About Dion Wicaksono
Hi. I'm Dion. Your trusted agent. I like music, drinking beers, reading books and writing stuffs.
Nyoman Masriadi probably is the most-sought after and the most expensive artist alive in Indonesia. In October, 2008, his painting entitled “Man from Bantul (The Last Round)”, depicted above, was sold for no less than Rp. 10 Billion ($ 1.08 Mill in today’s currency rate) at Hong Kong Sotheby’s; a record for Southeast Asian artists (until 2010 when the same auction house managed to sell Lee Man Fong’s “Bali Life” for $3.24 Million). Just few months prior to that, his another painting, “Sudah Biasa Ditelanjangi” (I loosely translated it as “Being Stripped Naked on Regular Basis”), had been sold for half that amount.
Nyoman Masriadi was born in Gianyar, Bali in 1973. He studied art for several years in ISI Yogyakarta (Yogyakarta Art Institute). Coming to Yogyakarta was probably one of the best decisions he’s ever made, for it’s that city–instead the one he hails from–with its vibrant contemporary art scene and peculiar vibe that honed Masriadi’s creative flair to its finest.
His second best decision is to discard altogether Balinese forms from his work. Bali is well-known for its traditional, culture-related paintings: the two-tonal poleng pattern, Hindu’s divine and not so divine creatures, abstract color play etc. Not a single hint of all of that can be traced in his known works (I’m not being a smart-ass here, I’m just a layman of art, so I can be wrong. Maybe there’s still a hint, but I just don’t see it.)
This self-uprooting of oneself from a tradition so great is not an easy feat to pull. And surely, there’s always a price to pay. Masriadi was the only one of Yogyakarta-based Balinese artists who didn’t get the share of the limelight when Bali-style paintings took Indonesia art market with a bang in the first half of the 2000s, a revival of similar boom that took place several decades earlier.
I heard that he’s being hit pretty bad financially for not joining the frenzy (at least in form of “lost profits”). While his contemporaries were busy painting barongs and rangdas in order to ride the wave while it’s there, Masriadi indulged himself in his hobby playing PC/PlayStation games and reading comics, from which his grotesque, stocky, comical figures later known as his trademark sourced from.
Yes, he’s a game addict. Many sources have reported that when he’s not painting, Masriadi would spent all day playing games. He’s a mean player and a die-hard fan of Blizzard’s Warcraft: Defend of The Ancients or DoTA, a game he loves so much that he decided to create “Magina”, an 150 x 200 cm acrylic on canvas, that depicts one of his favorite character in the game from which the work took its name.
Nowadays, Masriadi could reminisce the time when he had to cramp his works along other paintings in Ubud Art Market (when no one bought, even when its cheap) with a big smile on his face. Now, to have his painting you have to shove your way among notable collectors in an auction, dig deep into your pocket, or steal one from one of the collectors’ home.
Not bad for a game addict, huh? To see the (almost) complete works of Nyoman Masriadi, you can head here
All pictures are copyrighted to Nyoman Masriadi and displayed here only for information sake!