My Interview with a Sculptor. Bali Indonesia 14

Meeting Pak Nyoman Pandi 

The art of Bali. 

I have always wanted to see the artists working on the carved statues in Bali. Today I had a chance to connect with Mr. Nyoman or as we say here, Pak Nyoman.  

I saw him as I rode past him on the side of the road and decided to ask him if I could interview him. He was kind enough to give me his time and let me have a chance to see what his life has been all about.  

Ubud is known as the cultural center of Bali. There are numerous museums and studios for carving, painting, and jewelry making. Many of these classes can be paid for and attended by locals but this was no classroom setting.  

Pak Nyoman. 

At the age of 54, Pak Nyoman has been professionally carving/sculpting these Balinese statues for 12 years. I say professionally because for many years before that he was an apprentice. Though he has worked with wood as well he prefers this medium.  

There are hundreds of carved statues all over Bali. I often wondered about the material the statue is made of. One major thing that I learned was the fact that these statues are very different from the first original statues that were carved in Bali.  

It was news to me that the government no longer allows true river rocks to be carved into statues. It is due to environmental reasons and if you think about it, yes it makes sense. So the statues are cut, carved, and sculpted using knives and specialty tools. This skill is what Pak Nyoman had to learn.  

How it’s made. 

The basics of this are simple. They use a mixture of materials like sand from the riverbeds and cement and pour it all into a mold that will match the final size of the statue.  

Pak Nyoman said that anything past 1.5m is hard work because he only has about 5 days until this mixture sets. Changing color from a dark grey to a light grey to the final product that looks like an off-white stone. The larger pieces need to be carved faster and thus it is much more demanding on the artist.  

A smaller piece under 1m takes 5-7 days to finish. This of course depends on the amount of detail demanded by the customer. Pak Nyoman also does his sketches and works off of the sketches to the final product. The small ones can weigh 50-70kg and the large ones over 150kg. 

Runs in the family. 

Pak Nyoman has two kids, one boy who is 24 and one girl who are 22. His son is a tattoo artist and is not interested in carving stones. Yet his art is not far from his dad’s. The medium he uses just happens to be human skin. 

While the father and son are artists. Pak Nyoman’s daughter is in finance and his wife who is 34 works for the government. This is very interesting since the son took after the dad and the daughter took after the mom.  

For this interview, I didn’t get a chance to have Pak Nyoman ask me questions because we were interrupted by a friend of his that happened to be a mutual friend. It is a small world I tell you. I know no one in Ubud.  

Yet the person that walked in on our interview was the person I had met at a restaurant months ago. He is a restaurant owner and he happens to own the shop I visited.  

We will meet again. 

We did our interview by the side of the road. It was rather noisy and so we decided to meet up at the restaurant the following week. So I guess there will be a continuation to the blog as soon as I am done with that.  

I guess the moral of this story is, to treat people well and treat them with kindness. You simply never know when you will bump into someone you know. It’s best to leave a good impression on everyone throughout your life. 

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Published by Zsolt Zsemba

Zsolt Zsemba has worn many different hats. He has been an entrepreneur, and businessman for over 30 years. Living abroad has given him many amazing experiences in life and also sparked his imagination for writing. After moving to Canada from Hungary at the age of 10 and working in a family business for a large part of his life. The switch from manufacturing to writing came surprisingly easily for him. His passion for writing began at age 12, mostly writing poetry and short stories. In 1999, the chance came to write scripts. Zsolt took some time off from his family business to write in Jakarta Indonesia for MD Entertainment. Having written dozens of soap operas and made for TV movies, in 2003 Zsolt returned to the family business once more. In 2018, he had the chance to head back to Asia once again. He took on the challenge to be the COO for MD Pictures and get back into the entertainment business. The entertainment business opened up the desire to write once more and the words began to flow onto the pages again. He decided to rewrite a book he began years ago. Organ House was reborn and is a fiction suspense novel while Scars is a young adult drama focused on life’s challenges. After the first two books, his desire to write not only became more challenging but enjoyable as well. After having several books completed he was convinced to publish them for your enjoyment. Zsolt does not tend to stay in one specific genre but tends to lean towards strong female leads and horror. Though he also has a few human interest books, he tends to write about whatever brews in his brain for a while.

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