This week at Inspiration Station, we head to Indonesia to look at some amazing creativity happening in the Jakarta street art scene. But our focus is not so much on the graffiti across city walls and buildings, but in the actual tool of the trade—the spray can.
One street artist named Crack has decided to fuse old and new by combining the look of Japanese Daruma dolls with spray paint cans in what he calls 'darucans'. In addition to looking great, the cans are reusable, depending of what type of paint used. Watercolour or acrylic paints can be easily removed with water and soap, or thinner can be used for cleaning. And the vinyl exterior means the cans will bounce instead of break if dropped, making them virtually unbreakable.
The first one, called the O.G., in black and orange (above) was limited to 199 pieces worldwide, but is also available in three different do-it-yourself colours: black, white and glow-in-the-dark. By leaving these cans blank, other grafitti artists can pour their own creativity by creating their own unique designs. Already there are more than 100 artists participating in the movement, some of whom send their designs back to a local toy brand and artist collective called Museum of Toys, for resale.
Entreperneur and local toy producer, Win, who runs Museum of Toys, displays more than 9,000 designer toys from around the world along with producing its own locally made toys, making it one of the largest collections in Southeast Asia, according to Win. This allows Indonesian creators a means to market digitally, and to manufacture and ship their creations abroad.
Right now the Darucan, having just launched a new 'love and evil edition' in black and white (above) is the hot seller with buyers around the world. Win notes that the biggest markets are in the USA and UK followed by the Philippines and Singapore.
Campaign asked graffiti artist Crack to share a bit more about his 'darucans'. Here's an edited Q&A:
How did this idea come about? Why did you tap Japanese culture and the Daruma doll for inspiration with the design?
I’ve always been fascinated with Japanese culture since I was a kid—it reflects so much in all of my works. I love mixing my original spray cans with other popular cultural characters in general. What I’m aiming to do here is to give people a little knowledge about graffiti culture itself. A spray can is the usual 'weapon' to make graffiti—the Daruma doll is just one popluar icon that came to me. When I saw it I just needed to do something about it. I mixed them up and voila—there was the 'Darucan'.
Daruma dolls are seen as a symbol of perseverance and good luck, making them popular as a gift of encouragement. It connects with graffiti artists who always need luck when they’re doing graffiti in a public space or illegal environment so they don’t get caught by the cops.
How often do you use Darucans when making your own graffiti art?
Since I created Darucans last year I've tried to use it in my graffiti works and hope to continue in the future.
How would you describe the street art scene in Jakarta?
Street art and graffiti in Jakarta are so big, there are so many amazing artists here. Since there’s no serious law about vandalism and making graffiti or public art murals, the graffiti/street art community is so healthy and keeps growing. There’s so many exhibitions about graffiti, so many events that include graffiti that it feels like graffiti is not a taboo thing here.
What other things have you designed or would like to design?
I’m focused on making little universes to all of my characters right now. There are so many toys I've designed that will be released soon, of course with spray cans as the main focus. I really want to design my own sneaker in the future, and I’m thinking about designing a rocket-ship. Elon, hit me up.
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