John Martono is an artist from Bandung in Java, Indonesia. He is best known for his unique, swirling abstract paintings, which he creates using a unique blend of silk painting and hand embroidery. Martono holds a graduate degree in Art and is also currently studying a postgraduate degree. Over the years, Martono has become known around the world for being a leading textile designer. His focus on textile science and technique makes his works very unique and different to other artists’ out there. Martono is also dedicated to teaching others his craft and has built up many years of experience working as a textile lecturer at the Bandung Institute of Technology. Known as ‘Captain John’ to his students, he has inspired many to follow in his footsteps and master the complex craft of silk painting.
Martono is constantly producing new, striking pieces, with each offering something completely different from the one before. Recent pieces from Martono include “The Best of Day,” “Black Night,” “Dreamer” and “A Kind of Magic” all of which have been painted on silk with hand embroidery. Other notable pieces from previous years include “My Son’s Song” an installation created for the Bentara Budaya cultural centre in 2008. Martono spent a total of four months creating this piece, using embroidered fine gold thread, pebbles and crushed salt to create a complex pattern. The piece was truly inspiring, with Martono describing it as a representation of the meaning behind his one year old son’s wordless cries, as he learns to speak.
Martono’s first experience of exhibiting was in 1995 at the Asian Fiber Art Exhibition in Taegu, South Korea. Since then he has taken part in hundreds of exhibitions around the world mostly in Asia. He was presented for the first time with Lahd Gallery at Le Salon de Lahd in 2015 and participated at Art16 with Trips to Colourful Thoughts. In addition to creating his silk masterpieces and exhibiting around the world, Martono also dedicates much of his time to working on social art projects. Over the years, he has created interiors for a number of different companies and organisations including Red Cross Indonesia and Toys City in Jakarta. Martono describes his artworks as ‘a journey’ and we can’t wait to see where they will take him next.