Let me introduce you to Dira Oena, a talented 7-year-old artist hailing from Indonesia. She is one of those children inspiring other children through her vibrant and joyful creations. In this article, we delve into Dira’s artistic world, where colors come alive, stories unfold, and creativity knows no limits.
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Markers: A magical tool
When Dira was three years old, she started experimenting with simple scribbles and forms and fell in love with drawing. As time went on, her art skills blossomed, leading her on an exploration of different mediums. Of all the tools she tried, markers won her heart with their vivid hues and ease of use. With markers – her magical tool – in hand, Dira unleashed her imagination, creating energy-filled artwork.
“When I was 3 years old, I started to draw, but it was just scribbles and simple shapes. Entering the age of 4, I draw on the wall, on paper, and in other media. From there I felt drawing was fun and I continued to do it for my pleasure. I used to try several mediums. But right now, it’s very comfortable to draw using markers, because the colors are intense and it’s easy for me to use,“ Dira recalls.
For Dira, drawing is a gateway to happiness and a means of expressing her thoughts and emotions, as she enjoys the process of combining varied ideas and concepts to produce one-of-a-kind artwork.
“What I like most about drawing is that I can feel happy and free to express what’s on my mind. I just combine the ideas in my mind and apply them to my style of drawing and it all just happens,“ she says.
A Square-Faced Discovery
When Dira embarks on a new artistic endeavor, she sets her imagination free. From the initial idea to the final piece of art, she follows a path illuminated by inspiration. And once she envisions the image she wishes to create, she starts drawing simple shapes that gradually blossom into complete compositions, as she adds colors and other elements.
“First, I imagine what I want to draw. For example, if I’m going to draw a cat, I start by drawing a square/rectangular face. Then proceed with drawing the ears, body, and tail. After that, I add accessories, clothes, and colors that match what I think,“ she explains.
Dira’s artwork dances on the fine line between cubism and sheer imagination. Early in her artistic journey, she stumbled upon the idea of using a square face shape while drawing a Paw Patrol character. As a result, she developed her own artistic style, which combines her original concepts with an innate sense of design.
“I came across a drawing idea when I was having a hard time drawing a good face shape. At that time, I was 4 years old, and I wanted to draw a Paw Patrol, but the face was very difficult. So, I accidentally tried it with a square face. My parents praised it because my drawing looked more unique, after that I started to combine the square face with various characters. (…) I’m trying the cubist style too. At first, it was hard to come up with ideas, but when I drew, it just flowed,“ Dira shares.
A Proud Milestone
Though every artwork Dira creates holds a special place in her heart, one particular piece resonates deeply with her. It is a character named Purple, who has become an unexpected ambassador of Dira’s artistry in far-off Japan.
Seeing Purple embark on adventures in distant lands fills Dira with pride, as her art transcends borders, connects with people from different cultures, and is inspiring children to create.
“I really like all my artwork, but there is one drawing that impresses me right now, I named this character Purple. What makes me feel happy and proud at the same time about that? There is one of my Instagram followers, Hiroki Yazaki from Japan, who is making unique dolls from certain materials, and in January 2023 he asked permission to make a doll with one of my original characters. He chose PURPLE. After the doll was finished, he took Purple for a walk to several places in Japan and posted interesting photos with her. I feel very blessed and happy, because I want my art to be known by people from abroad, and it happens,“ shares Dira.
Inspiration Found Everywhere
Dira’s imagination knows no boundaries, drawing inspiration from her surroundings and the things she loves. It can strike at any moment, whether she is sketching in her cozy corner or exploring the world beyond her doorstep. Cartoons, clothes, and even the interactions between friends become catalysts for her artistic ideas.
“My imagination is nurtured maybe because I often draw it. Watching other cartoons can also provide inspiration, just like seeing the clothes and accessories they wear, it inspires me. Inspiration just comes wherever I am, sometimes it’s also difficult to find ideas, but next time the ideas flow swiftly. Unpredictable, everything just happens for me,“ she confesses.
Also, Dira created narrative-driven drawings. “The Chubby Cheeks Series,” one of her works, tackles the idea of friendship.
“Several times I made art with stories. I’m still not confident to publish it. Maybe next time. But there is one short story that my mom has uploaded, that is my other style. I call it ‘The Chubby Cheeks Series‘. The story is about 5 characters A, B, C, D, and E. C and E are fighting, and D tries to stop them, while A and B are just wondering what was going on. I made it because I don’t like fighting between friends. We must live in peace,“ she affirms.
Like any other artist, Dira faces challenges along her creative journey. Realistic drawing poses a particular difficulty for her at the moment. However, with unwavering determination and the guidance of her supportive parents, Dira has learned to embrace the process of learning and growing. Her parents have advised her to focus on what brings her joy and hope and not to be discouraged by negative feedback.
“The hardest thing for me right now is trying to draw realistic, because trying it is hard enough. I feel not talented at it. My parents gave me advice that, at this time, I just need to do what I like, I don’t need to worry about other things, because art is wide and there are lots of styles, I just try to make what I like. If there is negative feedback, let it be. My parents said that not everyone will like what I make, it’s okay if someone doesn’t like it, just keep going as long as it’s still a positive thing and give appreciation to people who like my work,“ Dira shares.
Through her art, Dira hopes to bring happiness, as she strongly believes that art has the ability to encourage and give strength to people on an individual level.
“I just want people who see my work to be happy. The role of art in my life is that of feeling like I have something more in me, giving rise to the confidence that I can do something I like,“ Dira says.
Children inspiring Children
To all aspiring young artists yearning to discover their creative voice, Dira has a simple yet powerful message: “Just do it!“ Embrace what brings you happiness and allow your imagination to soar. Don’t be afraid to take risks and explore different art styles. Just express your unique views and thoughts. Remember, being unique is what makes you truly remarkable.
“Just do it, do what makes you happy, draw something that makes you happy. Being unique is cool!“
Listen to Dira‘s advice and create your art!
I invite you to also explore the art of another young artist from Indonesia, Fico Savario. Furthermore, Fateme Masoumi and Ronia Khalaj, both from Iran, can show you how they overcome challenges on their creative paths, and inspire you.
If you feel inspired by Dira Oena’s art, I please visit her Instagram account.
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