Whose Canvas: Rio Saren

Gifted with impressive talent, Rio Saren is one Balinese artists to be reckoned with. Being a college dropout did not set him back. Instead, it advanced him. By following his instinct, he found another world that would inspire him to take art seriously.
Tell us a brief background about yourself.
I studied electrical engineering when I was in high school, and I went to ISI in Denpasar afterwards. But then, I dropped out of college on my seventh semester since I felt that the art world outside the college’s walls was a more interesting challenge.
Did you have people that helped you go through your art career?
I found my inspirational figures from art books. From these books, I also ‘met’ many of the world’s great artists whom I can’t mention one by one here. But then, my main inspiration is actually myself. It’s the thought of being a great artist that inspired me a lot.
How do you find the themes of your works?
My themes flow accordingly with my art process. My memories which are shown through my visual works have represented the themes I worked on over the years. In this solo exhibition, for instance. “Awaiting Light” is the theme I have as I was inspired by the moonlight. This idea lured me to observe the moon that lit up the sky. I recorded it, and I transferred it into my works.
Talking about style, what is yours?
I can’t tell what my art style is since I’m not qualified for it. There are art observers who can determine it properly, and they are the ones who can define my art style. In the end, there are many who say that my art is decorative surrealism. It represents my way of working as I like to decorate and fill up the empty spaces on my work. I love to fantasize about and interpret the objects into new things, making it seems more like decorative surrealism.
And what do you think about your media?
My media is very diverse. It can be canvas, and it can be other object like garbage that I twisted to be a work full of aesthetics. I think that every medium I utilize contains some kind of history that can’t be seen by the naked eye. It’s challenging for me to dig deeper, so that my visual art can represent its essence.
Tell us about your ongoing solo exhibition.
My third solo exhibition was very well-prepared. It took me almost three years to prepare everything, so that it could make it into a gallery this year. The exhibition was titled “Awaiting Light”. Interestingly, it was opened on the day of the new moon. On the opening night, the moonlight didn’t come out. It was some kind of metaphor; when we want to see the light better, see it from a dark place. In a symbolization of life, it means that the darkness often presented in a human being is a sign that the light of life will be arriving soon.


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