Kuwait has always been brimming with a thriving multicultural community. While many expats come and go, we don’t often see people who pay a tribute to their time in Kuwait through art. In the case of one Pinot Ichwandardi, however, we not only uncovered an amazing artistic series, we unveiled one family’s beautiful story and journey from Indonesia, Kuwait to New York.
Currently working as a Vine artist and motion graphic designer at New York’s GrapeStory/Vayner Media agency, Pinot is not the only artist in his family. Husband to super creative wife Dita, who we previously covered in these bazaar pages, along with three children Arwen the fairy, Leia the princess and Neo the one (their children’s names are taken from characters in trilogy movies, naturally), they artistically thrive together. This father of the ‘Neverland family’ proudly claims that his children heavily influence his work, their whimsy constantly serve his creative process.
They arrived to Kuwait in 2007 and began their adventure far away from their home in Indonesia. Their journey ended in Kuwait in 2015 when they relocated to New York, where Pinot today creates commercial Vines for multi-national brands like Virgin Mobile, General Electric, Ford, Disney, ESPN, Samsung, Chrysler, amongst many others.
Perhaps it is also Pinot’s upbringing in an artistic family that further nurtured his talents. His father was a comic artist and animator, while his mother was also an illustrator. Coming from a family of visual storytellers, Pinot’s work started off in a variety of mediums, from TV, Internet media, to social media outlets like Vine. If you follow his work, you will notice his traditional hand-drawn animations that he draws frame-by-frame, combined with a stop-motion technique of real objects. His work is constantly evolving over time. Pinot said, “I work when my family is around me, whether in the office or when I am working at home. Sometimes, I even ask my kids to come to the office and accompany me for 2-3 hours. As for the Vines I design, I work at home while my kids are watching. Their ideas, imagination and sense of fantasy really help me conceptualize the ideas that I come up with. Most of the time, they help me when I’m creatively blocked, or when I’m facing a problem with the production of a design. For this reason, they will always be involved in my work!”
During their time in Kuwait, Pinot worked at Al Watan TV for seven years, making this his family’s first adventure outside Indonesia. Living as a minority in Kuwait (there are only 50,000 people in the Indonesian community in Kuwait), they learned from Kuwait’s cultural diversity, despite the typical opinion that Kuwait can be less dynamic than its GCC neighbors. Pinot comments that while most people arrive to Kuwait for economic reasons, he believes that Kuwait offered his family a more well rounded experience.
He said, “We admired every little thing that we saw in Kuwait. Something that may appear as unimportant to others was always important for us. That’s why we started our #7yearsinQ8 project.” Marked by the hashtag on Instagram and Social media as #7yearsinQ8, Pinot and his family went ahead with the idea to celebrate and memorize all of their interesting experiences in Kuwait. Consider this a thank you project, if you may, and a token of appreciation for all of their wonderful experiences. Pinot told bazaar that most of the painting was done while they were still living in Kuwait, but the project has now taken a new approach as they are now using photo documentations as a reference.
Like most of his projects, #7yearsinQ8 is one that involves Pinot’s entire family. They are currently planning on publishing the nostalgic sketches in the form of a book in Indonesia and the US because “[they] want to show people, the real color of Kuwait.” Once this project is completed, Pinot’s family is planning on simply enjoying their new adventure in New York, with hopes of revisiting Kuwait in the future.