Senin, 14 Mei 2012

Interview the Jakarta Post with Ika Vantiani

Senin, 14 Mei 2012

Dear Ika,

Please find the questions below:

01. What makes you interest in the DIY culture?
The spirit. I think that’s the biggest magnet of it, because it’s really inspiring how many interesting ideas come to live because of it. That includes how many life changing experiences someone can have and later it will shape our characters in life.

Yes, it is that powerful. As powerful as the line I read from one of those zines and records that I start exposed myself to in 2000’s,

If you don’t like it, make it your own!

In term of zine for example, I totally agree with the thinking that there is no media out there could represent everybody, therefore we should make our own and let the world know about it. Being born to the general beliefs that to be able to write in a newspaper or media you have to be a journalist (this is way before there is a blog or social network like today), to be finally publishing my own zine at that time was really mindblowingly empowering.

To find out my zine being read and received emails from all over Indonesia from boys and girls that I have never met in my life and they understand my opinion and perspective on parents, punk, school, was totally make the effort in making my zine worth it. It’s really wonderful to go traveling and suddenly you have new friends that you look forward to meet because of the things that you wrote was really, really awesome.

02. When was it and how did it happen back in the days?
I think it was 2001 when I published my first personal zine called Puncak Muak and exposed myself to big and interestingly inspiring scene in Bandung then Jakarta, and other cities afterwards.

It was in Bandung actually where I first several inspiring individuals online that later when I came to the city I met them directly and how amazingly powerful what they taught me back then and some even stay until today.

From making a zine, I then also start making a zine distribution called Peniti Pink and doing lots of zine campaigning apart of selling and distributing local and international zine nationwide. I was also start a public space in the second floor of my house that I rent together with some friends and opening our zine and children library plus running free English workshop every Friday night. We did so many things on the house like film screening for children, Food Not Bombs meeting, gig organizing and other wonderful activities. We try to run our own collective space like those that I have seen before in Bandung, Yogyakarta and Malang.

The house also open for some traveling friend and bands when they’re touring in Indonesia, where we got to meet tons of inspiring DIY activists from all over the world.

It was one busy house indeed. Busy with ideas and make them happened in our own ways.

03. What influences that drove you back then?
My friends and things that they believed and did to show me that. From making zines, bands, distros, performances, running a collective house, and a lot more other things. And most of them were such a kick ass stuff too with political messages either personal or collective.

It makes me feel like being dragged into a world where ideas are bulletproof and everyone of us matters and can make a difference. I learned about being a strong individual and also strong collective partner since I was never know about this whole thing about collectivity before apart of group of people that I rarely feel comfortable with their own internal politics with weird purposes.

I learned that if you want something really, really bad you will make it happened. At least you will try to give the best with what you’ve got and rarely at the end is about the money because at the end it’s never been about that in the first place.

04. You have involvement in the punk scene here in Indonesia, what’s your personal view of it?

It’s really interesting that being a woman in a scene where mostly run by man makes everything I do seemed to be really interesting to them yet makes me feel lonely too. I wish there are more woman making zines, running shows, and not only being in bands for example. Not that I think they are less inspiring or empowering but I often find myself alone and although at the end it didn’t really matter but I think being in a punk scene is never been only being in a band or playing music and come to the gig.

I remember talked about this after a DIY New Year’s Eve show in Bekasi with some friends. I said that this scene is a place where I feel like whatever ideas I have, no matter how funny, weird, impossible or small they are, I always feel supported or I know that at least someone at the scene will.

I guessed my way of seeing the scene and my expectations towards it to be much more interesting and powerful back then would never be really happened at the end but still I always love it for the spirit and makes me feel at home in a way.
05. From all these years, is the scene getting better nowadays?
To be honest, I do not know. Especially if you ask me about the scene in general, because even way before I tend to see my scene is this space that I rent where I used to do lots of things together with my friends. We feel comfortable that way because then we know what to expect from each other for all the actions and activities that we did back then, we don’t really need to rely on others accept ourselves and how we had fun, I tell you!

We were of course part of much bigger scene in Jakarta and Indonesia, and we try to support others that’s also in the scene making other activities but at the end we always come back to our own little scene at the house because we are most at home there.

So today, I have seen several new collectives and new stuff they make and still as inspiring as I remember they were but I don’t know about how it inspire the other kids at the scene itself.

06. What kind of music does you like the most?
I don’t know much about music genre, but my ears are quickly interested to powerful music with female vocals such as Tika & The Dissidents, Bjork, Amy Winehouse, Adele and lately I have been listening to Kimbra all the time.

07. Most favorite bands?
Radiohead, The Cure, Hark! It’s A Crawling Tar Tar!, Efek Rumah Kaca and Tika & The Dissidents.

08. What’s the best lesson you get from the punk scene here?
Fight. For your rights, ideas, space, happiness. Fight, because nobody will give it to you anyway.

And if we can Do It Yourself, we can always Do It Ourselves. I have been learning that waiting for something or someone do that to you just won’t do. Let the society get away with the choices that they’ve provide and made for you also won’t do. Only we know what we want and therefore only we can find a way to get them.

09. You also involved in the fan zine culture revolution back in the 90s, what makes you interest on it?
I like to write, and I have start writing my opinions back then when one night I got the chance to hold a Tigabelas fanzine through some friends that just got back from Bandung. Oh I was still remember that moment pretty clear actually because I was sitting at the back of the car and suddenly one of them gave it to me and said,

“Arian made this”

And when I see what’s in it and reading all those things he’s interested about I feel like, “See? He did this, I can do this too then.”

