That rainy Saturday evening, 16 March 2019, was a memorable day for the painter Arya Trimni Putra. Wrapped in all black clothes – black long sleeves shirt and trousers, the neat and tidy man could not hide the feeling of happiness and accomplishment from his face. All of his hard work, persistence, and pain was going to be paid off. The moment has finally arrived when the Vice Director of Indonesian Record Museum (Museum Rekor Indonesia, MURI), Osmar Susilo Semesta, as the representative of the organization, awarded the acknowledgment letter Number 8891 to Arya Trimni Putra as a painter who produces the most paintings in 30 days. The awarding event was held at Sudakara ArtSpace, the gallery space of Sudalamala Suites & Villas, Sanur-Bali; attended by hotel representatives, journalists, and art lovers.
The project to create 1000 abstract paintings in 30 Days, which is summed up in a title “Art is Unlimited” started on 15 February 2019, with the launching event held on the Valentine’s Day, one day before. Sudamala Suites & Villas provided their gallery Sudakara ArtSpace for the workspace, where Arya worked on a daily basis from 10am until 10pm. Arya ArtWorld, as the painter’s management, provided all the needs from canvases, oil painting, to logistics.
During the launching event media conference, Arya revealed the reason behind the choice of Valentine’s Day as the starting date of his project, at the same time, opened up a bit about his life story and how he chose paintings as the way he dedicates the rest of his life.
It Can’t End Just Like That on Valentine’s Day
You are right. It is a phrase from the movie The Lake House (2006). Having pulled the phrase out of its context of the movie, that phrase crossed my mind when listened to Arya’s story. Growing up in a family business, Arya had a career as a psychologist in Surabaya until the life-changing moments happened. In 2001, several years before the movie was released, Arya lost his pregnant wife on Valentine’s Day, just a few months after his mother passed away in November previous year.
In deep grief and sadness, Arya locked up himself in his room for almost two weeks, barely not even touch his food. His family and friends were worried about him. One day, one of his friends brought him a canvas, oil painting, and a guide book to paint; put it in front of his room. Arya picked up the canvas and expressed his feeling in the form of art. Having no background in art, what he expressed on the canvas steal the attention of the buyer to purchase the painting.
He was, at first, reluctant about the idea of selling it. If someone bought it, then what’s the money for, he thought. “Well, it’s up to you. But, you can use the money to help those in need,” Arya recited his friend’s answer. He agreed with the idea. After receiving the money from his first painting, they strolled around the city of Surabaya and at around 10pm met a man selling traditional toys for kids. They chatted for a while and the man said that he would not go home without some money in hand. Arya decided to help the man and went home together for a visit. That moment changed Arya’s life as he decided to spend the rest of his life as a painter and help those who in need through the arts he creates.
Keeping his unconditional love for those three people he loves most, Arya continues his journey of life with canvas and brushes in hand. He held exhibitions in some cities in Java, painted prominent figures, and in 2019 be a record holder.
Art is Unlimited is one of his ways to remember and show his unconditional love for people he loves as well as show his commitment to helping others. Any purchases of his abstract paintings in Art is Unlimited will be donated to Yayasan Sayangi Bali, a non-profit organization in Bali which saves and takes care of babies abandoned by unmarried couples.
People laugh at you at first, then appreciate your efforts, support you towards your goals, and finally clap hands for your success.
Arya’s mission to fill the 1000 blank canvases in four different sizes wasn’t an easy journey. Having set a plan to finish a minimum of 34 paintings per day, he painted only 10 on the first day. “I was so nervous and uninspired that day. I wished to get support from friends and my manager I Made Putra Suardana asked for support from many people, but the first reaction from most people was impossible or are you joking?” Arya shared the experience.
It was from the hotel’s guests or people visiting the gallery that Arya got the spirit to keep going. Some of them encouraged him that he will make it. It was also from them he got inspirations for his paintings. “The colors of their clothes, patterns, and small details of what I see every day at Sudamala are some inspirations for those paintings.”
I once made a visit at the beginning of March and was informed that the number reached over 400 paintings. Wearing a red t-shirt with Puma logo on the front side, for me, it looked like representing his spirit and motivation, he shared with me that the inspiration for the day was Jackson Pollock. While working on the canvases, he also shared about the people who visit him, and his activities of watching movies like The Greatest Showman during the night after painting day to keep the positive vibe on. He was fine and in good shape, I thought.
Later after the awarding event, the manager who is familiarly called as Mangku Putra shared the most critical moment of the process. It was on one day during the final week, Arya felt so inspired, and he kept painting for almost 24 hours non-stop. “Arya asked me to go home because he was worried that I did not get enough rest. But, it was him that I was worried more. I was worried about his condition to the point that Arya did not know that I had booked an ambulance to be ready somewhere near Sudamala. Thankfully, everything was fine, and he set a new daily record of finishing 135 paintings in a day,” said Mangku Putra.
From Indonesia to the World
After spending 144 cans of oil paintings for this record-breaking, Arya is now looking for a possibility to spend more cans to put his name on the Guinness World Records. One of his supporter, who visited him while completing the 1000 paintings, challenged him to go further. And, the idea is to paint 2000 paintings in 30 days for Guinness.
Beyond all his motivation and dedication to the people he loves, Arya sees the opportunity as a bigger place to resonate more his mission of spreading the message to his fellow artists: “In art especially, a human cannot be replaced by a machine. Now machine can produce faster, in a large number in a short period of time, but machine don’t have the emotions, the personal touch to art.”
I personally hope he will make it, too.