Featured Artist: Bahrull Marta

Bahrull Marta_Unholy Crown IV
Jakarta, Indonesia

Current town: Jakarta

Job description: Album cover artist


To keep it short and nice, I was born and raised in the capital city of Jakarta which has various activities, I have loved spicy food since I was born and still do. Started  making artwork around 2006, studying with a language program at the university, the one and only person who brings a sketchbook into an electrical lecture. In 2008, I started working with bands from abroad which lead to me making more intense artwork, especially for extreme music genres.

Upcoming projects:

My own series called “Self Apocalypse VIII” (http://abominationimagery.com/main/self-apocalypse) and Cover art and design for Infernaeon (usa) and Khaoz (nld).

You combine photo realism with phantasmagorical imagery. Without asking a magician to reveal the illusion, what mediums do you use to achieve this effect?

My work mostly ends up in digital medium, mashup photography, photo manipulation, digital brush painting, sometimes also combines with traditional mediums which helps me to build blending shape in digital process later. So far that is how I usually create and make changes dozens of times ‘till I feel enough or even closer to the client / band main direction.

Bahrull Marta_Self Apocalypse IV

How would you define yourself and your art?

I think it’s all about the passion, the self apocalyptic satisfaction. Somehow I’m enjoying the process while I get myself focused and try to be me while letting the beast out. For me art is learning a common way and also a specific way, learning about how to bring our dreams into a new dark atmosphere with absolute fresh air, learning how to composite equilibrium between dark and darkness, learning how to attract our somber path from the middle eye’s light into huge creative field. Unconsciously I create something nefarious by myself and leave an impression for people after they see my work; whatever impression they left behind.

Are you more like Courage Wolf or more like Insanity Wolf?

Insanity wolf – without insanity there’s no normality.

What themes and concepts does your work generally revolve around?

Have to say I really dig dark, evil, bizarre, death, or whatever people call it, since I have done art for bands most of them are death and black metal, usually they give me  direction to bring their musical vision to the artwork and I try to make it happen in order to approach their concept..so its depends, sometimes I have a request to do gore and bloody stuff. Surely it can take me a number of times to develop a good way to create gore themes without looking similar to other artists’ work; gore is frustrating (ha ha) but also fun to do, being trusted and free to create a visual message from the band concept with my own style and visual taste is really exhilarating.

Bahrull Marta_Mikkael

What are you currently working on?

I’m working on some personal work, rolling every day.

What kind of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you have?

Not much, just ordinary routines like messing around with my work, relaxing with good music, sometimes getting dirty creating shapes with acrylic, charcoal, doing sullen portraits on paper, do push ups-sit ups, enjoying coffee and smoke while looking at some of my favorite artists’ work on the internet or in the booklet cds, yeah that is all.

What’s your art background?

I graduated from the university, studying about troubleshooting, networking, all kinds of computer hardware stuff, nothing to do with drawing and painting, so I never went to formal art education. I’m finding my way as time goes by.

What’s next for you?

Just want to be good as I can to keep my life rolling and bustling with stuff that I like.

Describe your current state of mind.

This is a nice blog, already read some interviews here, inspiring. You did a good job Ruthie. (Editor’s Note: Thank you!!)

What’s inspiring you?

All good and bad things attract me to another stage/ condition where I find myself…and feel creative as hell.

Bahrull Marta_Abysmal Depths album cover

Do you have any exhibits coming up/ past exhibits you’d like to mention?

I’d like to mention that I got a chance last year to hang my artwork amongst great artists at Tangent Gallery, Detroit for “Damned V” exhibition. Also on May 18th 2013, my collaboration work with Matthew Wajek, called “Corvus” is showing at exhibition “The Heart of Darkness II” at Raven’s: 215 East College Ave. Appleton WI. 54914.


What is one of the biggest challenges you face as an artist?

Well, time is number one. Facing deadlines, sometimes I hit the nail on the head surely, it is pretty tough to take over the main direction from the band who is looking and waiting for what they want, therefore the main task is heavy improvising and sticking with it.

How has the meaning of your work changed over time?

Personally it’s about the piece of art which talks about some unusual mindset in dark terminology. I just let people form their own opinion from the first sight of my work, I’m not really paying attention to the meaning; I’m more concerned with picking the materials and developing the idea.

Bahrull Marta_666

What do you dislike about your work?

Well, I can say sometimes I’m too careful in thinking and creating shapes, so sometime it turns out with a little bit less detail, also sometime I find myself as an impatient person so you know it could be an little obstacle if you feel rushed to get something done.

What is your dream project?

Simple, making artwork for bands from my mixed media painting on canvas, like I said before mostly it ends up as digital mashup. Sometimes it turns out too digitally touched,  it would be challenging for me to do if I only worked with canvas in traditional way.

Do you collaborate with other artists?

Yes, I have collaboration work with digital artist Matthew Wajek (www.aetherdesign.com). You can see our piece called ‘Corvus’ below, it was my first collaboration work, I think it took less than three weeks to get this done. I started first with a photograph, then Matthew worked on some details on the body, then he sent it to me again to do final touches.

Bahrull Marta & Matthew Wajek_Corvus

Favorite artists and why? People in your field whom you most admire:

Well, I’d like to list some important names in ‘heavy metal artwork’ to be included as my inspiration because their works can make different view in every single thing, I start with Dave McKean, unique digital collages whose material includes painting, drawing, photography, found objects, anything you can think of. He can deliver dismal sights into beautiful bizarre visualization, I pick one of my first favorite of him which is dream theater album cover. I just love the color and the composition, no words, genius! The more I find out about his masterpiece the more my mouth hangs wide open. Also I have seen his artwork before, when the digital medium was not so popular back in the day, awesome set up of painting and art installation approximately over 1 meter. It was for a book cover illustration, I don’t really remember the details but it’s amazing to have such a brilliant idea to create them at that time. Now Mike Hrubovcak of Visualdarkness, this guy is one of my favorite album cover artists in death metal art and music, his artworks always have some elements surprising without you know and you can think of it before, it combines the horror and beauty side of death metal art and it’s always worth it to take a look at the whole artwork and packaging design that he’s done, it’s just awesome.

Now I’d like to mention the legendary artist in Indonesia which gave some reference to me about shape, color tone, and just being free to express something in your head, the one and only Affandi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affandi), as far I know his artwork talks about expressionism and thinks a bit about theory, mostly his painting is done by pouring the oil directly onto the canvas then just create the images with his hand, this can be seen from his artwork which is full of energy and message how to control your power into the new dimension, just in my opinion he also has some dark elements that shape his work, that is what I liked. And surely so many other amazing artists out there that inspire me from time to time. And some names like Debronzes art, Seth Siro Anton, Marcelo Vasco, Travis Smith, Colin Marks, always gave me good atmosphere to creating the abyss imagery.

What are you listening to these days?

Various, from death metal to instrumental.

Bahrull Marta_Mephorash album cover

What was the first piece of artwork you bought/ do you buy a lot of artwork?

Not sure what was the first, one day visiting museum and there were selling poster from painting about our local superhero when I was a kid, also I had small comic collection of our legendary horror comic artist, Tatang S. He’s always make disturbing drawing includes joke in it which can cracked me up even while looking the weird creature ever, mostly he talks about superhero being stupid, our local evil, and myths. Imagine a kid holding and read comic with weird evil woman with sharp teeth, big breast with purple skin on the cover, then laughing when read it, that always being good memories to me. Unfortunately not many documentation about him nowadays on the internet.

These days I just start collecting an art print from some of my favorite artists, it’s good to see them hanging on my wall while do nothing, such a good time.

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