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Q&A: Davy Simanjaya

College Guide cover contest winner discusses his inspiration

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What was your inspiration for the illustration?

It's a recollection of the days I spent studying at Georgia Tech. It seems as if there was never enough time, food, and sometimes, energy/motivation. In the last semesters approaching graduation, the stress level magnified and choices were abound. Job interviews, final exams, projects, tests and maintaining sanity intermingled. Often working late into nights and traveling with MARTA, the backdrop of Atlanta is forever imprinted in my memory.

How would you describe your design style?

Since I'm just an amateur doodler, I had to Google this one. I guess the category that fits is pop art surrealism.

Who are your design influences?

The drawings from street artists in Juxtapoz magazine and those around the town. Also, I read Spawn comic books in my younger years. I really like Todd McFarlane's artwork and designs. The guy's stretched-out mouth is inspired by the character Violator.

More than visual, the influence also comes from the reminiscing state of mind, and the music that played (Rammstein's "Mein Teil") during the initial conceptualization/sketch.

What were you trying to convey about Atlanta?

A place of fun and vibrant nightlife contrasted with datelines and urgency in college life. It's meant to encourage people to fight the good fight, fight for what they believe in, never give up, etc.

Would you elaborate on the illustration's imagery and symbolism?

The owl and the moon represent the dawn of graduation after a "night time" of college hardships, i.e., light at the end of tunnel sort of. Clippings of CL articles on the skyscraper backdrop of Atlanta suggests CL and Atlanta as a single entity, a culture of components that complement each other.

The hourglass, calendar background, and MARTA behind the guy with long strides and hand reaching for food represent the sense of urgency/chased by time, while on an empty stomach (or I must've been hungry while drawing). The arrows show the choices [point to] possible outcomes of work, graduation, employment, bum, maturity, even suicide.

The loudspeakers in the background are homage to the music of Atlanta that never dies and goes late into the night. The happy face with "!" and sad face with "?," show that while happiness is preferable, sadness/sorrow is always a possibility that looms in the dark. The stepped-over rat shows one of many pitfalls that a person, a student, may walk into. The rats also refer to 2008, the year of the rat.

All these, despite being sublime in nature, are included so that my artwork can interact with its viewers, i.e., communicative art ... that, or being the details-oriented person that I am, I just got carried away.

You're in the nursing school at NGCSU? How did you get interested in art and graphic design?

Yes, I'm working on a bachelor of science in nursing. I suppose comic books in my younger years got me started drawing and doodling. That and I found out I have an eye for contrast, symmetry and shapes. I've been doodling since middle school, sometimes spending extra time and effort to actually produce a more intricate final drawing when the occasion was compelling enough. I also draw graffiti of my friends' names and birthdays for them on Facebook.

Final thoughts to share?

Art's a very subjective matter. I think some people might appreciate it and others hate it.

Also, I want to thank Creative Loafing for providing an outlet for my creative/imaginative side.

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