Have you ever had that dream where one day, your favourite brand comes knocking on your door and asking if you would want to launch a new clothing line with them?
We have, but for us, it remains a strange, distant dream.
For local artist Kide Baharudin
however, it was a dream come true.
Never in a millions years did he think that he would be involved in creating a head-to-toe collection with American apparel brand Vans but he is!
"When I was young, I sucked at colouring. I could draw though. I loved drawing people, but when it was time to colour, I would always go beyond the lines. You could hardly see the drawing anymore," laughed the 30-year-old artist.
Joking about constantly losing at childhood colouring competitions, Kide admitted that he had come a long way since then.
Scribblings on the wall
"I was interested in art as a kid. I think I was seven. I would scribble on anything—school books, paper and even on the walls of the house.
"Of course I kena marah lah
," he said, but he never stopped, and figures or drawing people were a constant in most of his creations.
"My parents told me that when I was in kindergarten, I would draw people from the leg up. They usually could never understand what I was drawing until I was done," he said.
Kide continued with his passion, though. Drawing and creating art whenever he could and even taking up art as an additional subject during SPM.
"I was in the accounting stream but I hated maths. I pleaded with my parents to let me learn arts instead and so they spoke to my school and made special arrangements for me to replace Add Maths with Art class. Of course I had no problems dropping Add Maths," he laughed.
He said that despite his dislike for numbers, he worked hard and managed to score As for Art and Mathematics.
"My parents were overjoyed. My mum said that since I did well in Maths, I could probably become an architect.
"Other than a love for drawing, I did not have a specific ambition so I thought, ok lah
. I will try. But when I read up on architecture, I learnt that there were no figure drawings involved. Just a lot of lines drawn with rulers. Nope, not for me," he chuckled again, adding that he eventually took up Art and Design at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM).
A whole new world
"I was lucky to have a sempoi
art teacher and mentor in UITM, and he introduced me to different styles, artists and mediums and I was so fascinated by them all."
"I learnt about the fundamentals, tried my hand at acrylics and explored the world of illustration and animation," he said.
All sort of books, artwork and even magazines like Hong Kong's International Design Network broadened his understanding and amazement at the world of art.
"I began to explore different styles but I remember even when studying, I always prefered to do things by hand."
"I did not like using AI (Adobe Illustrator) or Photoshop or any other program. My hand drawn work was less neat but it was more me," he said, adding that he would usually use brushes and drawing pens and then scan the whole artwork before submitting it to his lecturers.
Drawing by hand still a fav
"Even with my Vans collection, everything is hand-drawn and painted with acrylics. I then scanned the whole piece and sent it over to the Vans apparel team to do the rest," he said.
Kide's collection, called Vans x Kide
, includes a hat, Hawaiian shirts, a singlet, surfer shorts, two types of shoes and even a bag.
"It all started when I won the Vans Asia Custom Culture competition in 2017 in Malaysia."
"I was then chosen to represent the country and compete with nine other artists from around the world in Shanghai, and despite not winning there, it brought my art to the eyes of the world," he said.
Kide said that even after the competition, he continued to keep in touch with the team from Vans Malaysia and eventually got commissioned to create a postcard for an international Vans meeting here.
"I think it was that postcard that got the attention of international Vans designers.
"One day, I got an Instagram private message from an unknown person asking if they could buy my artwork. The person said that she was from the Vans global team." he said.
After some discussion, Kide agreed to create a small painting and sold it to her.
"After some time, I got another message. A message asking if I would like to collaborate with Vans."
(Now this quote is best presented without translation)
"Ehh... Biar betul dia nie
?! Vans? My artwork? Gila lah
!" said Kide.
Weeks of hard work
Eventually, the team at Vans Malaysia confirmed the partnership and Kide took about two to three weeks to complete the artwork for the collection.
"My style always includes a lot of figures. Growing up in Kuala Pilah, I would ride around the town in my bicycle a lot. I would imagine how life would have been like in the 50s, 60s and 70s and I used what I imagined to create art."
"I am just obsessed with our culture - with the traditions of the Malay, Chinese and Indian people, the kampung houses and how people used to live back then," he said adding that his parents and their coffee shops kakis
were a source of inspiration too.
"I would ask my parents about their childhood and about growing up and living in that era. I would try to dig as much as possible and sometimes I would even follow them when they go and meet their friends at the kopitiam
," he said.
Kide, who admitted that he was shy, said he rarely spoke but always pasang telinga
or listened in when they spoke about old times.
"Then I would go back and use the information I got and imagine a scene in the past and put it on paper. Macam tu jer
," he said.
He added that listening to stories about wedding kenduri
, funfairs, restaurants with jukeboxes, people in Yankee styled pants and pipe smoking groups were just fascinating.
"Whenever I completed an artwork, I would also try and show them to my parents first. Just to kind of check if it's accurate and they usually love it and end up telling me more stories," he said.
Important to remember the past
"Another reason why I focus on the past is that I believe that we still have a lot to learn and appreciate from it."
"If you look at my works now, I try and inject a lot of fresh colors so that the next generation will be interested in the past as well."
"I want to show them that our grandparents and parents lived in a time with less technology but they were still happy. They still had a social life and still had so much to be joyful for," he said.
"Now it's all about technology. Phones and gadgets and social media," he said adding that there was nothing wrong with that either.
It's just how society has changed.
COVID-19 an inspiration too
"I also have a few recent art pieces inspired by COVID-19. It shows a few people walking around the town area and all the shops being closed.
"It's been different, but I guess the MCO has forced me to focus more on developing my art," he said adding that it could get boring at times, but it was important to keep being at home until it was lifted.
He said that he was currently working on a few pieces for a gallery and would continue to create fresh new content in his own unique style.
"After getting married, my wife and I decided to move to Seremban. I now run my home studio here and it has been good," he said.
He added that he was now eagerly waiting for his Vans collection to be released in Malaysia.
"It will be available locally on 8 May. I still cannot believe it though. Vans. I really want to thank them for all the opportunities that they have provided to me and to many other budding artists throughout the world," he said.
He also thanked his parents, wife, friends and fans for all the support throughout the years.
"Many people in my kampung in Kuala Pilah used to wonder what I do exactly. Drawing and painting as a career was not seen as 'successful'.
"I want to show everyone that art can be a professional career as well. You just have to encourge talent. Give them a chance and you just never know where it could lead them to," he said.
For more info on Kide's Vans collection, head to vans.com.my.
If you'd like to have a look at more of his artwork, visit his Instagram page @kide.baharudin.