Two sketches of a glass skull design.

Back to our bones with Arkiv Vilmansa

Since 2005 Indonesian painter and designer, Arkiv Vilmansa has become a prominent name in the lowbrow art and designer toy scene. Today, he’s a part of our upcoming IKEA Art Event collaboration featuring glass figurines. We joined him on a visit to see his prototypes for the first time at the Målerås glassworks in Sweden.

Shortly after finishing his Bachelor degree in Architecture he decided to pursue his passion for drawing figures. He had his first debut with personal character and vinyl figurine, Arkiv Instant, which also led to developing his signature image, debuting new and interesting characters. His work – an exploration of deep, curvy lines and bold, bright colours – has been featured in galleries worldwide.

Can you tell us a little bit about your idea?
I came up with an idea that belongs to my belief; that we as humans will come back to our bones. This figure is named “Hira”. Hira means good dreams. I’ve always wanted to do a figure that really represents me as a toy designer and a painter, and for me this one does. It’s an abstract visualization of the life that we’ve been through. It unravels in my explicit imagination of cartoon characters that are entangled in a power struggle to emerge to the ultimate realm. I wanted to design this figure to express creative, to convey that life is simple, and to have fun with it.

A man standing in a glassworks interior.
Arkiv Vilmansa at the Målerås glassworks in Sweden.

Why was this an interesting project for you?
Partly because it’s a challenge working with glass for the first time – and the production method is very different from what I’m used to – but also because this project is fun and free. IKEA is able to make art happen on a global scale. For me, that’s really an achievement of a lifetime.

What are some of your first impressions of IKEA?
I feel I’m already very familiar with IKEA! My entire home is practically furnished with IKEA. So the collaboration has been like a dream come true for me. The team is very professional and friendly. And it’s been such a great experience visiting the Målerås factory. I’m surprised by the glassblowers’ expertise – it’s really a special and difficult skill to have.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Architecture. Architecture is my world. So is art. It’s a good combination to have.

Red, orange and blue glass skulls next to the metal mould.
Arkiv Wilmansa tried out many different colours before deciding what he wanted for his product.