Today we turn to the work of Lulu Sanjaya (@lulutanata). Through photo manipulation and digital creation, Lulu constructs stunning pieces for all to enjoy. You'll find a variety of elements in Lulu's work; from geometric patterns to sci-fi scenery, there seems to be no end to Lulu's inventiveness. Learn more about his life and his art below!
Hello, my name is Tanata Lulu Sanjaya. People usually call me Lulu. I'm a 32-year-old Indonesian Chinese male, born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, a super crowded city.
At this time i'm running a small local business producing custom handmade packaging boxes that are paperboard based. Through this job i learned about image editing and a little graphic design.
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE IN HIGH SCHOOL?
Definitely not a popular kid. A little shy I think. But I loved sports so much. I was playing futsal in my spare time and I'm still doing it today. I would also hit the gym if I had some hours left in my day. I'm really thankful that I had fun in high school, lived without pressure, and made great friendships lasting until today. One of the best periods in my life.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
I came from a family that owns a culinary business. I always have had a passion about food. I used to think that I wanted to be a chef or in a culinary field someday, but I never had a chance to catch that dream.
WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE COMFORT FOOD?
A couple slices of rendang (Indonesian caramelized beef curry) is enough to ruin my diet plan.
WHAT IS YOUR SPIRIT ANIMAL?
My Chinese zodiac is ox so I'll stick with that. Diligent, dependability and determination.
WHAT TWO CELEBRITIES WOULD YOU CHOOSE TO BE YOUR PARENTS?
My celebrities parents would be Zooey Deschanel, i wouldn't mind her always shouting at me and Ben Stiller would be perfect.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT WINTER?
Well, since I live in a tropical country we don't have a winter here. We only have summer and rainy season. At the beginning of the rainy season in the last months of the year is a pleasant moment for me. I love the smell of the rain. It feels like everything is slowing down, taking a break from my daily rush and restoring the positive energy. Also have three siblings with birthdays during those months, so it's like family time.
WHAT'S THE MOST INTERESTING THING ABOUT YOU THAT WE WOULDN'T LEARN FROM YOUR INSTAGRAM?
I think the most interesting thing about me that you wouldn't learn from my Instagram alone is that I am an old fashioned guy. Yes. I'm saying that. Almost everything about me must be seen from the side of functionality. I'm still riding my 1992 motorcycle which I restored by my self. I'm so proud about that. I never change my haircut. I drink the same coffee everyday. I have an old fashioned taste. Others may see me as a stiff person, but personally I think it is an advantage. I tend to focus on what I want and pursue it.
At the moment my priority is my job. I found my passion here and I put a lot of energy into it. In my profession, measurement and precision are everything. I can work for days only to make one design or mock up. I like to do it manually by hand before put them on a computer program so that the results will be good. I find satisfaction in this process.
However, for everything I do, I don't believe in perfection; I believe in progress.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN?
My first design/photography experience was when I worked in a printing company which is run by my uncle, before I started my own. Macromedia Freehand and Adobe Photoshop were the first software that I learned to use. A few years back I found a mobile editing community and it has really amazed me. It's fascinating to see detailed edits using only iOS devices. Desktop editing is awesome but mobile editing uses a variety of apps and is another type of fun for me.
There's always something new to learn, so many possibilities with this. I still want to dig more and see what I can do, and somehow it feels like a getaway from my daily routine. Keep learning and having fun - that's what keeps me interested.
HAS SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYED A ROLE IN YOUR WORK?
Instagram definitely played a big role in my work. I believe we encourage each other in this community. Not only seeing how people respond to my work but also I've found a ton of inspiration in this community. It is always exciting to connect with others through my work and how they interpret it.
IS THERE ANYTHING IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU TRY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH YOUR WORK?
Not so specific, but my edits usually reflect my mood and the circumstances that are happening around me. I like the spontaneous edits and random results that come from playing with apps. No matter how people see it and define it, I really hope that people can see the process of how it is formed. I think that's how i communicate with the audience.
HOW DO YOU GENERALLY APPROACH YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
When I have something in my mind, initially I will start a hurry-scurry edit. I don't make detailed crops, adjustments or neat blending. It's more like sketching. When I already know what I want and I can see of how it will look I will start over from the beginning with more details. Sometimes I also make a little experiment during this process, adding effects or blending, just letting it flow to see how it turns out. I don't want to limit my edit with some specific style or theme, because I think that is the fun part of doing this.
HOW SPECIFICALLY DO YOU USE MEXTURES IN THAT PROCESS?
For me Mextures is like buttercream icing on the top of a cupcake. Mextures not only completes an edit, but also makes it passionate. I always use Mextures as a final touch on my edits, but sometimes i also use Mextures on images before i blend them with other images or elements to see it as a whole. I usually add one or two Mextures edits to my work.
CAN YOU SHARE TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE FORMULAS?
TDESVIM - I like how this formula simplifies the depth of some images and at the same time gives a melancholic tone and color. For me this formula works on landscapes or perspective images.
UHPWELI - I like how this formula turns the exposure of some images into a glazed feeling. And the vintage film really does the job. It mutes and enhances some colors in a beautiful way. I usually use this formula on a portrait or double exposure.
PICK TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE PIECES AND TELL US WHY THESE STAND OUT TO YOU.
This double exposure is definitely one of my favorite pieces. It's simple and yet you can make an experiment with another addition, element and effect. This one seems nicely framed and I love the color also.
Photo manipulation created on mobile devices is always delightful for me. I know sometimes it's childlike but I can't resist the fun. I like doing a detailed masking like I did on this piece, even though sometimes I have limitations because of limited tools. This sci-fi photo manipulation is interesting for me because the blends looks simple but well merged and also a little retro look from mextures.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
Knowing that I can learn more and be better is what inspires me the most, but my mood and the moment of the day usually drives me to create something.
IF YOU COULD STEAL CREDIT FOR ONE INSTAGRAM FEED, WHOSE WOULD IT BE?
WHO ARE THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE MOST INSPIRED YOUR WORK?
Some of the Instagram accounts that have really inspired me are @lvnatikk, @rosscollinsartist, @israelsanchez91, @megatrawn, @mode500, @d_fordesign and so many more. @n.o.x.x was so generous to share some of the apps he used with me a while ago. Also, @campovisual usually shares some apps he has used on his posts which is very useful. Lately I've also enjoyed @elric.gordon, @retrograde_1980, and @leftfield_corn.
See more of Tanata's work here!