Interview The Switch x Yessiow

Yessiow is a mural artist and illustrator from Bali. Her love of art began at a young age and she has developed her skills and career as a mural artist since 2013. After graduating from Telkom University in 2018 where she studied graphic design, Yessiow and her partner decided to live abroad as nomads and take advantage of opportunities to paint murals in countries such as Cambodia, Nepal, India, Turkey, South Africa, Italy and more. Yessiow’s work is heavily influenced by her love of natural objects and bright colours, which is evident in her murals. She loves to see her creativity become a part of the daily lives of local communities and is always immersed in the activities of the people who pass by her art every day.

Yessiow stayed with The Switch in October and November 2023 in Perth and gave us a chance to interview her. Enjoy! 🙂

Interview with Mural Artist Yessiow

The SwitchWhat drew you to stay at the Switch?

essiow I was immediately drawn to The Switch because it’s like a breath of fresh air. I love the idea of being in a place that values individuality and creativity, something that aligns perfectly with my own values. It’s exciting to be part of a community that celebrates diversity and provides a space where I can express myself freely.

The Switch – What’s uncommon about you? 

YessiowWhat sets me apart is my perspective as an artist. I draw inspiration from my Balinese heritage, a place known for its rich art and culture. This cultural influence gives my artwork a unique and distinct flavour.

The Switch – What were your first encounters with art growing up in Bali, and when did you decide to become an artist and study design?

YessiowGrowing up in Bali was like growing up in an art gallery. I was surrounded by vibrant festivals, intricate temple designs, and traditional Balinese paintings, which sparked my love for art from a young age. I can still picture those moments when I used to watch my dad sketch; that’s where my fascination with art truly began. As I got older, this passion evolved into a deep love for art, and I realised I wanted to make it my life’s work. Studying design felt like the natural path to channel my creativity into a structured journey of artistic expression.

Artist Yessiow smiling at the camera whilst working on one of her murals

The Switch – How did your family support your decision to pursue art and design?

YessiowMy family has been my rock throughout my artistic journey. From an early age, they recognized my creative spark and gave me the encouragement and resources I needed to explore and develop my talents. I have fond memories of my mom accompanying me to drawing competitions during my elementary school days, and her unwavering support has always been a source of inspiration. My dad, too, believed in my skills and saw the potential for a successful career in the art industry. Their unwavering support and belief in me gave me the confidence to follow my passion and turn it into a fulfilling career.

The Switch – What was your favourite part about going to Uni at Telkom in Bandung? 

YessiowStudying at Telkom in Bandung was an incredible experience. My favourite part was the dynamic and innovative atmosphere on campus. The connections I made with friends and professors were priceless. The university provided a platform to collaborate with like-minded individuals, explore cutting-edge design techniques, and embark on creative projects that challenged my skills. It was a transformative period that broadened my horizons and allowed me to grow as an artist.

The Switch – How did your travels and painting murals in different countries shape your style?

YessiowMy travels and mural-painting adventures in different countries were like stepping into a treasure trove of inspiration. Initially, I didn’t have a specific style, but as I journeyed and met some incredible artists, I had a few aha moments. One of those moments was when I visited museums in Greece and Turkey. I found myself absolutely captivated by ancient pottery. There was something about those beautifully crafted pots that just resonated with me. They became my comfort zone, my canvas for creative storytelling. I started using these pots as a unique way to express myself and convey stories that held special meaning to me. 

What’s truly amazing about my artistic journey is how it evolved through these encounters. I began to incorporate elements from various traditions and aesthetics into my work. The result is a style that’s as diverse and captivating as the places I’ve been lucky to visit. It’s a testament to the wonderful way art can bridge cultures and create something truly unique.

Artist dipping her paint roll in paint, in front of one of her unfinished murals
Yessiow sitting on a ladder in front of one of her unfinished murals
Yessiow standing behind a huge vase, wearing a face mask

The Switch – Can you share a story or two about the people and communities you met during your travels?

YessiowOh, the stories I’ve collected on my travels! One memorable experience was being invited to a mural festival in India. The warm and welcoming people in the neighbourhood made the entire process unforgettable. The children in the area were especially friendly and curious. We became part of their community, learning about their traditions and sharing our art as a form of cultural exchange and unity. It was a heartwarming and eye-opening experience that emphasised how art can bridge cultural gaps and bring people together.

Yessiow mural with two women and flowers on building block in India

The Switch – Do you have any advice for students studying abroad and in a foreign language? What would you tell your younger self?

YessiowTo all the adventurous students out there, my advice is to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow. Don’t shy away from stepping out of your comfort zone because that’s where the magic happens. As for my younger self, I’d say, “Believe in your dreams and your unique perspective. Your journey will be filled with challenges, but those challenges will shape you into the artist you aspire to be. Keep pushing forward and never stop creating.”

The Switch – Thank you for the interview!

YessiowYou’re absolutely welcome! Thanks for having me at The Switch! 

If you want to read more stories about artists, check out this article about Top Asian Artists in Melbourne.

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