Agustian Supriatna is an artist with sideshow flair from Sumatra who lives and works in Ubud. The 28-year-old shared his day with The Bali Times
When I got to Bali I felt like I was a seed and it was the land I could grow in.
I start the day early, waking up in time to go to Ubud market while it’s busy with locals. I go there to buy food, but also to sketch and take inspiration. There is one corner of the market that’s the best place to have coffee and sit and observe. Sometimes I just sit and watch without sketching. In the morning I also exercise my body, but after that my days can be very varied.
Sometimes I come home and start working, creating paintings or working with other materials. I make my living from painting, but like to experiment with many things: metalwork, performance, music and dance. I love to dance, as it’s just another way to express myself using my body. Sometimes I work on my bike, or do other things around the gallery; it all depends on what I feel like doing.
I came to Bali in 1999 after traveling around Indonesia for a while. I went to high school in Java and then went home to make some money, and then I moved around. When I got to Bali I felt like I was a seed and it was the land I could grow in. Back then I was mostly focused on anatomy and landscape painting, but when I started painting abstracts I found a new freedom. I feel proud of myself that I’ve been able to find my own style and inspirations.
I want to not only be an artist but a creator, and working on many different things allows me to find media I am comfortable and happy using. I don’t create for anyone else. It’s only because my work is to some people’s taste that I can live from selling it.
During the day, guests and friends stop by the gallery to look around or just to hang out. There are usually people here making music and talking, especially in the evening.
My business is quite unique because I seem to be busy when others are slow and slower when others are busy. It never really matters, though, because I’m in love with what I do and I come from nothing so I appreciate it all the more. Saying that, I have chosen this life and chosen to be a creator, but I don’t want to starve, so I have to sell work.
I usually have exhibitions outside the gallery, but right now it’s pretty slow. But like a farmer or a fisherman, when things are abundant you store them up for later. I’ve figured out how to balance my life in this way and not worry too much when business is slow. There is a saying in Indonesia that I apply to my life: Tidak ada rotan, akar pun jadi, which means if you can’t find rattan, use another root.
I’ve learned to live this way through creating, but also in my study of martial arts, which started when I was very young, but then it was raw. Now I can control things much more.
I’ve learned some really weird things in my life and use them to get people interested in martial arts – for example, when I used my teeth to pull my bike and sidecar with 12 people in it at the Vespa festival in Ubud last year.
Using breathing techniques and focus, I have learned in studying martial arts that I am able to make impossible things possible. The strange things I am able to do are really only entertaining side-effects of my training.
Soon I hope to travel outside Indonesia, but for now I love my life and am happy here creating and experimenting.Filed under: One Day