The Jakarta Post
“Art is everywhere you look for it” is just a saying until you meet Wahyu Ichwandardi, affectionately known as Pinot, and his wife Dita Wistarini. To sit in a cafe and talk about world events with them is incomplete without the presence of sketchbooks and drawing tools. Their children, Arwen, Leia and Neo, often tag along and draw as their parents do, anywhere.
Pinot started his career at RCTI television station as a news graphic designer in 1994, and continued climbing the ladder until an opportunity from Kuwait’s Al-Watan TV came knocking in 2007. “Kuwait was never in our plans. We just wanted to go abroad, for our children. We want them to have the chance to see the world and be connected to the international world. So we just went,” Pinot reminisced.
Beginning an adventure with a rather unusual country of choice made it exciting for the Ichwandardi family, as the big decision was made without much consideration. “We didn’t consider anything. When the offer to go abroad came, we just went, not thinking about which country we were going to,” he laughed. “We didn’t come from a family of nomads, so we wanted to try how it feels to migrate because everyone says migrating makes life better. But the truth is life abroad is far from glamorous, but we do learn to adapt to new situations.”
Living in Kuwait with very few activities to do in the city pushed the creative buttons within Pinot and Dita. “Boredom only made us creative and productive in Kuwait; we were able to do arts and crafts at home with the children and then document them on our blogs,” Dita said. The couple maintained a few blogs throughout the years, documenting Pinot’s artsy sketches, hand-drawn animations, activities with the children and also Dita’s cooking and drawing.
The birth of Vine, a short video-editing app, in 2012 fueled Pinot’s passion in animation. He began to make hand-drawn stop-motion animations and uploaded them to his Vine. The simplistic approach of pencil-drawn animation with touches of humor in each post immediately garnered worldwide attention, including from famous brands like Samsung and Disney, which Pinot has made some notable Vine animations for.
A new opportunity came knocking in 2014, this time from New York City, which led Pinot and his family to embark on a new adventure. Now working as an animator at Vayner Media, Pinot now calls New York City home although he still feels self-conscious about his English.
“My English is still very basic, but when we lived in Kuwait for seven years, I saw that people didn’t see my limited verbal language as a handicap. For them, what really mattered was my skills, talent and interests. [My English skills] became more obvious when we moved to New York, where everybody speaks English. But eventually I learned to trust myself and again found out that when our skills, talents and interests are appreciated, there is really no problem,” he said.
The Neverland Family is what Pinot and Dita have named their brood, a fitting title considering the fivesome’s closeness to art that makes them appear to be living in their own wonderfully created world. However wonderful, arts and crafts mean a messy environment.
“The house is a mess because we have paper and piles of the children’s drawings everywhere; but we do save their drawings,” Pinot said. “It is funny to see their progress,” added Dita.
Although seemingly very open to exposing their children to social media, Pinot and Dita agree on using it to showcase ideas, rather than plain narcissism.
“It’s a phenomenon that we have to face, so we have to tell them what the limits are. The most important thing is that one day we will have to open everything to them and when that happens, we hope we have provided them with the basics; what’s appropriate and what’s not. It’s OK to take a selfie, as long as there’s a concept or a story behind it, so they will know what they are really doing on social media and not get stuck in the false glamour.”
Living thousands of kilometers away from Indonesia for years has created a new paradigm for Pinot, as he encourages Indonesian creative minds to try and go global. “Creative friends should really consider that what they say or do on social media is not only consumed by Indonesian audiences, but also international audiences. Try to use English; when we put ideas out there, please bear in mind that the consumers are not only Indonesians.” (kes)
The Jakarta Post's interview with the Neverland Family can be viewed below.