“Explore the astronomical collection of Varsam Kurnia’s The Muse of the Moon and bathe in heavenly elegance.”
Once again, let’s welcome Varsam Kurnia, otherwise known as @somethingstokeep, as he translates his own version of Cosmic Mythological Beings.
Read on to learn more about his inspiring creative process this time around, his favourite parts in his artist journey so far and more!
Hello again Varsam! We are over the moon with you coming back for the third time! How have you been and what are you up to lately?
It’s an honour to be back and thank you for having me for a third time! I have been well and busy, painting and planning for both personal and commercial projects.
The new covers look astronomically beautiful, what was the creative process like this time around?
After reading the brief, I wanted to do something fun and different this time around. Though the theme of celestial objects is quite often seen and utilised, they are still an endless well of inspiration and so I tried to dig a little deeper and a little more adventurously!
In this new collection, women are standing as spearhead figures in these covers — which is a switch from your previous covers which featured male figures. Is there a story behind this switch?
There isn’t any specific reason I think. The previous cover (Luminary Guides) features both the Sun and the Moon, I’ve always thought of them as genderless entities. But for this series of covers, the Moonlight Guardian is based on the pin I created for somethingstokeep, which in turn is based on the tarot card La Lune and so it is natural to present the Moon as a woman here. Whereas for the Celestial Strings artwork, it seems the perfect choice to feature her as the harpist of the Moon as it is very loosely based on mediaeval representations of the Moon which nearly always feature the Moon as female.
All your covers with us so far are set in darker settings. Yet, your cover Celestial Strings shines brighter like a starlight, tell us about it!
I want to create something new and unexpected! There is something lyrical when I look at the moon, it is always accompanied by different feelings every time. So I’d love to think that the Moon is playing a quiet tune each time I look at it, and that tune would be a reflection of my feelings.
Aside from that, I wanted to experiment as well on using a warm and lighter colour palette in painting the Moon!
With this new collection of covers, what do you hope people will experience when they buy it?
As always, I hope it will be something they treasure and brings a spark everytime they look at it.
We’ve read in a separate interview that you actually faced an art block because of the anxiety and pressure you felt towards art. How did you come to terms with it and overcome it?
I went into therapy for a short while, just to get a professional opinion on how to manage it. Past incidents did some damage that needed some tending! I am still in the process and I think it will always be an ongoing battle, but I always try to focus on what’s real and tangible, and not on the distractions that anxiety can bring. So I keep busy to centre myself and let that anxious feeling pass, but also remembering to take a step back and stay in touch with my inner self by journaling, communicating to friends and partners, exercising, etc.
We've actually read that you studied and graduated art school! It seems to us that you’re an artist through and through. What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being an artist?
I did study illustration as my major (after nearly getting a diploma in graphic design and communication) but I did not graduate (the school went defunct midway) .
My favourite part of being an artist has to be the rare thrill of discovery when the dots just connect and the lightning strikes for a good idea. And also the privilege of being able to tell my story by creating something new and entirely mine. Sounds very selfish but I think that’s a part of being an artist, to carve something out of nothing but ourselves and call it our own. And that comes with my least favourite part of being an artist, that if something doesn’t turn out well, I’ll have no one to blame but myself. And so comes the insecurity, self deprecation, and the rest of the mean gang to bully myself. But that short drink from the fountain of inspiration is more than enough to make up for it!
We also wanted to congratulate you on the collaborations you did with so many brands over the year! How do you feel about the many projects you’ve done and the art you’ve made?
I feel honoured and excited! It is so much fun to be able to dip into other artforms, and having them trust me to execute my vision into something I can never make on my own. It is a great validation to be able to collaborate with other talents and also a great way to meet new friends and reach new audiences.
For those aspiring artists who want to start their own small business selling their art, what is your advice to them?
That’s a tricky question as I feel I still haven’t done enough at all! But a few that I can say is you gotta love what you create, because that means there is that extra love and attention from you to give them that extra shine. Find your niche and don’t be afraid to make something totally different from others, because that means what you are selling is unique and specifically you!
If you were to go back in time to when you were younger, what would you tell yourself?
To trust my gut feelings more, that it is okay to do what you want to do and not compare it to others. Your journey is your own and no one else’s. And paint more for god’s sake!
What are some of your dream collaborations to work with in the near future?
I would love to work with a fashion house that has access to intricate embroidery, skilled artisans and the resources to execute things with no limitations! Or a big vintage or antique store that I can curate and mix with my own creations and turn the whole endeavour into some sort of bazaar or event. Animation would be another thing I would love to try my hands on, or concept art for a game as JRPG was how I got started into drawing, would be an awesome way to complete the circle!
Varsam Kurnia is an artist based in Indonesia and you can find him on Instagram @varsamkurnia and his shop @somethingstokeep.
Celestial Strings and Moonlight Guardian Covers are now available for Planners, Notebooks and Sketchbooks so pre-order yours today!
Let the light be your compass.
We hope you enjoy the covers as much as we do and we look forward to seeing you exercise your artistic journey. Remember to tag us with your unboxing clip @mosseryco on Instagram so we can share it!