This guy contacted me because of his latest project “I Just Murdered The Alphabet“, which shows a crowd of mythical creatures surrounded by a cosmos of punchlines from old rap songs. With this he grabbed me. May I introduce: MEGA from Indonesia.
â€œThe unstoppable Force that is MEGA, a slogan straight from the streetart revolutionâ€œ is read as the intro on your presskit. What was the most significant point for you when you talk about streetart revolution?
This flattering statement was written by a journalist from Illustration Rally. They posted an extremely well written review about my art, so I decided to include it in my press kit presentation. About the street art revolution, I started to become actively involved in the world of art when I was a teenager. At the time I was painting the walls in my city and the trains of my area. We didn’t call it street art back then, and I was kind of an outcast in the graffiti movement. I was never interested in doing Wild Style letters myself, never attracted by all the B-boy imagery that was considered cool. I was doing my own stuff, which was seen as pretty new school back then. Today things have dramatically changed. Now you are trendy and cool when you’re a street artist, but in 98 people would just insult you for painting on walls. After a couple of years, I became myself more and more interested by illustration and design. I started to do stuff for magazines and books, reaching people that otherwise would never have seen my artworks. Today I feel like going back to writing, and I’m preparing a new project that will be executed on walls around the world.
Your artist name is MEGA, what makes your art mega?
I draw everyday, from the moment I wake up until I go to bed. My art is my life, not my hobby. I put the biggest attention in the slights detail of every piece. I’m not interested in doing 100 quick doodles, or one or two slick illustration a month. I want to do 100 slick artworks. I guess that makes me Mega.
Beside my illustrations, I also interview other artists on my website , manage my french representative blog and write as an official contributor on Lost At E Minor I believe in helping each others and building a network of talents.
You are active since 1998, how did it all started and what happened since 2012?
After my graffiti era, I started working as an art director for a french magazine. After a while I moved to another publication, and then another, ending up working for WAD. The problem with art direction was to manage some spare time to produce my own illustrations. I also like to travel and discover other cultures. So after 6 years I moved abroad in order to focus exclusively on my art. 2 years later I was asked to move to Australia to re-tink the visual orientation of Acclaim magazine. When my job was done I moved back to my art. I try my best to produce an outstanding project every single year. Since I first started, each and every year I was either the art director of a different title, the publisher of a graphic design book, or I organized an international touring exhibition like last year.
Your current art series called “I Just Murdered The Alphabet”. What is it all about?
In this project I explored the limitations of hand-drawn font design. I found inspiration in everything related to letters. From sign painting, to graffiti, to traditional typography, to psychedelic experimentations, and more. I wanted to be as exhaustive as possible. I took letters and distorted it in every way, juxtaposing 3 of 4 totally different styles on a single artwork, but maintaining a visual equilibrium and a graphic coherence. “I just murdered the alphabet” is also a quote by Eminem, so it was a good match for I was trying to achieve.
This project also refers to elements from hip-hop culture. What connection do you have to Hip Hop?
I’m –% Hip-Hop. Put the number you wantâ€¦ I love different kinds of music, from Afro-Beat to Soul to Hip-Hop. Somehow my artworks have indeed an inner urban vibe.
My project I Just Murdered The Alphabet , was a link to my interest in Hip-Hop culture. The series introduces characters who are an imaginary group of young people called La SociÃ©tÃ© Des Griffeurs. Those kids are suburban outcasts who move to the jungle of Borneo in order to create a ideal society. Without any formal education, they use hip-hop punchlines in order to build their own philosophy. I Just Murdered The Alphabet is the first installment of a whole story I’ll develop through several exhibitions. In my future shows, you’ll learn what happen to those kids.
Who are your role models?
I respect every artist who is fully committed to what he does. Look at people like Robert Crumb, Tupac Shakur, or Futura 2000. Those guys don’t do art. They live art. I don’t really consider anyone as a role model, I dig my own path. But as I said, I respect people who don’t enter the game for fake motivations. Money, fame, or blings are not reasons why you do what you do. You do it because you simply cannot breath if you stop.
You said that you already worked for publications such as the WAD magazine, Acclaim, and Kink. What was the most exciting project in your career as an artist so far?
The most exciting project is always the next one. When I work on something new, I tend to be totally focussed on it, and I don’t spend much time looking back on what I did in the past. I have a couple of nice memories of course. One of 2011 highlights was the Carbon event in Melbourne. I met inspiring people such as Futura, Bobby Hundreds, Greg from Mishka, Frank from Hypebeast, and all the other attendees. Another rewarding moment was the GTR racing car I designed in Kuala Lumpur, or the Vinyl Toy I did for Kid Robot/Laced.
In addition to art and illustrations for magazines you do the artwork for Skateboards, toys and T-shirts. Do you plan to do more in one of these areas?
I definitively love to work on products. For example, when you do a skateboard or a T-shirt, you have to figure out how your artwork can stay relevant on the medium you are working on. Technical constraints are a good way to force creativity and to explore new approaches. In a near future I will release more garments products, and I’m looking for toys to design.
How do you assess the current development in the street segment?
I plan to start painting on walls again very soon, as an extension of the story I started on paper.
In Germany, the trend is noticeably going back to traditional graffiti. How is it in Indonesia?
In Indonesia most writers are doing traditional pieces, because the art is still new here. Germany was always a few steps ahead the other European countries when it comes to anything visual. Germany, Holland, or Switzerland always produced the best European font makers, and the most creative graphic designers. This also applies to graffiti. Besides, Germany has some of the best graphic design publishers in the world. Die Gestalten Verlag was a major influence when I worked as an art director.
Youâ€™ve travelled a lot in your life. Which place was for you and your art one of the most inspiring?
I used to live in Brazil, in Argentina, in Australia, and I now live in Indonesia. Every country brought a different experience, and probably left a mark in my artworks. I like to discover different cultures and to learn new languages. Every language shapes the world around you, so the more you speak, the more you see.
In October, you exhibit with the â€œI Just Murdered The Alphabet” series in the Sergeant Paper Gallery in Paris. Are you going on tour with the show?
The show will be presented exclusively in Paris at Sergeant Paper. My 2011 touring exhibition brought me to Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Berlin, Paris, and Marseille. This year I wanted to focus on one huge show, with a lot of surprises. I think your readers should all book a ticket to Paris for October 2012, because they don’t want to miss it.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m preparing collaborations with several t-shirt brands. I just finished an artwork for a show organized by Artoyz this summer. I will be the guest artists on the next issue of l’Attrape RÃªve, and I work on some other still-secret projects.
What is on your agenda for the future?
Right now I’m still in my office in Bali / Indonesia. In the meantime I’ll keep posting one drawing every day on my blog for the next 5 months. I plan to come back to Paris mid-September in order to finish the installation of my show in October. I may come back to Melbourne in early 2013, but nothing is 100% confirmed yet. Keep checking my blog for fresher newsâ€¦
Thanks so much MEGA.