After keeping a low profile earlier this year, Eman Raharno (aka Clogtwo) has pounced back on the scene with a bang. The graffiti artist – who’s earned copious recognition for his edgy works depicting mythical creatures and icons of pop culture – will be launching a coffee table book, ‘Machine Mouth’, in conjunction with his his first-ever solo exhibition at Phunk Studio.
‘Machine Mouth’ the book, a limited print of 300 copies, will be a niftily packaged anthology of 300 of Clogtwo’s existing artwork. Each edition will come with a toy and an art print.
The exhibition, also titled ‘Machine Mouth’, will showcase 100 works both old and new, ranging from original ink drawings to sculpture. Aside from viewing Clogtwo’s career defining pieces, such as his ‘Hell Lotus’ series, visitors will also have the chance to own them.
Ahead of the launch, inSing gets inside Clogtwo’s head to learn more about his latest projects and his outlook on life.
'Standard of Living'
Congratulations on wrapping up ‘Machine Mouth’! What led you to releasing the book?
I’ve always been obsessed with sketching in my visual journal on a daily basis, experimenting and finding my own style. Most of the pieces inside are unseen. Thus, I wanted to take this long awaited opportunity to share my never-seen-before work to the public. The book is also a soul-searching tool for me, in which I deconstruct myself to find out how I have survived as a human being and evolved as an artist. It will show you a visual narrative of how I see things in life.
Will there be any commentary accompanying the visuals in the book?
It will be divided into five chapters explaining the phase I was in, the lost and found in my life and the things that inspired me.
Your coming exhibition will be featuring a new set of works. Can you give us a sneak preview?
The new series, entitled ‘Systematik’, revolves around the social behavior of Singaporeans with their needs and wants in life. It’ll touch on issues like wealth and material possessions that is in reach.
Which of the works on display holds the most meaning for you?
One of the works, called ‘Gold Rush’, depicts the voices of the citizens who are constantly complaining about the high standard of living and not being able to live comfortably. What is comfortable is subjective. If you’re chasing for material things then I guess you will always be chasing rainbows.
It’s said on your website that you inherited your artistic traits from your parents.
My parents have always been very supportive of me doing art and design. They love painting, drawing and photography, but in the past it was difficult for them to pursue art due to the expensive cost of materials. They had to give up their passion just to raise us as functioning members of society. For all the time and support they’ve given me, it’s now my turn to return the favour.
How did your signature style come about?
It took me nine years, from design school to being influenced by other artists, observing and studying figures and styles. At the same time, I picked up fine arts on my own and experimented with other mediums. I have difficulty processing words into actions, so most of the time I just keep quiet, observe, and register things in my visual bank.
Some of your works pay homage to film and TV characters. You must be quite a pop culture junkie.
The first drawing I did was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle when I was three years old. I guess I am obsessed with pop culture. These icons also bring us together on the same page somehow, and it’s easier for me to communicate the message I want to relay to everyone [using them].
Aside from graffiti, you also work with illustrations and sculpture. Which medium do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy illustrating. It keeps my breathing stable and the creative process is always fun. Sculpting on the other hand is a challenge for me, as I have to adapt my original 2D drawings into 3D objects.
As a street artist, do you think that the current laws curb your ability to express yourself, especially when it comes to commenting on social and political issues?
We fear, therefore, it exists in our heads. Such laws exist because they fear.
‘Machine Mouth’ | 4-5 May, 12-8pm | Phunk Studio | 188-8 Tanjong Katong Road | Tel: 98468447 | www.phunkstudio.com