10. What’s the biggest enjoyment you get from the Peniti Pink era?
I don’t thing there are no ‘biggest’ enjoyment since everything about Peniti Pink Zine Distribution is pretty much that shaped me today too.
I learned about so many things not only distribution but also friendship, collectivity, politics, knowledges and of course making and distributing zine itself in general locally and internationally.

You see, I always see a zine like a person. It’s not like records or tshirts, although they all media but zine is different. In a zine, there is someone that want to tell their opinions, stories, feelings and ideas to other people out there that they wish one of them will understand. Often no matter how easy to get along person you are, you still find moments when you feel like nobody understand you. Your ideas, your feelings, your thoughts. Zine do this to me, and just it did to so many other people out there.

Despite this whole technology and how awesome it is to get people close from one to another, nothing will replace a handmade zine and the relationship we built because of it. I will always believe this and cherish all those moments when we’re still doing them although one day it maybe over.

11. And then we move to your recent work, what makes you think that the art of collage is a fun thing to do?
It feels familiar to me because when I make my zines, collage is my technique that I used since I have a really limited skill with computer design. All I need is just scissor and glue and some papers. Voila!

Then I start to being exposed to several artists that I used to visit their blog daily and start making my own collage like in 2008, and having my first exhibition and open my Etsy shop in 2009 with ten original pieces.

Today, I am trying to try use different materials and planning several exhibitions include a solo show in Yogyakarta in October and a new series exhibition in December.

12. Do you enjoy the creation process of it?
Very much, because I have been start doing everything from zero in terms of learning about it. Holding the scissor and play with the papers, putting them together and create something out of it.

13. If this is your latest baby, where is its position at the moment?
Haha! It’s interesting that you see called this “my latest baby” since I have been thinking to raise this one until it ready to go to the university, get married and settle down.

14. Is it a profitable business?
Absolutely, although it may not yet as profitable as I could just live out of it but lately the amount of exhibitions, custom orders and sales been increased wonderfully especially locally that I feel really confidence about this in my future and I will be able to live out of my art and craft for good.

15. Back to the creation process, what makes you turn on in doing it?
How easy yet how wonderful the result is.

16. What’s the philosophy of doing this thing as you’re probably now serving alternatives for people who’s surrounded by the massive department-store-look-alike culture?The philosophy?
That never occurred to me, since at the beginning is more about being inspired by several artists out there and later I try to do it my own and I succeeded. But at the same time I have been really into DIY stuffs all my life starting from zines, records, shows, etc. I have been learning that behind every single a DIY product you can sense someone’s spirit and passion and love in it, those that makes all those DIY stuffs will always be one of a kind to me.

17. Your works are crossing the country boundaries, ever think about it before?
Well, I decide to start open my shop in Etsy, Your place to buy and sell all things handmade, vintage and supplies, that automatically put me in the international market. It’s really gives me lots of good push to be able to sell my art to people all over the world, includes some wholesale order from Singapore and New Zealand. What do you feel now? Really good of course and given me more confidence towards my art and craft in the future.

18. What’s the most precious work you have done in this collage world?
That piece called Pretty Trashy, where it took me like a month in the making and make me realized how awesome it was to make art from trash. I used Indonesian paper packs for that piece and now I have made so many pieces with that materials and become one of my most recognizable materials apart from doily and used stamps.

19. If you have a chance to revise any of your previously done works, what type of work you want to revise?
Is works here also means doing things fanzine related? Because I don’t remember any regrets apart of I wish I can do them all sooner because they are so much fun!

At the moment I am still trying not to stop with my zine distribution, instead I have been thinking to continue it in a different kind of way. Let’s see how far I can go with it, shall we?

20. Is selling stuff in Etsy works well?
I think being in Etsy has given me so much more than just selling my stuff even from the beginning in 2009. I have been exposed to so many amazingly wonderful things in the art and craft world internationally not only for exhibitions, collaborations, but also trades and new friends from the other places of the world. The community sense of it is just mind blowing!

Today, apart I wish I could spend more time doing marketing and promotion for my works in Etsy, but at the same time I have also realized that it takes a lot of things to be a successful Etsy sellers that I don’t think I am ready to commit to them now. So the amount of my sales in Etsy been pretty good considering all those facts above.

21. What do you want to tell with your works now?
I make art and I love it. And I think you can do that too.

22. Do you have any other job or doing this thing is your main job nowadays?
I have other job of course, but today I will say they both equally important and no longer about my main or secondary job. I think to be able to finally live out of my art and craft is my biggest goal in life for the last couple of years and apart of I’m still have to do other job to make it happened, I’m going to choose the kind of job I like still.

23. Is this what you love the most?
Yes! I guessed I finally find what I want to do in my life! Make stuff and make friends. I would never thought that I finally find it and although I almost feel like “Am I too late to find this?” but I believe what’s the most important is to celebrate this moment. Every single second of it while it last.

To be finally feel ‘This is it’ is amazing.

24. What kind of message you want to tell people with your works?
Look what my fingers can do! Look what a scissor and glue can do!
Look what your fingers can do too!

I mean it’s really empowering to know that our fingers with scissor and glue can make lots of things. Things that we would never even thought before we can make them. I am pretty much a kind of just go for it! Person. Because I am really bad with plans and organizing, my way of making ideas happened is as simple as learning by doing all the way and see what happens.

25. What’s the future of this work?
The future to me is like 5 minutes from now. That’s how I see the future and from here it sure looks really good with that many exhibitions, custom orders and collaboration pieces.

And even if it turned out to be not that good after all, but at least I have find a work that it will keep me alive for a long time.

Whatever it is that we are creating: comix, zine, or maybe you are a doctor or you recycle wine bottles or something, you are keeping yourself alive. You are defending your soul- Free To Fight! An interactive self-defense project.

may 2012 By Ika Vantiani
Hungry Heart © 2014