As we know, Affandi started out his fascination with art through drawing but after the years, he embarked onto oil painting. By 1940, Affandi has been considered to be painting seriously as a profession. He had at various times been a housepainter and a billboard artist and to save costs, he would save paints left over from these jobs to paint landscapes in his own time. Soon after he has accumulated a few notable artworks, he tried exhibiting and to his surprise, those paintings were actually selling.
At this point of time, he was already married to Maryati, a fellow artist as well. With his wife’s consent, he made a decision to devote the first ten days of each month to his trade, and the remaining twenty to his art. It is impressive how Affandi was able to do so much from just an interest in art. If you seek to know the teachers that helped him through his career, it would be those few reproductions that he saw in copies of Studio, an art magazine from London which he was able to get a hold on to at one time. He did not have any notable ‘teachers’ that was with him and taught him the basics and ways of the art or showed him to his style that he has discovered.
However, through the magazine, he did felt a kinship with the Impressionists for example, Goya and Edvard Munch or even the earlier masters like Breughel and Botticelli. This might be the catalyst to his newly-discovered style. Like most expressionists artists, Affandi focuses more on the reality of life; the naked and harsh truth of his surroundings portrayed onto his artworks. Although these types of paintings more often than not sparked controversy among the public, Affandi continue with his philosophical ways and his style of paintings despite many criticism he has received. Spoken by Affandi himself, he prefers his paintings or artworks to be expressive rather than painting beautiful objects for he found the greatest inspiration from expressive paintings.
At one time he also wished that people would at least learn a little from these artworks he had created. During 1949 to 1951, Affandi travelled and painted in India where this was mentioned to be one of his most creative years in his career. From there, he went to Europe, showing his paintings at the major capitals, among them Paris, London, Brussels and Rome.
He has even visited the United States almost three times, teaching at Ohio State University and painting a mural at the East-West Center in Hawaii. Affandi has travelled far and wide through many continents to publicize his works and this has shown positive results where he has begun to make his appearance at the Sao Paulo Biennale and then, travelling to Asia to do a series of paintings for an art collector in Japan. By this time, he was already planning for a trip around the world.
These years went by and he was already considered to be one of the many renowned artists who have participated in various exhibitions abroad. Besides India, Affandi has also displayed his works in the Biennale in Brazil, Sao Paulo, and Venice where he won an award at the latter.
In around 1957, he even received a scholarship from the United States government to study arts education; something which he has not done before since the start of his interest in art during his teenage years. After which, he was appointed as an Honorary Professor in Painting by Ohio State University in Columbus. Soon after, in 1974, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of Singapore, the Peace Award from the Dag Hammarskjoeld Foundation, and finally the title of Grand Maestro in Florence, Italy.
[Affandi, Self Portrait, 1997, stamp]
I was deeply inspired to write on Affandi as his career through art has emotionally affected me; seeing how he has his own ups-and-downs. He was very much like all of us and one extraordinary thing he did was to develop his own art style without any guidance or assistance from art institutions during his early years. He has shown to be one of the most unyielding artists of his time and it has shown great inspiration for me to write about him. After researching and getting to know deeply upon this artist, it sort of gave me a new life to pursue and strive forward in this harsh but worthwhile journey of studying art. I find great joy in writing this essay on the said artist due to the fact that I am proud, that here in Southeast Asia, we also have artists who are widely renowned in their own aspects of an artist.
We, as artist, do not always have our way with life but when that small miracle happens during our career as an artist, at that moment in time, all of the hardships you have faced before will seem to vanish and in your heart, you know it was worth the time. I, for one, love to end my essay on a quote that represents my whole feeling of this topic and that is, “It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.”
East-West Center, East-West Treasures, Selected Works from the Permanent Collection, East-West Center, Honolulu, 2010, p. 8-9. – 25/03/2015, 6:05pm Tim Narasi (2009). 100 Tokoh Yang Mengubah Indonesia (Revised ed.). Narasi. ISBN 9789791681537. – 1/04/2015, 6:06pm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affandi – 1/04/2015, 6:07pm
http://www.nytimes.com/1990/05/25/obituaries/affandi-painter-83.html – 1/04/2015, 7:08pm http://www.affandi.org/ – 1/04/2015, 7:09pm