Arkiv Vilmansa reimagines beloved pop culture figures through his engrossing paintings and art objects. Like many artists, he’s interested in the relationship between his childhood and adult selves.
Vilmansa wasn’t always a professional artist, though. In fact, he didn’t begin dabbling in art professionally until well after he completed college.
Curious? We were, too, so we uncovered more about what makes Arkiv Vilmansa tick.
Let’s dig in!
About Arkiv Vilmansa
Arikiv Vilmansa was born in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1979. Like many kids, he loved and was fascinated by cartoon characters during his childhood. He was especially interested in Walt Disney characters like Mickey Mouse.
Young Vilmansa didn’t know it then, but those colorful cartoons would eventually inspire his successful career as a painter and toy artist.
In 2004, Vilmansa earned a degree in architecture from Parahyangan University in Bandung. His journey as a professional artist began in 2010 when he launched his first solo exhibitions. Vilamansa still lives in Bandung today with his wife and children, who he cites as a constant source of inspiration.
Watching his kids doodle and draw pictures is an experience that has informed Vilmansa’s own work and shaped his artistic journey.
What is Arkiv Vilmansa’s Art Style?
Vilmansa’s love of cartoons influences his signature painting style. His technique involves a somewhat flat perspective, giving the viewer a sense of physical distance from his colorful figures. Looking at one of Vilmansa’s characters feels like looking at an object under glass.
In a recent exhibition, his style shifted in a more abstract direction. The artist moved away from his colorful characters and showcased sprawling scribbles, squirts of paint, and blobs of color on canvas instead. Despite the change in subject matter, Vilmansa’s personality shines brightly in these pieces. The joyful combinations of different hues are undeniably his.
What Inspires Arkiv Vilmansa’s Art?
Vilmansa draws on his architectural background for some of his work. But becoming a father was a great source of inspiration for Vilmansa. When his son started drawing, he was transported back to his own childhood.
Seeing his son scrawl shapes on pieces of paper reminded him that art is a human impulse that exists outside of rules and conventions. This epiphany was one of the driving forces behind his exploration of abstract art.
Vilmansa believes art should be an expression of joy and energy. This is easy to see in his work, especially his three-dimensional art toys. In a YouTube video promoting his 2018 exhibition Childhood Memories, the artist says, “For me, art should be something fun to play with. Art should be formed by feeling. No boundaries.”
What Are Some of Arkiv Vilmansa’s Art Pieces?
Although Vilmansa’s art may look simple on the surface, it’s anything but. His work blends zany cartoons, careful use of color, and multiple mediums to surprise and entice his audience.
Let’s look at some of Vilmansa’s most fascinating pieces below.
Marvelous Dream depicts a bird with a bright yellow crown of feathers and striking violet and orange plumage. This piece is one of many great examples of Vilmansa’s lively cartoon subjects.
The bird’s beady, wide-open eyes are fixed directly on the viewer. Vilmansa’s forced perspective makes you feel as if you’re mere inches from its face. The bright plumage filling the canvas gives the impression that the bird could be both in motion and frozen in mid-air all at once.
The Dark Vader
The Dark Vader is one of Vilmansa’s more bizarre works. The painting features a Mickey Mouse-style character dressed in a Darth Vader costume, complete with the menacing helmet worn by the classic Star Wars villain.
Darth Vader’s name usually conjures images of darkness and violence. However, seeing the Sith Lord in Mickey’s ears provides an undeniably funny twist on his legacy. This surreal mash-up of two famous pop culture figures is a perfect example of Vilmansa’s philosophy that art should be fun.
Afterglow is another painting that features colorful birds. Two parrots are displayed in a profile view, each looking away from the other. Although they’re positioned near each other physically, they seem to be in their respective worlds.
Vilmansa chose not to give these birds visible eyes. Because of this, the viewer may wonder whether the birds are looking down, sleeping, or lost in thought. This simple detail opens Afterglow up to endless possible interpretations.
In addition to painting, Vilmansa creates toy art and three-dimensional art objects. He crafted an abstract glass art piece called Hira in collaboration with IKEA for their 2018 Art Event.
Hira could be a cheerful mushroom or a small ghost wearing a cap. Hira’s bottom half is clear glass, while its top half features layers of orange and red resembling a hat. The color choices and Hira’s squiggly shape call various characters from classic video games to mind.
Vilmansa’s creation is ambiguous enough to make his audience yearn for their own childhoods.
Where Can I See Arkiv Vilmansa’s Art?
Despite our best efforts, we couldn’t find any permanent displays of Vilmansa’s work. The good news is that his art has a robust online presence!
Vilmansa’s Instagram account, @arkivvilmansa, is bursting with photos of his paintings, toys, and exhibitions. There are even photos of skateboard decks adorned with his characters. Vilmansa updates the account regularly.
Vilmansa’s website is also a great place to check out his work. The Works tab on his website is organized by each of his solo exhibitions from 2012 to 2018. Each link features every piece included in that exhibition.
Art Formed by Feeling
Arkiv Vilmansa’s paintings, toys, and three-dimensional pieces are genius combinations of childhood wonder and adult sensibility. His work encourages his audience to look at their lives and selves through complex lenses.
Given his mastery of so many varied forms and subjects, it seems likely that Vilmansa will continue to surprise and delight people with his art for years to come.
After exploring so much of Arkiv Vilmansa’s work, do you have a favorite painting or toy? Let us know!
Outside Folk Gallery
You can explore more folk, street, and outsider art in our personal collection at Outside Folk Art. We’re celebrating these creatives and giving voice to rising black, Native, immigrant, and working mother artisans.
We’ll also be offering pop-up shows and collaborations with small museums, so be sure to follow us to discover the where and when!