Arif AKA ‘Superdoofus’
Arif Rafhan Othman aka Superdoofus. Artist, parent, all-round good guy
Masjid Jamek LRT station, Kuala Lumpur
In early October, two artists were invited to create original artwork on the walls of the Masjid Jamek LRT station in Kuala Lumpur. Arif Rafhan Othman and Sanuri Zulkefli created their artwork live, over 4 days. It was done as part of an exhibition titled, Contenglah by Doodle Malaysia, a group of 8,900 doodlers and artists who call the Doodle Malaysia page on Facebook home. The exhibition was organised by Allie Hill, a Malaysian artist who prefers to remain behind-the-scenes except when called upon to clean-up doodles left by commuters! The exhibition is supported ThinkCity and Prasarana and runs till the end of November, 2016.
I spent a few days observing the progress of their artwork and thoroughly enjoyed their company. Some of the commuters stood there awestruck by how artists really worked. They were also entertained occasionally by the antics of the two artists. In Sanuri Zulkefli’s case; impromptu Capoeira hand-stands and moon-walks performed by Arif when he felt he needed to let off steam! There was also a constant stream of doodlers and friends who came to lend support.
Arif, born and raised in Ipoh currently lives in Kuala Lumpur. His late father was an art lecturer. Arif says since he was a baby, his father had encouraged him to draw. He remembers his first drawing being of Snoopy when he was 1! This is a man with a very long memory! Due to his father’s influence, Arif’s younger brother is also an artist but a fine art painter.
Arif, did once, think his career would take a different path as he studied Computer Information System (CIS) at ITM. However, art was his passion and he decided to pursue it full-time about 3 years ago but only after careful thought. He has a number of clients for his artwork and also a number of books published by MPH and Maple Comics. His career in the IT industry was for a very good reason as he met his wife there. Arif is blessed with 3 kids. As a father, he is all about exposing them to as many interests as possible whether it be in the arts or not.
He says that being a 39-year old illustrator, he has to work harder, faster and produce better quality as he is competing against younger artists. His planning included the type of illustration he would do, his rate, quality, social presence, marketing and business. Here we have an artist who is setting himself up for success. He admits that it’s sometimes tiring but it’s also fun.
I asked Arif about how he saw himself evolving as an artist but he sees it more like evolving as a better, happier person. Arif, through his virtual channel, Superdoofus, hopes Malaysians can look back and realise that all of us share the same objective; living in harmony in a prosperous country. He laments how our goals are clouded by distractions, mainly from the internet. He would love to counter these distractions by reminding all of us that we are actually nice people and we can be nice to each other. What we do is entirely up to us.
Through his virtual channel, Superdoofus, he hopes Malaysians can look back and realize that all of us share the same objective; living in harmony. Arif believes that our goal is clouded by lots of distraction, mostly from the Internet. So by using the same channel, he would love to counter these distractions by reminding all of us that we are actually nice people and we can be nice to each other; if we want to.
Asked about his goals, Arif says that he wants to be a happy illustrator; to be able to provide for his family and for his work to have a positive impact on other people. Ultimately, it is for his work to be syndicated. I am sure that this will happen eventually as good things usually happen to good people.
I asked Arif to elaborate on his inspiration for his latest artwork at Masjid Jamek’s LRT station. He had this to say: “The lady is Our Mother Nature. Our life is based on our nature; our culture, art, music, dances, folklores all rooted from from nature; Kinabalu, enggang, rafflesia, bunga raya, gunung Ledang and loads more. We were known for our nature-based culture. What happen to us now? We should ask ourselves that question repeatedly. I strongly believe that our crumbling society happens when our connection with our nature gets lost. We should go back, back to our roots, back to our nature. Read. Learn. Reflect.”