Interview Series: Ayang Cempaka

May 25, 2016

Ayang Cempaka is an Indonesian illustrator currently based in Dubai. Turning her childhood hobby of drawing into a range of well-crafted products, her vibrant and animated artwork caught our attention when we were planning the first edition of Ink Sweat & Tears back in January!

Influenced by Japanese and Scandinavian styles, Ayang creates illustrations that are characterized by their vintage feel, bright hues, and whimsical paint strokes. The themes run a wide gamut, from fruits and vegetables to quotes that are inspired by her daily life.

We caught up with the talented artist to discuss her inspirations, what she’s selling at our market this Friday and the sad fact that she’ll be leaving Dubai soon to head back to her native Indonesia.

1. Where does your love for paper goods come from?

For a couple of years I used to work with fabric, threads and leather, mix them and make bags. I got the material I needed and worked closely with my artisan in my hometown. When I moved to Dubai in early 2010, I needed to think what I could do here, even though I was still working with bags from afar. At that time, my drawing skill was at zero level. I knew I am always into product design, but not into drawing too much. I drew only for fun. I found joy in drawing, and found out that I work best with gouache. Honestly, I’m not a stationery person, really. But I do love packaging design and again, product design, hahaha. I choose paper because that is the best, easiest, cheapest media that can accommodate my new skill, drawing.
2. We love the vibrancy of your work, what’s the inspiration behind it?

I love children books, both vintage and new. I feel like I have two different personalities, one is me in real life that loves something simple, natural, organic, rustic, and monochrome and another me who love love loves vibrant colors, happiness, sweetness. When I draw, this personality takes over and unleashes my inner children side. Does it sound funny??
3. How would you describe your ideal environment to create your art?

I get bored so fast, seriously. I need a dynamic environment, I need to see different people, different view, different places.
4. We’ve heard that your leaving Dubai soon, a true loss for the city! Where will you go next and what are your plans with the brand?

Yes!! I am going back to Indonesia in 2 weeks! Initially for maternity break and I think I need some more time to reconnect and knowing myself again. I still want to do lots of things while I am in Indonesia. There are many things you are able to do there! And so many skilled artisans! I will run my studio again, we are planning to make leather bags again and sell them online, and I will be doing lots of experiments in making things, like jewellery, maybe. Or making something from wood, or making natural baskets, or making furniture? The possibility is endless.
5. What will you be selling at Ink Sweat & Tears?

Art prints, scarves, cards, wax and seal, bags!

Don’t miss Ayang and a whole load of other talented artists, designers, DJs and vendors this Friday for our second edition of Ink Sweat & Tears!

More info here:


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