Ni Nyoman Sani, 35, is an internationally renowned Balinese artist from Sanur who is a mother of two and combines fashion, art and photography in her work. She shared her day with Carla Albertí de la Rosa.
When I wake up at 5:30 in the morning I lie in my bed for a few minutes thinking about all the things I have to do. I prepare breakfast for my children and sit with them. I have milk and some bread and cheese. I give my kids bananas and milk every morning. I don’t drink coffee but I always have jamu – it’s a traditional drink made with cucumber, ginger and hot water.
At 7:15 I take my children to school; it takes me about 15 minutes by motorbike and then I come back home, take a shower and pray in the family temple. I then sit down and write my plan for the day. At 11 I start working.
I work from my home studio in Gianyar. I’m preparing a fashion show in Ubud for October and I spend a lot of time designing clothes. I like the cycle of the fashion; it’s a cycle that never stops changing. I’m also passionate about photography and art. I find these three things complement each other.
I used to draw women in traditional clothes but I now draw fashionable and modern models. I change my paintings according to how fashion changes. I learned about fashion in magazines and TV and although in junior high school I was already drawing clothes, there was no fashion school in Bali; so it was just a hobby back then.
After high school I went to the art academy in Denpasar and did art for five years. I was pregnant before I finished studying but that didn’t stop me from painting. I have a lot of women friends who after getting married stopped painting. It’s a shame because many have talent. We have to handle our own life, not be told what to do. My husband supports me 100 percent because he’s also an artist, and so is my brother-in-law. We have become very close and understand and support each other.
My inspiration is not always there but it comes sometimes, especially when I take a walk along the beach at Sanur. I paint Indonesian women; at least the look in the face is Indonesian. The hardest thing is starting to paint on a blank canvas because every time the models must have new clothes, new colours. I have to figure out what pose I want them in. My paintings are used mostly for home decoration and most of them go to Holland and Italy. I’m more focused on the bodies of the models and what they wear than on their faces.
My husband picks the kids up and then we have lunch around 1pm. I’m allergic to meat – for some reason I get a rash if I eat it, even if I eat seafood. So I’m vegetarian. I only eat rice, bread and vegetables. I like potato soup and enjoy making my own food. I drink some more jamu and then I rest for half an hour. I lie down and read fashion magazines. I love colours and makeup. I do make-up as well. I normally buy the local magazine DEWI and Marie Claire. Vogue is a treat because it’s too expensive over here. But luckily there’s a place where they sell secondhand magazines close to my house, in Batu Bulan, so that’s handy.
I might then do some photography. I like photographing flowers and dogs. I love dogs. I will do an exhibition of photography at a fashion show in Ubud in October and my husband is doing the documentation. So he takes pictures of me working with the models.
I choose the models, but they are normally locals because using professional models is very expensive.
I work until 5pm because around 6 I have to start preparing my children’s clothes for next day. When I have some time I like to go with my husband to the beach or for long walks. My children stay home with my mother-in-law, who lives with us. Once a week we visit my mother in Sanur and spend time at the beach.
My family likes to have meat for dinner and I prepare the food for them. I will only have papaya and tomato juice at 7 and a glass of milk. I write down the things I need to do for the next day and I read until I feel tired. My eyes start closing quite late, even at 1am sometimes. So I go to sleep knowing I’m only going to get a few hours because I have to be up early the next day.