Created with a splash of bright colors, artist Renata Owen's vibrant pieces convey a fantastical universe inhabited by curious characters.
An eclectic appropriation of what goes through an artist's mind, Renata Owen's art is sweeping through the art-illustration scene, commanding attention for being playful and daring, with just a touch of ethnic-styled shapes thrown in for good measure.
'I like to see beautiful things with detailed ornaments and intricate shapes that don't really exist in everyday life, or in our era,' says the Surabaya-based artist.
Though she says she only 'draws what she sees', the fantastical elements of her drawing suggests an imaginative mind. She speaks of the 'flowers, girls in pretty dresses and hair pieces, beautiful birds, butterflies and other flying creatures' that 'pour out of [her] mind'.
'If I had to categorize my visual style onto an era, it would be something in between art nouveau and psychedelia.'
Before she enrolled to study Visual Communication Design, not having formally studied drawing in her younger years, Renata's skill came through her relationship with the local comic art community.
'I have always been the kid who loves to draw. People around me know this well. I always had with me a coloring pencil set, stationery, or any drawing tools ' the kind that you often get as a Christmas present. It was just a hobby, I never went to any kind of formal drawing course,' she says.
Her fate changed when, in high school, she bought a copy of a local art magazine, which had a drawing by Italian designer-artist Simone Legno as its cover.
The drawing was in Legno's characteristic Tokidoki style, and it would firmly establish the kind of vibrant busy quality that Renata still adheres to.
'I instantly fell in love with it. I think Tokidoki was my first significant influence before I went to university. There, I was taught about visual art, graphic design and other things; but I knew that illustration was the one I wanted to focus on'.
Renata's inspiration comes from different things, she says, but what always manages to set the mood is music.
'I am really inspired by music; the melody and especially the lyrics. I love how beautiful words can be arranged into song lyrics, poetry and quotes. My mood is created mostly by a song or a playlist I've made. I always create a playlist for different projects I am working on to help me find the right mood. I find it easy to portray images in my head while listening to music that matches the theme of the project or artwork I'm doing.'
Like many of her peers, Renata does not need a particularly tidy space to work.
'I prefer a neat and clean space but, trust me, you'll always find my desk messy. I can't keep it tidy, I just don't know how. Sometimes it's easier to find things on a messy desk,' she half-jokes.
But for now, Renata is preparing to release her first illustrated-book, Dru and Tale of the Five Kingdoms whose story was written by author Clara Ng. The book will be released worldwide sometime this year ' something that Renata realizes is very significant.
'You could say that I'm currently busy preparing for one of the biggest events of my life.'