Debbie Tea is twenty-something and is the most dangerous female ever.
MOSSLESS: How did this self-portrait happen?
DEBBIE TEA: It was a lil bit hard in the beginning I must admit. At first I tried to make something less ‘me’ and more 'commercial’ for many reasons.
I tried different things, never liked them and pretty much felt frustrated.
It was until break time, I tried to relax, grabbed some snacks and decided to make an experiment. I put the self-timer on and photographed myself moving like a frustrated monkey here and there. And Yes. It’s positive.
From this point, I decided to develop it deeper into something that is 'me’… put my whole emotion into it.. you know, something that actually says something.
Took some process before I’ve finally got this picture.
ML: Where are you from and what was your childhood like?
DT: My parents have these mixed blood of Javanese and Chinese but both of them were born in Indonesia. I, myself was also born here in Jakarta, Indonesia.
My childhood was okay I guess. A lot of school, school tuitions, mathematics, bible, church, chinese traditional rituals, food, malls, video games, anime, dysfunctional people in conservative society of course… and sweet, sweet crushes that I shouldn’t get crushed on.
I remember when I was about 6 or 7, my mom bought me a set of crayons and a drawing book. There were a lot of cartoon characters on it.. and there was this one male character, he looked a lot like a MacGyver and was simply colorless. With no hesitation, I grabbed my new black crayon, and painted his face all black. The experience of painting it all black was honestly weird, fun, satisfying. Simply euphoric.
I think it was one of rarest moments in my life where I encountered something that’s the purest within me. And I’m very, very thankful of that.
ML: After being posted on booooom, did anything change for you?
DT: Well first, I was wondering how could I suddenly got this number of visitors on my website. Haha. The messages I received from strangers definitely made my days and boosted me in a lot of ways. I felt appreciated.
The best thing is that this kind of thing somehow pushed me to be 'more’ and 'less’ in the same time.
ML: If you had to pin one specific emotion to your body of work, which would it be?