Meet Diela Maharanie (@dielamaharanie) an illustrator and visual artist who has made art her life for the past 15 years. The Jakarta-based creative is also the artist behind the vibrant “Spring Time in Denim Land” themed illustrations for 501® Day, which you may have spotted in our stores.
Diela got her start after her dreamy illustrations, ethereal imagery and bright patterns were noticed by the Indonesian design community online, which paved the way to her explosive breakthrough in the art scene that led to global recognition.
We caught up with Diela to learn more about her art and the inspirations behind her vibrant designs for Levi’s® 501® Day.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC JOURNEY.
When I entered the workforce, my first job was actually in accountancy. Back then, I had a feeling that I may regret it if I didn’t try to pursue my interests. I wanted to pursue what I felt most passionate about—to do what I truly loved. When I look back, I definitely took a giant leap of faith. And no regrets, I’m glad I did.
As a designer, I’m completely self-taught. I learned a lot from illustration books, although they were quite expensive. I learned through trial and error, through a lot of hands-on work. You discover that you get extra enthusiastic about these things when you are genuinely passionate about what you do.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ART STYLE IN THREE WORDS?
I would generally describe my art style as decorative, vibrant and dreamy. I’m mainly inspired by daily life: I use illustrations to express my emotions, thoughts or observations of my day-to-day experiences.
“You get extra enthusiastic when you're genuinely passionate about what you do.”
WHAT’S YOUR PERSONAL STYLE LIKE?
When it comes to style, I would say my personal style is casual: I work from home a lot, and I’m most comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe sometimes I would throw on an outer layer— but I would add personal touches; small details, like embroideries. I like to make it unique to myself.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE WITH LEVI’S®?
My first Levi's® was special for me. It was a pair of bootcut jeans that my mother gave me as a gift for Ramadan when I was in high school.
“What I wanted to convey was a sense of happiness and joy. I hope I accomplished that.”
WE LOVE THE ILLUSTRATION YOU DID FOR 501® DAY! WHAT MADE YOU INTERESTED TO COLLABORATE WITH LEVI’S®?
When it comes to Levi’s®, I appreciate things like the Tailor Shop where anyone can add their own personal touches, whether it’s embroidery or patches. Durability and quality are also things that I appreciate about Levi’s®: it’s clothing that stays with you for a long time, so by being able to customize it, it’s great to have a piece of clothing that is uniquely “you”.
COULD YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR 501® DAY ART?
For this collaboration, the artwork is young and feminine. It’s got a “denim dreamland” vibe, with lots of playful ornaments and details. What I wanted to convey was a sense of happiness and joy. I hope I accomplished that.
AS A CREATIVE INDUSTRY PROFESSIONAL, WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MEANS FOR ARTISTS TO BE AUTHENTIC AND ORIGINAL?
I think both authenticity and originality are important because it represents ourselves, especially when creating art. As an artist, I would want to have or wear something that is original and authentically made. The most important thing is to not steal someone else's creation. We should do things from our heart instead of just following trends.
WE UNDERSTAND THAT YOU’RE ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF METARUPA, THE FIRST INDONESIAN COMMUNITY TO VENTURE INTO THE METAVERSE THROUGH NFTS. TELL US MORE ABOUT IT.
In 2021, I started to venture into the NFT scene. Since NFTs were such a new thing, there weren’t many people who knew what to do with this new medium. So together with eight other creatives, we started the Metarupa community to help creators find their footing in the NFT scene. We hosted various workshops and events both online and offline, to share knowledge and resources about NFTs. We’ve also organized exhibitions to shine more of a spotlight on artists and enabled partnerships and collaborations with brands.