KOKO Pop Art

We are mad about music and mad about everything to do with music. KOKO Asia Pop art aims to highlight great music art (and artists) from around the region. From CD covers, event flyers, posters, digital music art..literally anything creative to do with music. We will try and profile the artist/company where possible.

Email us john@kokoasia.com with your suggestions.

KOKO Asia Interview

Rizman Putra, winner of Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (JCCI) Singapore Foundation Arts Award 2005 (as part of artist initiative Kill Your Television [KYTV], is a co-founder of a multi-disciplinary arts collective, Kill Your Television (KYTV), as well as the front man for an indie music group, Tiramisu.Rizman has performed and exhibited his works in Australia, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Vietnam.

Rizman was one of the four artists selected for the President's Young Talents Exhibition (2005), as well as being included in the Fukuoka Triennale (2005). He received the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology's (RMIT) Most Outstanding Award 2002-2003. He is a LASALLE Alumnus who exhibited his works at the inaugural Singapore Biennale 2006. His mixed media installation and performance Sontol Al Loyo: The Elegy of a Man and his Weapon of Choice, spiced up the stony sobriety of Singapore's City Hall. Rizman was an associate artist with Cake Theatrical Productions in 2008.

How did you get started?

I majored in painting when I was in Lasalle College of The Arts, like many of my peers, all we wanted to do was to make art. Sadly, like many young Singaporean men, it is compulsory for us to serve the nation. After graduated with a Diploma in painting, I was drafted in the army. This was a turning point in my life actually, 3 years in a creative environment and suddenly being plunged into the dark abyss of the evil claws was not something that I could choose.

Manic Jango was created when I was in the army in 1999, like every young painters in Lasalle, they all wanted to sell their paintings and be a renown painter. Well, like they say, shit happens, and they happen for a reason, I broke up with my girlfriend who was also a Lasalle alumni. (she dumped for a good friend, how sad...) You know, like many of us sensitive souls, only when you are in a state of depression, your mind slowly gathers its strength and find ways to survive. The way to survive is to find solace with your thoughts and the action was to make art.

The worst thing was that, I was serving the nation, what do you do? When things fell apart, I made art. I spent many hours during breaks in the army, jotting words, sketches, ideas, I created Manic Jango, a lame superhero (this was way before the TV show HEROES) who can't even save himself. This superhero of mine dons a plain purple spandex underneath his working suit, he carries a suitcase and wears a porky pie hat.

From there, I formed a multi-disciplinary art collective called Kill Your Television (KYTV), collaborated with dancers, theatre directors, musicians and all sorts of people.

What were you inspirations?

I am inspired by many things in this world, the simplest of things in fact, it could be from a conversation, a situation, weird people, body odour, beat writers, off beat musicians, unknown buskers, raging hormones and most of them are out of the norms.

What do you think of the local indie music scene?

Singapore local indie music scene has grown ever since the 90s. Bands are more pro-active and progressive these days with the Internet and venues to perform. However, it was different in the 90s, bands really struggled on their own, finding ways to make the music heard. The sad thing about the Indie music scene is the whole concept of 'Indie' itself. Youths these days are too impressionable that they get too caught up with looking Indie than embracing Indie. Even the mainstream media is cashing in on the whole notion of being Indie, by promoting Indie music on TV. Indie has turned into a cashing machine for a lot of people. Just like the grunge in the 90s, at this moment I am not sure what Indie is, for me, I guess Indie is about what you do and what you believe in, and not having to conform to anything that makes you compromise on your art. For me, an old man busking on the street with a harmonica and juggling at the same time is more Indie than those kids performing on the stage with Topshop gear from top to bottom playing a cover by Kaiser Chiefs.

Is it easy being a designer in Singapore?

To be a designer, artist or a performer in Singapore you need to work really hard. Especially when you are just starting out, people do not know you and they really don't give a shit about what you do. Schools don't teach you how to survive after you have graduated from Art Schools. The real test is when you are out on your own, you really have to keep on doing it, make yourself heard, especially when you are doing something new and people just can't accept it. Most of the time, the less talented people will get the chance because they kiss ass really good while the quiet talented ones remain in the shelves for a very long time till they disappear. In Singapore, you have to be aggressive with your ideas and push it on. Sooner or later, people will learn how to appreciate.

Whats happening next for you?

I will be directing an outdoor performance called Melt in October which will include 5 physical theatre performers, Kathakali dancers, Elvis impersonators, Kuda Kepang and a samba percussion troupe. It is a movement based piece about a confrontation between 5 different body parts finding a way to get back together and work as a unit. Cross cultural and psychedelic performance indeed.



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