Teletubbies tied up with iron chains and penises perturbing from Doraemon’s eyes? These are some of the mask pieces by Bali-based artist Pinkygurl. Her inspiration comes from the popular symbols that millennials are familiar with, but instead of presenting a nostalgic memory, she does everything she can to distort your childhood friends and bless them with a twisted yet kinky soul. Subtropical Asia interviewed Pinkygurl to see how she uses mask creation to realize the grotesque world in her mind.

Pinkygurl wears her self made masks

Subtropical Asia: We know you as a mask designer. Can you tell us why you design mask? What opportunity made you started the creation of mask?

It started when I just start to date my now husband Ican Harem, he asked me to help him to make a mask for his performance. I studied fashion design in university, but I never made a mask before, and this was the first time I explore into mask making. And after I made one, I realized that I enjoyed it a lot, and how much I actually don’t enjoy making clothes. And my body sort of just move itself and made another one the next day, and then another one, and another one. Completely addicted.

How would you personally describe the aesthetic characteristics of your mask work?

Distorted. sometimes funny, sometimes horror, sometimes both, I called it GENYON.

We see a lot of pop culture symbols in your mask, such as doraemon, telebubbies, LV logo, etc. Also many really kinky weird stuff, can you tell us where your inspiration comes from?

In my childhood, I spent a lot of time at home. I’m the only child, a girl, had bad immune system, and born in an Asian household, a deathly combo of guaranteed stay home a lot haha.

So I spent lot of time reading books, mangas, watching cartoons, and playing video games. There used to be books rental and movie rental nearby my school, and I just abused my allowance money to rent these stuff.

My work aims to channel my desire to actualizing what’s always inside my head, physical manifestation the world in my mind, making my own sets of human, my own sets of creatures. And I find it really interesting to make it from things that are relevant to myself, things that I like when I was a child. To distort what people already familiar with. Mixing things up.  This internet era is twisting the pure, merging of cultures. There’s no more traditional standard, the possibilities are endless and I’m loving it.

You have a mask work which designed with sanitary napkins that impresses us a lot! Can you tell me the story of this work? Do you try to send out some feminist message?

The narration is actually created when I upgraded that mask into a life-size sanitary napkins human doll. This became an installation I did for Biennale Jogja. And I made the installation simulating a living room, with an all red fabric backdrop all the way from the top ceiling to the floor, covering all surfaces with red, creating a cocoon like surface.

PInkygurl with her sanitary napkin human doll in Biennale Jogja

Not necessarily a feminist message, but it’s a pretty personal message, more about extreme paranoia that I sometimes have, and I just wanted to recreate that moment of irrational train of thoughts, symbolizing it as heightened menstrual craze phase, something that’s naturally happen to every women, but yet to think about it, it’s a pretty extreme thing to happen in a human body right? It’s like, vagina bleeding every fucking month. Imagine that happen to men. He gotta be put in ICU right away.

Does traditional Indonesian culture or folklore in Bali have an impact on your mask design?

Kind of? But not directly. I always thought that the place where the artists based in, is always play a pretty major part in the art creation. But I did a couple of work of reinterpreting of folklore creature. Which were pretty fun to do, and I want to develop more into it as I love tales and fables too. This is my mask work my version of leak mask. ( In the folklore of Bali, the Leak is a mythological figure in the form of a flying head with entrails  still attached.)

Usually how long it takes for you to finish a mask. And where do you get the material?

Usually in between 3 days to 7 days. The way I make my mask is spontaneous, it’s either I go strolling first, sightseeing materials, then an idea come up. Or I had a concept in mind and I go look for material that’s very specific. I like going to a wholesaler, second hand shop looking for bootleg items. To me all these tacky stuff is very interesting. I really really like playing with “guilty pleasures”——Things/aesthetics/music/culture that you suppose to hate, but deep down you love it.Doing shit that’s so bad that it’s good.

The custom made mask for Shanghai music producer 33EMYBW

We know that you have just married. Your husband is Ican, the vocalist of Gabber Modus Operandi. He is also a crazy fashion designer. Do you influence each other in artistic creation? What is the impact?

