Firstly, I want to pass on my congratulations to Taylour for last round’s winning design and Kim for the reader’s choice award.
The designs from Challenge 2 and the feedback from the judges really encouraged me to approach this challenge differently.
So this is the view of central Jakarta from my window. In fact it’s the view from all the windows in our apartment. We live on the 30th floor and it definitely beats the view from our old apartment – think dirt field littered with rubbish and an apartment building under construction.
So I spent many snippets of time looking out the window wondering where I could find my inspiration. Usually I tend to be literal in my designs and draw what I see, or at least my interpretation of it. There are many high-rise apartments. I can see the rooftops of houses as far as the eye can see. The road, swimming pools and the mosque singing the call to prayer 5 times a day. But these things didn’t feel like they really reflected life here in Jakarta. After much thought, I decided to focus on the strip of road outside my window and attempt to create a beautiful pattern. Daily life in Jakarta revolves around the traffic or ‘macet’ (ma-chet) as it is known here.
It’s hard to describe the traffic here to people who have yet to experience it. I try to compare Jakarta traffic to the worst peak hour traffic you’ve experienced; that is Jakarta – not just in peak time, but ALL the time (well, probably in the early hours of the morning it isn’t so bad – but most of us are still in bed). The traffic is the first thing you notice when you first arrive and something locals always talk about, especially when they are on the road. It’s not uncommon to spend 2 or 3 hours sitting in traffic to only go a short distance. In Jakarta, there is no such thing as popping over to a friend’s place or to the shops; that takes at least half your day. We took our daughter to one of the theme parks just outside of central Jakarta. After an hour and ½ we were ready to head back home. It took almost 3 hours to get home and required a pit stop for food and a much-needed break on the way!
In a city of well over 10 million people, you can imagine how busy life is here. The sheer volume of cars, motorbikes, trucks, buses and other motorized vehicles (think rickshaws) and the lack of decent public transportation contribute to the very busy roads. I have actually read that unless the government builds additional roads, the traffic could come to a standstill in 2014! Yes, hard to believe!!
Unless you work close to home, everyone is part of this slow mass exodus from home to the workplace (or school, university or wherever they happen to be going that day) and back everyday. And despite the obvious frustrations that come along with being stuck in traffic for long periods of time, I have never seen a person show any anger or road rage – perhaps it’s because there’s not much use complaining about the traffic, but I also think it reflects my experience of Indonesians since living here, as well-mannered, polite and an accepting bunch of people.
Instead of focusing so much on drawing detailed individual motifs, I thought the best way to encapsulate the traffic of Jakarta was through movement and direction. My motif was a shape that could look like a simple bird on some angles or an arrow… I thought that was fitting as it could reflect a flock travelling together as well as showing direction. The varying sizes add interest and also represent the different modes of transport being used; big and small. Creating movement and flow was a bit of trial and error, but I hope I have encapsulated this constant flow of people just trying to get from A to B in this very populated city. It was certainly an interesting process working on this design that made me step out of my comfort zone – I’m also glad I have pattern design as a reflection of my time in Jakarta too!