Natisa Jones: Exploring The Self Through The Arts. As everyone looks outward to be in touch with reality, Jakarta-native artist Natisa Jones looks inwards to reflect on the self.

We live in an age where everything is instant. Mental noises from the virtual world demand our constant attention. There is more room to compare, more space to feel culturally connected but also more distraction from the clamor that reverberates in our everyday. As everyone looks outward to be in touch with reality, Indonesian artist Natisa Jones looks inwards to reflect on the self.  

Natisa Jones is a Jakarta-native artist who is honest and genuine with her creativity. To her, honesty and being in touch with one’s self-are important pieces to a creative process. “I create as honestly as I can and the style develops organically as I grow. It isn’t something I consciously think about or fabricate while I’m creating. I think this concept is more for viewers to comment rather than for the creator to be concerned with. I try my best to stay present in the process and not worry so much about the outcome.

Jones, whose works were seen in various galleries and exhibitions in and around Jakarta and Bali, is one that has been in everyone’s radar, especially among the younger audience. The 29-year old admitted that the arts had influenced a lot of her growing up.

Natisa Jones: Exploring The Self Through The Arts

Left page, Portrait of No One In Particular from Are We There Yet? Exhibition (2013) by Natisa Jones. Right page, Elephant from GROTESK Exhibition (2018) by Natisa Jones. © Natisa Jones.

“I’ve been drawing and painting ever since I was 2. I was interested in the arts early on.” Natisa Jones’ first two solo exhibitions were named Are We There Yet (2013) and Tough Romance (2016) and took place in Three Monkeys in Bali and Ruci Art Space in Jakarta respectively.

Jones spent most of her time creating and immersing in Bali, Indonesia, and Amsterdam. Her abstract works of art consist of strange and broad figures, which are major themes to her bodies of work. Identity and the self-have always gone hand in hand with her creative dialogue. “I am interested in people, the human experience, and our social contexts and I feel it’s the only subject I can fully take responsibility in. I always create from what I know and experience first hand. So exploring the human experience is just natural to me.”

Clashes of pastel gradation and dark undertones are the components to Jones’ painting and paperwork. The rich use of texts and floral symbols are also integral to her body of work, which nods to humanlike emotions, growth, and contemplation of the self. Recurring themes of disproportional figures are also illustrated boldly across her canvases and papers. Although some may associate them as female figures, Jones revealed that most of these figures are genderless and that’s what makes it human. And to the artist herself, the sincerity of the human is everything. “My favorite quality in a person in general whatever their genders are probably sincerity.”

Jones’ latest exhibition entitled GROTESK was an exploration of the self through different dimensions and emotions. Being inward and outward is what is conveyed and evoked in her creative dialogues. “As my works concerns themes of identity and the human condition, I wanted to focus on the more complex side of the human experience that isn’t always easy to digest.” The last exhibition GROTESK took place in Salihara Gallery, Indonesia and was curated by Asikin Hasan.

Jones’ works in GROTESK explores the idea of ‘ugly’, the distorted, twisted and the strange. And to Jones, some of these human attributes do not feel comfortable and easy when shared. “We felt it was important to dissect because personal issues like these are often overlooked when in reality, these issues echo on a deeper level. Especially within a social context.”

Drawing inspiration and references from artistic aficionados is a huge part of Jones’ creative process. The artist finds favorites among many European artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Picasso, whom the latter had inspired Jones in GROTESK.

Natisa Jones: Exploring The Self Through The Arts

Left page, Neckbone / Que Guapa from GROTESK Exhibition (2018) by Natisa Jones. Right page, B is 4 Brave from Tough Romance Exhibition (2016) by Natisa Jones. © Natisa Jones.

“Cubism and Picasso became an important artistic reference point for me during the process. Picasso’s artistic trajectory gave me a historical timeline to examine as an artist, where his organic visual developments paralleled his growth as a person. I think this is what was important about him. He was able to break artistic boundaries because he was true to this curiosity and creative process.”

Having to spend most of her time creating and delving into an immersive creative process, Jones has found creating second nature as much as it had to her work and passion. “It isn’t hard to find a place or time for it in my life as it is my line of work.” And to the artist, capturing the complexity and fragility of the human mind through art forms has been a privilege. “Our emotions are much more layered, abstract and complex than our day-to-day conversations. To me, art helps and creates time to express and communicate our rational and irrational feeling more productively.”

As an Indonesian artist, Jones is optimistic about the art scene to flourish in her home country. Although many more are beginning to appreciate the arts and its forms, uncertainty, and excitement mingle in the air. “We are kind of in the midst of chaos and excitement so it’s hard to reflect on where it could go or where it is. I think it will take some time for things to find its way because things are moving fast.”

All the noise and information from various industries influences everyone’s lives. The digital realm allows us to connect and be connected all the more. For artists, it is a platform for inspiration but sometimes, a place prone for comparison. For Jones, the art of creation begins for the self and not for anyone else. “I don’t necessarily work to create for a show. I create out of necessity for myself and it just continues organically from paper to canvas. The theme or topic of the show always revolves around the work and not the other way around.”

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While the inward and the self is a great place for inspiration, Natisa Jones is slowly moving outwards with her creativity. The digital realm may be a great source of inspiration but to embrace imperfections is what makes every artist authentic. Jones believed that being in touch with one’s self is the best remedy in search of meaning and character as an artist.

“When movements or trends come and go so fast, it’s hard to make things that last. It’s a challenge for us all, especially in this fast pace and highly digital era.” With a hopeful maybe, Jones hopes that everyone can find a unified solution for creativity and art forms to last. “Hopefully, we will find a comfortable pace so we can move in the art industry and give prominence over temporary sensationalism and hype.”