Artistic Interpretation – (New Straits Times Paper)

What exactly is quality artwork ? Kasmiah Mustapha talks to three artists to find out

What exactly is quality artwork? Kasmiah Mustapha talks to three artists to find out
THEY thrive on creating quality works that can be appreciated by art enthusiasts. However, artists Raja Lope Rasydidi, Syam Asmawi and Ali Nurazmal, agree that quality is subjective and that it is up to the public to interpret whether their artworks are of good quality or otherwise.

Ali, 33, defines the quality of his works as evolving along with his journey as an artist and human being. “I was initially influenced by the works of other artists. I followed their trends and I learned from them. But as my understanding of style, skill and ideas changed, my works changed. Now they are more inventive and creative. Quality also depends on the passage of time and a person’s journey as a human being and artist.
“When I started at age 15, the quality of my pieces were not what they are now. I used to follow my instincts and painted without understanding the techniques. After my training at Universiti Teknologi Mara, I began to understand the need to change my style. My work, style and ideas have developed naturally from my experience.
“But I am still exploring myself. To me, art is about inventing, creating, having a great impact and being appreciated by people.”
Raja Lope, 39, says he has been creating quality works for 20 years. He puts all his ideas and efforts into creating works that are different but leaves them to the interpretation of others.
“The works of emerging artists are based on the time spent doing it, the medium they use, the techniques, style and process. To me, quality is also in ourselves, on whether we give 100 per cent to our work or not. When I produce something, I want it to have quality and I will give it my all.
“But I understand if people do not see my works as quality. Quality is subjective and it is up to a person to interpret the quality of an artwork.”

Raja Lope says his works are a mix of landscape, fantasy and science fiction. “Some people want something different from the norm. Everyone has imagination and creativity while they were growing up. But they tend to forget that as they grow older. I want to bring them back to the memories of their childhood through my paintings.
“For example, people may not understand why I paint a unicorn in space. But everyone knows that unicorn is a myth and it can be anywhere you want it to be.”
Syam, 38, says some people define quality as a combination of the artist’s name, ideas, preparation and the work. “Others look for techniques, colours and strokes. I see it as the overall process — from the research and preparation right down to the execution. However, positive and negative comments do not bother me. I use it to improve my works.”
Both Raja Lope and Syam have been involved in art for more than 20 years, but they only started taking part in exhibitions at the end of last year. Despite their experience, they are still considered emerging talents.
As for Ali, he is considered a mid-career artist and he has taken part in 57 shows including two solo shows in 2009 and 2010.

Core Design Gallery art director Scarlette Lee says the quality of an artwork is determined by three main factors: Ideas, skills
and effort.
“Imagination, creativity and even intellectualism is part of the ideas for contemporary art. For example, Damien Hirst was creative in turning a shark into an art piece. His talents lie in installation art, not painting. He has pushed the boundaries of what you see is what you get.”
She says skills can vary from one artist to another — the mediums they use, such as oil, acrylic, watercolour or even airbrushing, the style they master (landscape, figurative, abstract) as well as the composition, use of colour, strokes and the style.
As for effort, artists nowadays are no longer painting or making art without proper research. Some have even gone into science to bring it into fine art. Sometimes it can take months from having an idea to conceptualisation, process and development before perfecting the final painting.
“However, at the end of the day one can always tell the quality of an artwork if the person has gone to numerous art shows to scout and hunt for artworks. Then it will come down to instinct and possibly luck to see which emerging talent will be good enough to go to the next level of being a mid-career artist.”

Obviously Raja Lope, Syam and Ali have been exploring and expanding their ideas, skills and efforts. Raja Lope’s painting entitled The Long Vacation features a unicorn floating in space. He is also among the few local artists who can bring out the realism of the animation world.
Ali’s One In A Million painting of a half green and half red giant apple may seem like a painting anyone can do. But he has used his skills and ideas to encourage people to look beyond the obvious.
Syam pays homage to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in his painting entitled Thanx Bro 1. The rope and USB sticking to Zuckerberg’s head are symbols of how people are connected through the social media network and the ingenuity of the person who created it.
All three and another artist, Faizal Suhif, are taking part in the Cirque Du Freak exhibition until Jan 11.
Cirque du Freak Exhibition

Where: Core Design Gallery, 87, Jalan SS 15/2A, Subang Jaya, Selangor
When: Until Jan 11, 2012. Monday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm
For appointment: Call Scarlette Lee (012-611 7976)
Featured artists: Ali Nurazmal, Raja Lope Rasydidi, Syam Asmawi, Faizal Suhif

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