Artist Behind The Art: From Mech Souls To Brick Soles
STORY: Nicholas Yong
25 July 2021
What do Lego, Gundam, and Sesame Street have in common?
To most of us, probably nothing. But to illustrator @clogtwo aka Eman Raharno Jeman, these are the perfect subjects to be converted into cool mecha-style artwork.
His stuff is pretty distinctive: there are exposed and intricate robotic details like cables and wires galore plus warning labels throughout – it’s a mecha lovers’ dream.
If he seems familiar, it's because the 34-year-old and his wife, @inkten aka Nadirah Abdul Razak are the founders of Ink And Clog Studio – and they've been doing Singapore proud with one-of-a-kind, commissioned urban art murals and artwork around the world.
His recent collab with Lego transformed the new Lego Adidas Superstar into what he calls the “MechaSoul Organism”, which looks like a pair of kicks from the year 2050.
We speak to Eman about his amazing brick build, his cool AF “MechaSoul” artwork, and his thoughts on being an artist in Singapore.
How did the collab with Lego come about?
I’ve always been interested in innovation. Being able to customise existing things and claim ownership of them helps to give them a certain value and create a certain connection with them.
When The Lego Group invited me to collaborate on their Lego X Adidas Superstar set, I was really excited, and the gears in my mind started turning. I started thinking about how I could create a unique collaboration piece.
Why was the Lego Adidas Originals Superstar chosen for this collab? And how long was the whole process to create the The MechaSoul Organism?
Adidas Singapore and I have been working closely in the past year on lifestyle collaborations and pushing the vision of originality and authenticity, with the Lego Adidas Originals Superstar 10282 being the latest collaborative partnership between Adidas Originals and the Lego Group.
They saw my work as Clogtwo, which represents both the building factor in Lego and the lifestyle factor in Adidas.
The whole process took over two hours, from building the Lego set, conceptualising the customisation, and executing the artist embellishment.
What was the most challenging aspect and what did you enjoy most about designing and building The MechaSoul Organism?
There are no limitations to creating with Lego bricks. You can bend and twist your mind, figuring out how the bricks can be connected and how to form new shapes by piecing them together. This is something that I enjoy the most.
While Lego bricks are designed to be simple, they can be built up to be complex forms. It’s a positive challenge and it trains me to build, unbuild, and rebuild something over and over again, unleashing limitless creations.
Your Instagram is filled with your cool takes on Gundam, Star Wars, and Transformers, as well as your own mecha twist on Sesame Street and Godzilla. When and how did your fascination for mecha and mech designs as well as your art style “MechaSoul” come about?
As a teenager, I always loved the moment when you open the cover of an old beige computer, exposing the wires, cables and circuit boards. It gave me a feeling of systematic cohesiveness amidst the chaos.
With a technical drawing background, adding details is like therapy for me. I enjoy it when others start to look closely at my work, and appreciate the time that I’ve put into creating the pieces.
Out of curiousity, were you in Armour during NS? Did NS have any impact on your art style?
I was in the Military Police. My active years during my national service gave me the opportunity to be more focused and systematic in my work.
Can you remember the first thing you ever drew?
The first thing I remember drawing was the proton pack from Ghostbusters - the way they could invent a machine that was at once fictional yet realistic.
You're the co-founder of Ink and Clog Studio. What have you learnt most about creativity and the creative industry from this venture?
Inkten and myself have been involved in the creative and urban arts industry as individuals since 2004 before we co-founded Ink And Clog Studio.
Since then, we realised how much arts and design have grown over the past few decades, making it a viable career and profession. Like an artwork, you will never know how it will turn out until you start painting.
What are some big misconceptions that people have about Singapore artists and illustrators?
Often, artists are mistaken as people who are able to draw or illustrate.
In actual fact, they are dedicated people who constantly put in hours of practice in their craft, something that is usually looked past.
What are your sources of inspiration?
At the moment, I’ve been inspired by my surroundings - looking at the small things that I usually walk past every day.
What's next for you and what's your dream project to work on?
Trying to put in as much effort and time into my work, as well as practising daily to improve. Hopefully, I’ll be able to work on projects with other renowned international brands in the future.
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