To many artists, the act of painting on silk is a unique and novel idea, requiring special abilities but for John Martono it is a way of life. A master in silk painting, Martono uses his craft to bring a new perspective to the world’s contemporary fine arts and share an insight into his internal thoughts.
Painting on silk is not easy. Not only is the material very expensive but it also requires the use of special paints. Martono actually has to import his paints from abroad, as they are not readily available in his own country, Indonesia.
The way in which Martono paints is also very unique. Whereas canvas painters usually work with their frames upright on an easel, Martono must work with his frame in a horizontal position. Speaking of his process he says, “It is only logical that when your frame is upright, paint will drip downward. A smooth painting technique is important for such fine silk material.”
The way he works is truly mesmerising, with careful thought going into every brush stroke and stitch he makes. His use of colour is truly inspiring, leaving the viewer to draw their own meaning from the imagery before them. The threads woven into his paintings so fine, that from a distance, the work appears like a traditional painting. Yet up close, you can see that the beautiful fine coloured threads add an important accent to the imagery he creates on each of his silk canvases.