Simply stated, Now On View celebrates and showcases the artists of Society6 and their work. Get to know them—and then get lost in their gallery.
As a way of introducing yourself, who are you and what do you do?
I’m Aftri Marriska, an illustrative lettering artist, muralist and educator based in Indonesia. I was formerly a software engineer/analyst before I turned to art as a way to cope with depression in 2017. I’ve become very passionate about hand lettering since then and have been teaching it locally since January 2020. Now, I’m diving in and becoming a full-time artist. Mostly, I’m working on my personal projects, while simultaneously building my network of commercial clients.
Current city: Pontianak, West Borneo, Indonesia.
How did you make these?
I always start sketching with pencil and paper. I’ll refine the final sketch with black ink pen, and when it’s done, I’ll scan it. Then, I’ll work on the colors digitally using Inkscape, an open source illustrator-like software.
What is your process?
My process is often different and depends on who I’m working with.
With a commercial client, I usually create a bunch of thumbnails first and work my way out of them. I’ll also create spot illustrations and digitally combine them into a piece of artwork.
As for my personal projects, I usually just wing it. Sometimes, I have visuals in my head of what the final artwork will look like. When I don’t, I’ll scribble down my thoughts until I find the direction I want to go in. Most of the time, I start sketching and finish the artwork all on one piece of paper, so I don’t really have a lot of sketches or doodles. Actually, that’s something I want to work on more. I’d like to have more unrefined sketches and doodles laying around (or in a sketchbook) as a reference.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
When I first started lettering, I followed and joined a lot of lettering challenges. It was a dark time for me, so getting inspired was kind of difficult. Lately, as I’m feeling better and starting to meet new people again (plus doing lots of self discovery exercises) I’ve realized that I love storytelling and sharing my feelings. My inspirations now come from my own story, people I’ve met, places I’ve been, and my feelings about bittersweet memories, the present, and my hope for the future. I’m trying to have balance between sharing positivity while also keeping things real.
I love going in this direction. It has added extra meaning to the handle that I chose when I started this journey: Aftri’sLetter. It now means both “my letters to the world” and “my art of lettering.”
What is the best advice you’ve gotten as an artist or the most important thing you’ve learned?
I have two, actually!
I just finished a book by Lisa Congdon called “Find Your Artistic Voice.” I think the best thing I’ve learned is to be brave enough to embrace change, because it’s constant and inevitable. It’s relieving to realize I can reinvent myself, modify my artistic style and voice, without feeling guilty about it.
The other important lesson for me is not to compare myself to anyone else, especially people who’ve been in the industry way longer that I have. Comparison is the killer of joy, so so true! One good comparison to have, though, is for my 2020 self to look back and remember my 2017 self and see how much I’ve progressed—I’m exactly where I need to be.