Funny thing, one year before I met my husband, when I was still an aspiring fashion designer,I put him in my presentation slide as my reference, to a panel of judges for a competition held by harpers bazaar and I was like “I WANT ANARCHY FOR MY BRAND”. I only told my husband this story a week after we got married.

Pinkygurl and her husband Ican Harem

Me and Ican, we both are like mentor to each other. I’m actually his sewing teacher, and he’s teaching me his experiences. Since we have the same sense of humor and taste, both of our job become like a partnership, we collaborate, we discuss ideas and techniques etc.

Ican Harem wears his own design suit

You are one of the organizers of Bali underground art festival Ravepasar, and you also know many local artists. Can you describe about the underground culture scene in Bali ?

My first experience with the underground music scene was with Chaos Musica, they are a collective in Bali that has been consistently presenting experimental music for already 3 years. Early Gabber Modus Operandi gigs was also with Chaos Musica. After Gabber Modus Operandi went booming, the underground scene in Bali is heating up. My friends produce more music, then Chaos Musica presented a 3 day festival, even though the production wasn’t very good, but the initiative was very much appreciated and thus leads to the making of Ravepasar.

With Ravepasar we wanted to see how far can we push our boundaries despite the limitation that we have, to have a 12-hour presentation of experimental music, club music, performance art, and fashion, without sponsor but still deliver with good production, great sound, lighting, visual, complete with art installations.  And we did it, although there was a shortcoming of bad luck with the police.

Ravepasar, a festival organized by a crew of creative maniacs in Bali

Ican Harem at Ravepasar

After Ravepasar, Chaos Musica did a gig on 2nd of march presenting Senyawa, and finally they did ticketing. When I came in, the sound was good, the lineup was amazing, and they really amped up on the visual. It was beautiful, I was really happy.

Then there’s also Orbitware. Orbitware is a pretty new collective, previously it only run by one guy, now there’s 2 female DJ and I also joined as the visual artist. While Chaos Musica is more experimental music, we Orbitware are the more clubby side of it. And recently we just starting to make more regular events, and our DJ starting to produce music, especially now that we are in quarantine.

Is there any long-term plan for your mask design career? What are you doing besides mask designing?

Being a mask designer is just a gimmick. I found an opportunity to make something that can still fulfill my thirst in creating something outrages but at the same time able to give me an income. I got people who wanted to custom order, and people who bought my mask, my job is still very niche especially in my country and it created a unique opportunity for me. Not only in art, but I can dive into other genre of the creative industry as well. I can touch on music, fashion, and film.

My most recent project is actually a collaboration with a fashion designer in Jakarta, and I made him all the accessories for his show in march, although sadly right now the show is postponed.

And that’s what I love about putting my position as a mask artist, that I got to play with so many possibilities but meanwhile I’m still on the same road to my main dream, I want to fill up a whole room or even a building where I can create my kind of human, the animals, the creatures, create my own kind of decors, the furniture, all the wall, the lighting, I want to stage the whole room/building to be like “welcome to my head”. But this will take time, a lot of money to produce. Right now I’m just doing it bits by bits, my biennale installation is the ‘on budget’ introduction of what I want to do.

How has Coronavirus affected Bali and your personal life in the past few months?

It’s weird and scary, I already have bad feelings about this since the news broke out in China, and I’m the type that don’t really care about global news. Indonesia’s medical system is bad, and the way our government handling this is grim. It’s weird right now that just to be able to feel safe is such a luxury.

So we’ve just been staying home now, me and Ican, all our jobs got postponed. Our minds were a bit disoriented, the mood to create just wasn’t there, and we just been cooking a lot, and played video games. Probably the only industry that will thrive in this pandemic is the gaming industry lol. And I might pick up a skill as a dog hairstylist ^.^ JALU THE WARLORD =

Pinkygurl’s dog Jalu

But we’ve set up a mini studio in our home now, the rage to create is slowly coming back again.

More weird stuff from Pinkygurl, follow her on Instagram

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