Artist On The ‘Rise’: Bernadet Putri

Written By
Annisa Puspa Andira

Edited By
Fazrah LR Heryanda

Photo Source

Grace the day with the humidity weather, Surabaya has always been a perfect city to whine about its heat, but that day we could care less as it would be our exciting first meeting with Bernadet Putri (@bernadetputri). At the hotel where she stayed, the Jakarta-based illustrator welcomed us friendly like a longtime pal. Started the conversation with small talk about Surabaya to the project she was working on, we couldn’t help but fall for her modest personality as it showcases through her work value. Accompanied by her adorable giggling while telling a story, the conversation eventually go more in-depth about her life as an illustrator and the story behind it.

Well, Bernadet, tell us about your story! How is it you find your path to become an illustrator?

Back then, I’d never pictured myself as an illustrator because I was in a textile designer major. So, I would probably end up in that area. However, when I was in my final year, in the progress of finishing my thesis, TATKALA was born. It demands a lot of money, yet at that time, my financial was in the bad state, so I put on one’s thinking cap how to quickly gain money, and I thought to participate in some competition wasn’t a bad idea. I’ve tried to participate in a bunch of drawing competitions as much as I could. Even though I didn’t win the competition, I collected the work I’ve made and uploaded it to my Instagram routinely, like a digital portfolio.

"I think attitude matters a lot, particularly if we talk about dealing with a client or perhaps for every work that we had.”

One day, my senior was looking for an illustrator for a wedding invitation. When she knows my work, she began to take an interest in it. So, she picked me to be her illustrator and asked me to draw botanical illustration, which is the first time I draw it. When I finished it, she was thrilled and said it was beyond her expectation to see the result. From there, I formed my career path.

Okay, so what's about your brand TATKALA! Can you share more about TATKALA?

Since my senior has always been picked me as her illustrator, people started to notice my work. Seeing the positive response, I had an urge to start my brand. There was a cute story when I stuck with how I named its brand. After asking my friends, one of mine said, that why don’t you just using your project ‘TATKALA’ as your name? After a long thought, I decided to rearise TATKALA, my thesis project. It’s fit because I think TATKALA holds a more profound meaning about cherishing a moment, and engraved moment lasts in our minds. However, for TATKALA, I’m running this business together with a friend.

How is cherishing the moment has been portrayed in your work in TATKALA?

In TATKALA, I intended to combining storytelling and visuals. I want to highlight the values and meanings through my design so that people won’t see it as merely a fancy pattern or beautiful drawing. For example, I hold firmly to the principle of doing further, asked the client their story about how they’re meeting, the special moment they share, or maybe what they’re like and then their wedding concept and venue. Later, I summarize into keywords which help me to build the mood board and present the idea to the client. I find a sweet and exciting story from my clients. Once, I had a client who’s the groom was from Japan and they were planning to hold their wedding in some beautiful cliff at Bali with a Japanese-inspired concept to decoration. So, for their invitation, I’ve made a gold wave pattern with a crane bird. Oh, there is also another interesting story from my client who wants to tell her spiritual journey in her big day, so I got inspired by Noah Arc, the bird that has been looking for land as it is indicated by discovering the olive plants. It fits with her beautiful yet touching story, and you can see all the designs on TATKALA Instagram (@tatkalastudio). With the popularity of Instagram stories, people want the story to be seen and heard. Along with that, I wish TATKALA can embrace storytelling and become a story keeper of a precious moment in someone’s life.

Can you characterize your art style? And, who do you see as your inspiration?

I like botanical illustration, especially the process of it. It’s therapeutic for me. When I brush off botanical illustration on canvas, I feel my burden lifted by itself. As for the inspiration, I love the Australian illustrator; his name is Edith Rewa because he presents detailed-work, which surprisingly gives a peaceful feeling. That’s what makes me love botanical illustration. It’s like there’s no pressure, and I can feel my freedom. Maybe it’s cheesy to say, but in sort ways, it is indeed calming. And since it is botanical, I used a lot of pastel colors. It gives classic vintage vibes that I want because, to be honest, I was not fond of bold colors much. However, the botanical illustration mostly I used in my art as Bernadet Putri is different from TATKALA that is more mature.

Oh, what's the striking difference between TATKALA and your brand, Bernadet Putri?

TATKALA is focused on design and print, like a wedding invitation. As I stated before, the art style is more mature, and the design itself mixed up with a different kind of object, not just botanical. TATKALA is intended to be a mass product, so it has to fit with client demands too. As for Bernadet Putri is designed for me to channels my inner desire. So, the design itself depends on my mood and what kind of illustration that I want to present. The products are various like a scarf, apparel, and many more.

So, in establishing TATKALA and Bernadet Putri, you must be dealing with different kinds of clients in TATKALA. Can you tell us tips how do you handle them?

I think attitude matters a lot, particularly if we talk about dealing with a client or perhaps for every work that we had. Being on time when in the meeting and stick to deadlines, smile, and talk politely has been my way of handling the clients. In the work I designated to, I’m trying my best to give more than one hundred percent of my efforts no matter how small or big the project I’ve trusted on. By doing that, the client can feel my hard work. Well, even though if the client was indeed demanding, I try to keep a fast response and stay patient too. It is another story if I can’t handle or fulfill the demand from clients. I would choose not to take the project, so I’m not disappointed with the client as well as not blaming or myself later.

Wow, interesting! However, to lose some clients, are there any regrets?

I don’t think so. In my opinion, forcing our self to do something that’s beyond our capability is not a good idea. I know that there is no easy job, but I don’t want to disappoint the client, in case I can’t fulfill their demands, the same as I don’t want to torture myself physically and mentally too. For instance, there’s a client who wants me to draw some artwork, but the style is different from mine, I started to do math about the difficulty level and my ability to complete the project. Sometimes if my work is overload, I’m suggesting them to look for another illustrator. After all, if it’s meant to be, it will come eventually.

“I have more desire to convey the messages and stories in every design that I create.”

With accomplishments that you've made from TATKALA and your collaborations with some big brands, what kind of artist you want to become in the future?

The journey that I’ve been going through shaping my idea of what I’ve wanted to become. After going through a lot of things for about a year, I have more desire to convey the messages and stories in every design that I create. I want to make a meaningful work through Bernadet Putri and TATKALA for myself and people as the brand with values and offer something that lasts.