Trust us when we tell you how we searched far and wide, across lands, down the seas and finally up the clouds for our next cover...that is until we landed on a distant planet of Moonboys and Starguides.
On it, we were greeted by Varsam Kurnia, whom we’re delighted to announce has collaborated with us for our latest cover launch, the Cosmic Adventure.
Let’s go on an adventure and read the interview of our third 2020 artist collaboration —
Hi Varsam! Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a freelance illustrator based in Jakarta, Indonesia and also the maker of the brand somethingstokeep. I’m a cat person, I like sweet latte, I collect trinkets and crystals and my favourite foods are Onigiri and French fries (Not together, but then again, why the heck not)
Let’s talk about the new cover you’ve designed, what was the most interesting part of this project?
I think the collaborative effort between me and Mossery. The development process was nicely done, they respected my ideas but also had great input about what and where to tweak so overall, it has been a great journey.
Were there any challenges in the making of the cover design?
I guess creating something that works as a wrap-around cover that can serve as both front and back cover. I want to create something that is fun to see and has details for the viewers to nitpick at when looking closer.
What is your creative process like when making design decisions for your products?
I have a lot of references, from Instagram posts, books to trinkets that I collect myself.
It’s usually a mix of sketching interesting things down and getting feedback from the reference/object itself, asking questions like how it might work as this or that, how this symbolism can be relatable to me now, stuff like that.
What do you hope that our customers would feel from buying this cover design?
A sense of joy! Hopefully, it can bring a smile to them, that would be more than enough for me.
Could you share with us what is the story behind the creation of somethingstokeep?
It started when I made an enamel pin to crowdfund for an exhibition in Japan in 2017. Seeing the reaction, and also the thrill of creating tangible, wearable artworks really appealed to me. I love designing and creating pins, they are like modern and accessible treasures.
It’s such a kick for me, seeing the reaction in people when they are told of the meaning from the objects, you can really tell when it really struck deep for them and I feel proud as well in a way. Like I’m chiming a bell in them that they didn’t know they have in them. I don’t know if that makes sense.
Do tell us the process of the creation of your characters, the Moonboys, and Starguide, and why the many cosmic elements?
They came from a painting I did a few years ago called Moonboy and His Starguide, it’s about how sometimes even the moon, much like everyone else, needs help to find his way. And when it was time to create items for somethingstokeep, they just found a way to be there and belong there as well!
Plus, they also serve as a counterpoint to all the heavy, symbol-laden things I do. They are the cute and adorable mascots! They are also inspired by a special person in my life (You know who you are).
What do you think being an artist has taught you about life?
That everything has meaning and power when you let them, both good and bad. And I try to paint and make those things. That’s why I love lucky charms, amulets, pendants. They are small objects but can hold so many meanings and affect people unexpectedly.
One advice I hold dearly was from Anita Kunz, a teacher I had during a summer illustration course. I had been struggling very [badly with] my art and she said to me,
“It’s your journey, and no one else’s.”
and I proceeded to cry in the bathroom hahaha… It just helps to put things in perspective, not just about my art but life in general as well.
Could you share with us your sources of inspiration that may surprise us?
I love Japanese comic strips! Kobo-chan and Otoboke, along with Yotsuba. I adore them! As for my work, I enjoy looking at vintage labels for food, medicine, beauty products and such. They can provide some surprising inspiration!
Do you have any words of wisdom for aspiring artists out there?
Draw things that excite you and be sincere about it. Don’t draw something simply because you think it is cool or trendy, that doesn’t last. Find inspiration from things you like and know well.
It’s a hard thing to do, I still struggle about it but taking a step back helps me to see the reasoning behind what I’m trying to do or make. Having people that you can trust with critiques is also very helpful, as an artist it is too easy to dwell too deep inside our own head.
Varsam Kurnia is an artist based in Indonesia and you can find him on Instagram @varsamkurnia and his shop @somethingstokeep
Our new cover, Cosmic Adventure is now available for Planners, Notebooks and Sketchbooks so pre-order yours today!
Explore your creativity within the infinite possibilities of an endless galaxy.
We hope you enjoy the cover 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!