•  ArtCreative CollaborationsProjectsThings I Make • March 2018  •
Collaboration: NIKON 1 Inspiration Series – ‘I AM ART FOR LIFE’ (2012)

2012 NIKON 1 Inspiration Series

A photography-based project where I document KL using their camera. I remember spending an entire day walking & driving around Kuala Lumpur. It was also the time I actually discovered the magical Tun HS LEE Road and its surrounding textures and patterns.

My thanks to Nikon Asia Pacific for this wonderful project. It was so much fun to do!


Here’s also an interview I did for the project. Reading back on what I wrote, half makes me cringe and the makes me so proud.


My name is Marini Ramlan. I work as a content developer for a media arm in Malaysia during the daytime and for the rest of my time, I am an artist.

My day job requires me to think about ideas on a daily basis. This can be quite challenging if you’re required to come up with concepts consistently. I can’t do this as I’m in the office all the time. I go out, I talk to people and I do art.

Art is who I am essentially. I’ve always been able to do the two things somehow and the balance between my job and my art has enabled me to create my own creative flow. When I do art, I’m the happiest, and when I am happy, I attract good energy and people to me; it’s infectious. By doing so, I get to exchange ideas and thoughts that allow me to think better and inspire me at work and at life. So I always like to say to people, “Do what you love!” and find your “art”. It doesn’t mean being able to paint. Your art is whatever thing that you’re good at, that you find immense pleasure and joy for yourself. That “art” is going to make you do amazing things in your life. So always and forever, “Art for life”.


1.What is ‘inspiration’ to you?

Creativity is so important to me because it’s what’s going to separate you from the rest of them. One can be smart but what is being smart if you have no creativity to see outside of the usual circumstances? To be creative, one needs to also cultivate imagination. To be imaginative, one needs to be inspired.

Inspiration comes in all forms. It comes from a mere conversation with a stranger you meet at a party, the exchanging of ideas in the form of conversation or sight triggers new thought. I find inspiration in just about everything I see or do. I suppose that stems from being open and curious about things. More than anything, the act of discovery is inspiration for me.

2.Tell us what you love most about your work.

I work as a content developer for a media arm in Malaysia. I primarily develop content for local television as well as cross platform content campaign strategies. The business of conceptualizing content can be tricky and requires me to be creative in thinking all the time. To keep this going, I do a lot of art to stimulate my thinking as well as to keep my artistic side happy and inspired!

My day job doesn’t dictate who I am as a person. I’m an artist at heart and have always found ways to ensure that side of me is kept alive. I try to paint whenever I can or even do creative collaborations with various brands to ensure this.

3.How do you get inspiration from your daily life / work?

I like observing things. So sometimes taking a walk in the park, driving through the city is also quite inspirational as there’s so much pattern, texture and design to admire. I carry a notebook around with me and do sketches and doodles when I can. It’s my visual diary that I thumb through everyday to keep me inspired. Photos give me ideas on projects that I would like to do.

4.How do you cultivate or encourage inspiration? How is inspiration important to your creativity?

Always be curious and wonder about things because life is ever inspiring!

A very easy way is to simply take a few moments, sit on a ledge as you sip your coffee and observe the way the world works. Observing human behavior is the best way to find inspiration for a movie treatment, TV series or art piece.

I like to talk to people too. I like asking them about their life or on their perspective about life, leading to a deeper understand of me as well as the human psyche.

However, as I’m a very visual person, doodling and taking pictures of things are things I love to get inspiration! I have an inspiration wall at work of things that I like. For example, this year I’ve specified that my board will be themed with “women”, “color”, “fashion” and “places”. I love it as it just makes me happy as I get to work, it feels like “home”. A bit of art at work is always good. People come by, stop to take pictures or even contribute to it. It triggers many good TV ideas too!

5.How do you see photography and inspiration?

What I see is expressed in my art. Color, pattern, texture are things I gravitate and respond to and I like to re-express what things mean to me through how I see. I like paying tribute to “normal” everyday things and giving them a new sense of identity through creating a new emotion with color and movement.

6.How can your work inspire others?

People always ask how I’m able to do both things at the same time (media and art), and to them I always say, “find time to do what you love” and for me that love is art. Art keeps me happy and focused. (Art for life)

I’ve always found time for art and I strongly believe it’s the reason why I’m focused at my job too. I’m able to use my creative energy for both. A lot of artistic people find it hard to work in the corporate world because they find it creatively constricting whereas I find it full of unexplored possibilities.

7.Who is your role model for inspiration?

Some of the artists I draw inspiration from are Gustav Klimt & Alphonse Mucha. Klimt’s for his mixing of pattern into human figures and Mucha for his women portraits in art the nouveau style. I am inspired a lot by street art because I love the idea of making art accessible to everyone on the streets. Titifreak, from Japan, whose giant fishes and portraits inspired me to see graffiti in a different light. However, it is the French artist Francoise Nelly, who has taken the idea of street art and adapted them into her own work using bright neon colors mixed by herself that has inspired me the most. She has created her own style of painting and technique, incorporating street art, fashion and fine art into her paintings which has made her cross into many markets quite seamlessly. I am inspired to explore and spread out my art style by their examples.

8.Do you have any tips for the audience to get inspired in their daily lives?

Find time to go for “inspirational walks”. I do it when I can. Take a few hours in a weekend with a sketch book or a camera and document things. I create themes in my head sometimes before going, for example, shapes in the city, or patterns in petals, or simply create a collage of pictures you capture using one prominent color. It might surprise you what comes out of your little projects.