Wayan Budiarta

Born in Batuan, Wayan Budiarta is a young artist whose art has been inspired by the traditional Batuan painting style. Having strong roots in his hometown’s style, his works still illustrate many stories about religion and Balinese life, with detailed features and fine lines, which are often combined with modern iconography. Meanwhile, the narrations for his paintings do not always follow traditional storylines, having been reinterpreted creatively to voice his thoughts.
How did you become an artist?
It was just a hobby at first. When I was a kid, I really loved to doodle. Then, my surroundings, as my father and grandfather were also Batuan painters. It was not until I was 9 years old that I was introduced to traditional painting techniques and elements by my father, from the Balinese ornamental motifs, to the Batuan painting style itself. However, my father didn’t direct me to be a painter. He taught me, at least the basics of Balinese traditional pinting in general, so that I would know the culture and traditions we Balinese have.
Why do you choose to keep painting in a traditional way?
I didn’t choose. I let it be, and I enjoy it. It also applies to my works as it doesn’t really follow the traditional way of painting. I don’t want to position my works as either traditional or modern. It’s up to the audiences to judge it. What matters is that my works begin from a thick tradition. Technically, these works still go through the processes of painting in Batuan style, starting from ngortenan (sketches), nyawi (giving outlines on sketches), ngucek (giving gradations), manyunin/sigar mangsi (giving layers of gradations), to coloring.
So, your art does maintain the traditional style, but also allows a modern touch in it?
I try to be honest on each of my works. I try to describe what I’m experiencing right now. Instead of wiping out the past, I let it be a lesson. After all from what I know, the Batuan style we know today was a breakthrough of the young people in the early 30s, something new at that time. In a nutshell, renewal is not a strange thing anymore. The important thing is to not forget where we started.

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