Artist Interview: Mayliza Anjelica on "Painters & Assassins"

Mayliza Anjelica is an art director/illustrator/tattoo artist from Indonesia who released a series today on NeonMob called "Painters and Assassins." The series is made up of illustrated characters in a style Anjelica calls "dollface," which is reminiscent of Japanese pop art, a la Takashi Murakami or pop surrealist movement, a la Mark Ryden – that is strikingly cute, vibrant in color, intriguingly weird, and giving a heavy nod to popular culture. 


I talked to Mayliza Anjelica to ask her a few questions about her work and this very cool new series of work.

How old are you? 

I am 24 years old.

How long have you been an illustrator/art director? How did you get into it? 

I've always loved drawing since I was a little, as in like, I would draw on anything. I majored in fashion design when I was in high school and then I attended university in Malaysia, where I majored in Graphic and Multimedia Design. From there I became a freelancer for about a year, picked up oil paintings, and became a tattoo apprentice. Now I am working as an art director in a company in Indonesia.

Where do you live? Do you feel like your community supports you as an artist? Do you work locally, or are a lot of your followers, fans, and community outside of where you live?

I currently live in Pekanbaru, Indonesia. I can say that I get more support from outsiders rather than locals. The art scene is not as high here in my city, but there are many great Indonesian artists from other parts of Indonesia, where art is far more appreciated.

Can you tell us more about being a tattoo artist. How long have you been doing that and what kind of tattoo art do you specialize in? 

I did my apprenticeship about two years ago but I never made tattooing a full-time thing. I started taking my illustration skill more serious from doing it, though. I'd love to do more sacred geometry, botanical, and black dot work in the future.

It looks like you do a lot of advertising work. How did you get into that field and what are some aspects of that type of work that you enjoy? Are there any aspects of advertising that you don't like? 

When I first chose my major, I did not know much about what being a graphic designer is all about. During my study, I interned at an advertising agency and all I can say is it's hard work and a full-on commitment. You gotta love what you do and know what you are doing. You often need to be able to multitask and sacrifice your eight-hour beauty sleep. Teamwork is also important. But it is a great feeling to see your work being published and recognized. I think that's the best reward.

Can you tell us about the style that you used for your NeonMob series. It looks like it's a reoccurring theme/style that you've used in the past. How did you come up with this dollface theme? Some of the characters are based on recognizable celebrities or figures, but some aren't – are those characters based on real people that you know?

I first started my dollface series as my kick start as an illustrator. I was obsessing over Mark Ryden's artwork during that time, hence the dolly wonderland theme. From there I got the opportunity to work for NeonMob. I did get a lot of requests from people who follow me on social media to do a dollface of their favorite celebrity, Youtuber, relative or loved one, and even their own faces while I I was working on my 100 characters, so I can say that some of the characters are based on people I know and some that I have never met before in person.

Who or what are your biggest influences for your style? 

Frida Kahlo, Vincent Van Gogh, Gottfried Helnwein, Mark Ryden, and Charmaine Olivia have definitely inspired most of my artwork style. Some tattoo artists will be Maxime Buchi, Jimmy Memento, Abby Drielsma, Diana Severinenko, and Jessica Mach. They are just some of the many great artists I adore.

What are you working on next? 

Recently I've been learning some animation software. I want to see what I can create and let my imagination do the rest. I guess in art you can always find new things to experiment with. The creativity is endless.

Interview edited for clarity by Sarah Han