Pyutla Malaysian artist Kittie Yiyi interview

Pyutla: Art has no limits

Not everyone has the privilege to gain access to education, resources, and support to achieve their wildest dreams. Although we have the freedom to express ourselves through art, even then, we may encounter problems or hold ourselves back as we cling to our ambitions and perfectionist ideals. Some are fixated to master a skill, others a jack of all trades. To follow mentors with decades of knowledge or to explore the road not taken. There is no right or wrong. Ultimately, it is the choices you make and the story you tell.

Putra Al, who goes by the name Pyutla is one of the talents that stood out amongst young artists today. His art style is best described as energetic and nostalgic with an 80-90s psychedelic vibe. The vibrant colors and details in each artwork invite the audience to stop and look closer, appreciating the small things and seeing how it relates as a whole. Head over to Pentas to check out his exclusive NFTs. 80% are sold out and only 4 NFTs are available, get a piece of Pyutla’s world today!

As we get to know the artist, we found him similar in how he expressed his artworks. A good-looking mysterious shy guy on the outside with a simple yet intricate mind on the inside. Join us below as Pyutla opens up his transition of art style, working solo, pursuing different mediums, and using limitations as his strength.

Who is Pyutla?
I’ll describe myself in 5 words:

What is the story behind your artist's name – Al Miha’el and Pyutla?
You could say both [names] are my alter ego. I started with Al Miha’el as my main art account and Pyutla as my social account where I fool around with friends, post memes, dumb videos, and post random stuff.

Al Miha’el is where I focused my art back then. It was a different style, very rigid, very stagnant. It’s a controlled aesthetic that I can’t seem to expand and bring forward anymore. I slowly transitioned my art style and content into Pyutla because it’s easier for me to express myself. Putting my art into a different world, a different style, and that’s how it came to be. If you notice my previous work isn’t vibrant or colorful, very different but it was an experimental start. I took a break and focused on Pyutla, it is more fun and expressive which got more attention and motivate me to do more.

The inspiration for the two names came from my own. I didn’t want to use my real name because it’s personal and I want to protect it. I took Miha’el from an anime because it had a weird and unique ring to it. I Googled and double-checked; nobody has this name. There’s also an apostrophe (‘) which is similar to my real name. For Pyutla, I’m not too sure, probably from a friend. One day he started calling me Pyutla and people started calling me that. There were a few guys called Putra at my college and they called me Pyutla. It sounds fun and I started going along with it. Since then, it started as my main social account. A silly way to pronounce Putra and it’s easy to remember.

Tell us more about your art style and the message you want to convey.
For now, I’m moving forward with a direction that brings back the renaissance era with a mixture of modern art. I want to focus on compositions. If you notice my characters, you can see they’re perfectly composed left and right. Not too balanced, not too symmetrical but there’s a composition when you see the colors that bring you back to the renaissance era.

Deep down there’s always a message but I don’t show it directly. Some of them have a personal touch that nobody knows because I added a lot of layers. The most common theme is that I’m always drawing phones because it’s a part of everyone’s lives, it shows the modern era of society.

Your latest work is an illustrated music video for the song “Big Boi” (remix version) by Malaysian duo Herbal Candy. Working on this big project, how does this work impact and helped you grow as a digital artist?
It’s extremely challenging because it’s 5 minutes long and I’m doing it alone from animations to editing. It pushed my limit to grow more, explore my skills, and sharpen up everything during the entire process.

Regarding working alone or in teams depends on the project. I would reach out for help if I need assistance on small tasks but I prefer to work alone. I find there are a lot of ways to explore on my own. I like to work on a project alone but there are just some things you just need help with. You can’t syok sendiri [full or pleased with oneself] and do everything alone. There are times you need people to help because it will smoothen out the entire process. I like to be in control but I have to constantly remind myself to break that fear and go beyond, depend and work with more amazing minds.

“In the end,
all mediums connect to one source
– the basic elements of art.

From all these mediums,
I get to connect them with each other and
create something new."

What was your inspiration and process to create the "PAIN" (x3), "NUMB" (x3), and "MUSEUM" (x16) NFT series?
I was testing out the market with the “PAIN” and “NUMB” series to see how NFT works. For “MUSEUM”, it took me a while to think about how can I create something unique in every way that’s worth collecting. I studied the market and I found the museum concept interesting, it also got a lot of attention once I launched it.

The “MUSEUM” series is a little GIF collectible where a character passes a showroom. Every room is different and all are connected to one. I always push myself to curate every room to be different and special in its own way so people can see its value. A virtual museum with a never-ending loop. It’s similar to life, where we are now, always fixated on our phones. When one door closes, another one opens.

Upon your graduation from ASWARA, what direction are you planning on and what are your goals as an artist this year?
I graduated in film and TV. It has nothing to do with my drawing skills which explains why I didn’t draw much back then because I was focused on my studies. Even though I took a break from film and productions, I’m always thinking about projects that are related to the film industry.

Whatever I’m doing now, all the knowledge is based on my experience and film studies, applying them to my artwork. I still want to create videos and mini-films. Maybe run away from digital art and create short films.

You start the beginning of your path from ballpoint pen drawings to creating unique NFT designs. What motivated you to explore and pursue different mediums to express your art?
As mentioned earlier, I’m a guy who loves art. It means I don’t just focus on illustrating or a specific medium as some artists do. I can’t draw every day because if I do, I’ll go crazy. If I stuck to one thing, I’ll go insane.

I’m comfortable expressing my art through different mediums because I’m always open to learning new things, wanting to improve and do better. I’ve explored many things in college apart from my major in film with a little bit of dancing, theater, stage work, performing some music shows, and so on. Everything I did had nothing to do with sharpening my drawing skills. Whatever I learned from all those mediums, I applied that knowledge to draw. In the end, all mediums connect to one source – the basic elements of art. From all these mediums, I get to connect them with each other and create something new.

As a person with doesn’t have all the tools available, only using accessible tools like ballpoint pens and cameras in college, with all the limitations, do you believe your weakness is your strength? Why?
Yes. I’ve always created videos through my phone since I was young. I learned how to do stop motion through my Motorola flip phone. Back then, you can record and pause the video on your phone. If you pause it fast, you can make stop motions. That’s when I realized, I don’t need fancy cameras, I can do anything and learn from YouTube videos online to avoid the professional way and do it my way. Slightly low budget but it always works.

Even for my projects last year, all the videos were animations or done with my phone or MacBook camera in Photoshop or Final Cut Pro. Very minimal. If you know a specific direction you want to go, if you’re confident enough, just do it without all that fancy equipment. If you believe in a certain project, you can do it however you want no matter the limitations. If you believe it, just do it.

Any projects we should look out for this year?
There are a lot of personal projects that I’m currently working on. My main goal this year is to bring something new, to create something different than what others are doing. I’m trying to work on “Dunya Pyutla” [Pyutla’s world], bringing you into an animated world different from reality, giving you the content of what you can find inside. Please look forward to it.

What is your advice to an aspiring young artist?
Everyone should learn to open up and try new things in whatever they do. Art-related or not, it’s going to help you all the way around. Stay focused and believe in what you do.

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