Behind the Masterpiece: Big Fish and Begonia with Evan Raditya


This time, I would like to talk about my big collaboration with my best friend, who is also one of the new prominent Indonesian illustrators, Evan Raditya.

Before talking about Evan, I want to start with a little background on why I decided to do this project and why I picked this concept for my masterpiece.

It started with me just looking around Pinterest for inspirations in one random day. I came across this illustration in Pinterest.

Source: Google

At first I thought that this can be a good concept to try in the future. But then as I searched around, I found out that it was from a Chinese animation movie. It was just released last year, but I guess it haven't been released internationally. So, I came to Google and found the movie.

It's called Big Fish and Begonia or in Chinese, 大鱼海棠 .

Source: Google

After almost 2 hours of the movie, I found myself full of tears and my chest hurts so bad. It was like someone stabbed me by a big sword and left me bleed. It was so beautifully made. I can see many Miyazaki's reference in this movie, especially elements from Spirited Away.

I realized that the characters and the story reflects what really happened in my life these past few years. How I grew up with a lot of limitations in my culture, my struggles to pursue what I believe to be right, I can see my life was being portrayed in the movie. I see why sometimes sacrifices need to be made in this world, for a better future. Damn that movie..

Then I know that this will make a good concept for me to create artworks, based on the movie, and make it as my masterpiece. Also to express my agony into an art.

So, I need an illustrator for this and I already have one person in mind. Evan Raditya.


Actually, since we graduated together from university back home, we've always talked about having a collaboration together, my photography and his illustration. But I guess it didn't really work that time because both of us were busy with our own lives. I knew him since long time that he will get big. Even from our school days, he's always one of the top students in our class, especially because of his drawing skill and creativity. Then recently, his name gets bigger with the Ghost in The Shell project. He got famous both internationally and in our own country.

Well, back to the point of our collaboration, first of all, I want to get rid of people's perception that I used Evan's fame for our collaboration project. Since he got big now, so why not I "join" him fame? NO! That's not what I wanted all along. I just simply want to do something together with my best friend. So, when he almost finished with his GITS project, I told him that I'm going to do this photoshoot with this concept and I need some illustrations from him. He was interested and willing to help me. Because I know that he's busy with his own work so I don't want to pressure him just for my own sake.

And just so you know, even though we are super super close friend, I didn't ask him to work for FREE. I'm not bragging, this is serious. I know how it feels to be "USE" and work for free. I value and respect his hard work and time, so I have to pay for it. I know many people always ask something for free to their friends, but this is art we're talking about. We, artists, still need to pay our own bills. It's so inconsiderate and disrespectful to ask artists to do something for FREE without even thinking about how many hours we waste to create and think for a single artwork. Especially with an excuses like "it's just a simple drawing" or "it's only a few shots" and many other bullshits. Are you fucking kidding me? People need to learn how to respect artists, seriously.


So back to our collaboration. I did the shooting first with a Korean model I found in Instagram. I saw her face so many times in other Korean photographer's works in Instagram but I was too coward to ask her in Korean. Well, it happened with the help of my Korean friend (she helped me fixed my grammar and stuff), I asked Jae Gyeong to join the project. I didn't regret my selection, she was.. AH-MAZING! Few days before the shooting, I asked her to find the movie or anything that related so that she can learn what is it about and how is the character that she will portray. She did and she was talking about it with me that she said she really interested on watching the movie if they have it in Korea.

After I finished editing all the pictures, I sent some pictures for Evan to edit with some references from the movie. I was so excited how it will turned out.

I'll just post one of it here, along with some portrait shots.

This project will be another stepping stone for my career as a photographer. Whenever I look at this project, I reminded myself to stay true to my story. Who I am, where I came from. I never know that my past will make a great impact on my art, even though I always want to change that before. By staying true to your identity, it will give you strength to appreciate your life.

Big Fish and Begonia, a masterpiece I created and a tribute to my life.

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