Rudy Murdock is artist based in Indonesia, with great passion for art, music, food and motorcycles. Here is a recent interview with him reflecting on his artists journey.
Rudy, tell me a bit about yourself?
I was born in military family and there was a lot of discipline. I am happy because I chose arts, or arts chose me – and I am responsible for everything I choose. It was a big dilemma in my life – I wanted to study arts, however my parents had different opinion. I remember my mom told me: why do you want to go into arts? You will be poor! – It’s ok for me to be poor. This is my life and I am happy now, but it was a big discussion with my family. I became a rebel, was living in streets, playing death metal, then changed my mind to study graphics, and now I am happy because people pay me for what I love to do. And now my parents are proud and happy of me. I am fully responsible for my life.
I can’t imagine you in army…
They wanted me to join the army or the police. Maybe in Europe it is different, but here, in Asia, kids have to obey their parents and choose studies they may not like. I’ve talked about this many times when I am invited to give speeches to artists. I made a protest against this system, I call it a school for fools.
The same happens here in Europe. Parents choose their kid professions.
I have been thinking about this and talking about it with my friends. We can change the system only if we start within ourselves, our families, our friends. In Indonesia schools make all kids the same. They don’t think about individual kids, their skills or wishes. Schools just try to make them similar. I have not met a doctor who makes the same one recipe for every patient. How can it be with school – the same recipe for everyone.
So you went against your parents wishes and chose arts. Why do you draw or paint?
I don’t know, I just like to draw. I like arts, maybe arts chose me, not the other way around.
How did it happen? How did art choose you?
I think it is a gift from God. And art changed me a lot, it teaches to see, to feel everything around.
How did you start drawing?
In my mothers womb! I started as a kid and never stopped. I just liked drawing and I draw everywhere – in books, on table, on walls… And I haven’t stopped since.
Can you live without drawing?
oh, its impossible… I started as a kid and I think there wasn’t a single day in my life when I didn’t draw. It is like breathing. I just need it! My hands ask and my brain makes comments like: “drawing, drawing, drawing” or ok “painting now”.
You use different mediums like watercolors, pastels, acrylic, crayons – do you have some favorite one or you love to change them?
I still remember when I first time used watercolor, some twenty years ago. I used bricks, stone, earth to get natural pigment. I like to change mediums, I don’t want to be stuck in one technique. I want to try new style, to explore everything. Now I am starting again with watercolors because it is totally different, I feel them differently. Now I am using new acrylics – the same way as I use watercolors. For me various mediums is like life. I don’t do one thing all the time, I want to try everything. It is like making food, like cooking – I try different things.
How about music? Does it goes there as part of the life?
Yeah, well, I like guitar, I love heavy metal, but I say happy metal. I like it for playing. For everyday listening, I listen to different styles of music. But for playing heavy metal allows to make it as a protest. You can’t protest with balanced music. Heavy metal allows anger. I think it is right way to speak about social and political issues.
How about your visual art – do you see there some social and political things or is it very personal to you?
Some five years ago lots of my artwork was related to political and social problems. Many paintings had faces with sealed eyes and mouth – as they are blinded not to see and mute not to say what they think. Now my art is different. It is like my diary. I wanted to write one, but I just can’t, so I tell the story in my paintings and drawings. It is about myself, my life.
So, now it is that music is your external protest and drawing is about your inner life? Or not?
Some months ago I started to make my own music, my solo project. I play guitar for some bands with my friends, they play brutal death guitar. I am just playing there, I don’t make it. But in my solo project I make ambiance music, but still it is a metal. Some people call it a post modern metal. Most frequently post modern metal is related to science or history, I like it.
You said you can’t live without art, can you live without music?
Of course, not! Art is like eating for me, music is like drinking.
And where are your motorcycles?
They are my blood! There are very thin boundaries between art and music and motorcycles. Maybe there are no boundaries at all. And cooking at the end of the line!
Of course, cooking! Do you consider cooking as a form of art?
Yes, it is the same as art. There should be nice composition. For me it is the same. Many chefs are artists. Art can be everywhere. My mom is artist, because she is the best cook in the world. Football players are artists. They do football art.
Rudy, are you happy?
Of course, I am the happiest person on this earth.
But I know, sometimes you are not happy…
It is temporary and it is normal not to be happy all the time. Deep inside I am always happy.
So, if someone would ask you how to be happy, what would you say?
I don’t know how to be happy. Seems that everything can make me happy. I am just easy. You know it. Some people try to find happiness, but I don’t try to find it. I make my own happiness.
What is love for you?
It is like… it is a gift. A gift that people can’t deny. It is deeply, but it is a gift. Maybe a gift by God, but I don’t know. It is difficult to explain. It is like circles, don’t try to find love, because it will find you.
I like your last series of artwork. I think they are full of love. What is your explanation to your latest series?
Oh, love… No, that is too deep. There are a lot of codes in my latest series. Codes about me and I don’t want people to know them. You have to get something like enigma to solve those codes. I know that people like naive things. And I have been thinking about this, how to create that code. I want to make my art attractive, I know people try to understand the codes. Some weeks ago one of my friends said he wants to know the meaning of my work. I just told him: …*uck the meanings, don’t think about the meanings. Just look, feel, if you like it, it is attractive, then enjoy. It is about feelings without getting into mind. But some day I will give you the code, how to read my art. It is like playing music or like in movies about the war: they had different codes. It has always intrigued me, how to code and decode. So I put it into my art.
What do you think about death? Are you afraid to die?
I don’t think about death. I have no opinion. I want to live more than two hundred years. I don’t think so deep. I just live. I think about funny things. Think about things that make you happy, and you will live forever!