One Day – Teguh Santoso

Teguh Santoso

Artist Teguh Santoso, who as a child was branded with the nickname Ogut for his rotund resemblance to a well-known comedian of the same name, paints oily waves for surfer tourists and more complex works for himself and a growing clientele.

The 32-year-old from Surabaya but living in North Kuta has a nine-year-old and four-year-old daughter with his wife Siti Aminatus, and shared a day with The Bali Times’ I Ketut Pariyasa

When I’m in a good mood, when I paint the night before, I usually get up at 9:30am. Sometimes I even don’t sleep at all when I’m painting, but when I do my daughters often wake me up around 8am but I’m too lazy to get out of bed. I don’t want to disappoint them, though, so I tell them, “Just a few minutes more…” Then I go straight back to sleep.

When I eventually get up I’ll have a steaming cup of coffee with lots of sugar and an obligatory cigarette. That’s my breakfast, though if my wife has some rice or vegetables ready, I’ll have that too. I’m not a picky eater; I’ll eat everything that’s put in front of me. But generally I don’t eat until I’m hungry; that way the food tastes better.

In the mornings I spend some time looking after my daughters, talking to them and answering their questions; naturally they love to play. My time is not solely for myself: I’m part of a family and have to give my time to them, too.

After all that playing around, I’ll have a shower and sit alone and have a smoke. This is what I call my refreshing time, after painting at night, and sometimes I’ll also watch TV.

I always try to be at home at noon for lunch, to respect my wife’s cooking. And after that I’ll go out and bring a pencil and sketchpad with me. Who knows what interesting things I might find as I wander around? I’ll head up to Echo Beach in Canggu on my motorbike and hang around Dian Café; it’s a small beachside restaurant that displays some of my paintings. It’s good to be there among the foreign surfers as I get a lot of feedback from them about my work. And so I keep on learning.

Some of the people who come to the café are painters themselves; they either do it as a hobby or are well-known artists but pretend not to be. Whatever the case, we talk, exchange ideas; giving and receiving.

The paintings of mine on display at Dian Café are purely decorative; they follow the buyers’ tastes. And the buyers here, of course, are the surfers. They want waves; I give them waves. I don’t mind doing them, though, it means I earn enough to support my family.

I keep my real art at home, but I carry a digital camera so that people can look at pictures of the paintings.

I can often stay at the café till around 7pm, and then head home with meat and vegetables I buy at a roadside foodstall on the way. I don’t want my wife to start cooking again; she should relax, as you know how hard household work is.

As night settles in, I go to my special room to paint. There I have all the things I need to trigger a good mood and ideas, including coffee and cigarettes.

Watching TV and interacting with people make my works socially themed, like my painting No One Has a Boss, Only the Doggie, which is also my own personal motto. It’s about people who feel awful about being dictated to by their boss, and a German bought it a few years ago for what at the time was 680 deutschmarks (US$420).

If I’m not working straight through till the morning, I’ll fall into bed around 3am, thinking about the next day that’s already here, wondering what I’ll give to my family – and the world.

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