body of work that I’d like to compile. An exhibition, and how to go about organizing it, is not yet in mind. In fact, I might say that my listing of works here, in Artbaazar, for now is as close I can come to ‘an exhibition’.
To view his full collection - Online Art Gallery of Inov Fauzi