Macan meets Bernandi Desanda
On a cool summer night in Yogyakarta, we crossed paths with the Indonesian artist Bernandi Desanda (@berbrain__). Spontaneously, he invited us to his nearby studio. In true Javanese fashion, we hopped on a scooter and made our way. When we arrived at the studio, his beloved pets welcomed us instantly. Bernandi showed us work-in-progress while we spoke about our mutual appreciation for fantastical creatures. After the memorable studio visit, our conversation continued online and led to an honest back-and-forth.
In this "Macan meets ..." interview with Bernandi Desanda, we explore his art practice through the eyes of the tiger. (Also, thanks to the Avant Arte community on Discord for sharing your thoughts with us.)
Starting with the core, why are you into drawing tigers, animals and mythical creatures?
Since I was a kid, I like to draw creatures that I often see near me or on television. In the past, I liked Steve Irwin the most. My admiration was born since then. Seeing various forms of animals enables me to form a space of my imagination. This leads to combining the forms of one animal with another. Ohh, I like dinosaurs too. They are AMAZING!!
We noticed that your husky Rosie seems to be one of your biggest supporters! Sitting next to you and curiously watching you paint. How do your dogs influence/participate in your art practice?
I really like animated series with the theme of humans and their pets, such as Pokemon, Digimon, Monster Rancher, etc. Ever since, I have longed for a pet that is loyal and understands how I feel. I found that in Rosie. She seems to understand what I am doing and is faithful to accompany me. I feel like she is a wolf Pokemon haha 😂 It makes me excited to work.
Is there a specific memory or feeling you’d like to express with your work?
Of course. Everything is connected with my feelings and my life journey. The changes that happened in my artistic journey always have reasons and factors that affect each other. All must be told sequentially, from the beginning to the present.
Walk Bravely in a Scary World by Bernandi Desanda, 2021
Looking back at your previous works, there has been quite a bit of variation in styles. How would you describe your style and art practice?
I can draw whatever I want. This has been my principle since the beginning. My work always changes for some reasons and factors depending on what I want to convey in my work. I think that art is very comprehensive and it would be very boring if it only sticks to one style. The characters inside my work are not common shapes. Rather they consist of lines and emotions because my painting patterns are expressive.
Whisper From Another Dimension by Bernandi Desanda, 2022
How has your art practice evolved over the years?
There are many factors that influence me — from the dark times of my life, depression and the pressures I feel from the environment around me. I feel that it has strengthened me and made me who I am today. When I started to rise, my work changed too. Now I only think about what I like: fun childhood memories, fantasies and awesome monsters. This is what I’m doing now.
The hypnotising grainy eyes in your recent works make us curious about your vision. Any thoughts on how it will develop in the coming years?
For me, the eye is one of the most beautiful parts of creatures. It has different colours and shapes. I'm always amazed and feel grateful for it. I don't know what will happen in my life and how it will affect my work in the future. It’s still a mystery. But one thing is for sure: I will keep doing my work, no matter what happens. Let everything change naturally and my work will be a great surprise!
Matur nuwun/thank you Bernandi for sharing your perspective! ✌️
Macan Meets ...
In the "Macan meets …”-series, Macan goes out in the wild to explore mythical perspectives through studio visits, dialogues, anecdotes and artworks. We ask likeminded artists to express their practice through the eyes of the tiger.