ParaInspirasi: The 3D Artist of the Asian Para Games' Momo

Graphic Design: Krizia Angelina

Indonesia is gaining a lot of attention from all around the world this year being entrusted as the organizer of the 2018 Asian Games, which took place on 18 August-2 September 2018, and the ongoing Asian Para Games from 8 October to 16 October 2018. The Asian Para Games is a competition for athletes with disabilities in Asia, summing up to 2,888 athletes from 41 Asian countries competing in 18 sports.

The Asian Para Games 2018 motto, “The Inspiring Spirit and Energy of Asiais represented by the Elang Bondol; the icon of Jakarta. He is named Momo; an acronym for Motivation and Mobility. His name means that everyone must keep moving forward and must be able to adapt to changes in the world.

On Thursday, 4 October 2018, INADIS researcher Serevinna and graphic designer Angel had the opportunity to meet one of the figures behind Momo, the icon of the Asian Para Games. Christofle Gamaliel, a young bright 3D artist who was born in 1995, familiarly known as Toffel, stopped by the INADIS office to share his stories and experiences being involved in the scenes behind Momo, the Asian Para Games mascot.

Christofle Gamaliel and his creation Momo, the mascot of Asian Para Games 2018

Photo: Christofle Gamaliel

INADIS: Hallo Toffel! How are you?

CG: I’m good, thank you!

INADIS: Thank you for coming. We are intrigued because young people like you are already involved with working at the Asian Para Games, which is an international event!

CG: Long story short, I was trusted as a 3D artist, assisted by Diva Stevina (a 2D artist), Hardiansyah (in charge of the texture), Reni Armanita Soenendar (a 2D pose artist) and Muhammad Akbar Shiddiq A. as Momo’s character designer.

INADIS: Some have asked why Momo doesn't look like he has any physical limitations, causing some parties to view that he doesn’t represent the Asian Para Games very well….

CG: Hmm, now that you’ve mentioned it, that has actually become an internal issue among the designers. The 2018 Asian Para Games in Indonesia wants to raise the value of Ability; therefore we do not see physical deficiencies. Actually, there is a logo that looks like Momo has impairment, where he has iron legs.

INADIS: So tell us, how did you get this project in the first place?

CG: I don't actually want to sound too religious, but I myself believe that I got this project because of the blessings of God. This project is completely unthinkable for me. Initially there was someone offering me to do freelance work, I already gave my portfolio but it didn't match with my hectic schedule at that time. Not long, two days later the same person contacted me again and introduced me to the head of the agency that was trusted by INAPGOC for this project, then immediately proceeded to contact and brief me the next day via phone.

INADIS: With the event starting, people have started to take notice of the visual communication design profession. What do you think about the impact or opportunity this could bring for your profession as a designer?

CG: Well, even though more or less we will get the exposure, but if to be honest, it is still far from the recognition of this profession, especially compared to other countries. In fact, I believe this industry can develop and be appreciated even more. Also, we are still underestimated. If I can give my opinion on how to make the situation better, I think the only way for us as designers is to take action, be brave, and agree to respect ourselves by stating ethical price standards for our work.

On the other hand, there are many foreign/international brand agencies that are growing in Indonesia lately. Even though the workers are Indonesian, the young Indonesian designers are most likely underpaid. Moreover because clients would appreciate it more to work with “international” brand agencies, making it even harder for Indonesian designers who are pioneering their own agencies.

INADIS: Do you have any particular message for your colleagues, preferably to those who are now maybe struggling or trying to survive in this industry?

CG: Well, based on my own experiences, I think the keys are self-reflection, knowing your abilities, and maintaining your self-esteem. In this profession we are often confronted with clients who don’t really understand how things work and probably seem disrespectful towards us. Revisions are reasonable, but there are often clients wishes that are not as they should be. Let me put it this way; it's like if people get sick and need to see a doctor. At first, no one will want to go to the doctor, and instead will insist on asking for one particular medicine without listening to what the doctor suggested. Usually that wouldn’t happen because people and society trust the doctor’s knowledge and ability to cure the disease. In reality, this is sometimes the exact opposite to what happens with designers.

In essence, the spirit that I want to spread to fellow young designers in Indonesia is that if you feel that no one appreciates your work, take a break or stop. What we make is art; every single person has their own value that they bring through their work, which not everyone will understand and appreciate. Therefore, it is better to retreat, don’t let the person that let you down make you doubt your own value and work.

INADIS: The trend of young people aspiring to become designers has been growing immensely in these recent years. What tips do you have for them before they decide to make a career in the industry?

CG: I think it’s simply preparation. For instance, they need to be keen on the drawing and designing since high school. No time should be wasted; we can’t deny that in this age of advanced technology, it is very easy to spend time doing nothing. Therefore, there are 3 tactics I would like to share :

  1. Ask yourself! Identify your passion or talent.

  2. Believe. Whatever value or identity you have, you must hold on to them. In my case, I chose to believe in God, one of the moments that really strengthened me was when Chris Pratt said “Pray to God, he really exists”. That small moment has strengthened my identity. Nowadays, kids want to be a celebrity or YouTuber. If the apps for making you become those vanish, then they'll be back to becoming no one. That being said, if you are dedicated and passionate to what you love and want the most, then you will for sure be the star in that field.

  3. Persistance! Practice, get to know things, know your priority and try your best to keep developing yourself!