Arifien, or Neif (as he is known to his close friends), was born in 1955 in Surabaya. He has developed a keen interest in drawing since he was young and has been winning many art competitions ever since. He moved to Jakarta in 1974 and struggled to make a living through various jobs before becoming an artist, from a construction worker, restaurant waiter, to interior design assistant and advertising worker. With the wages he earned, he bought art supplies and continued his passion in the arts.
As a self-taught painter, Arifien absorbed various artistic influences from international as well as local painters. He admitted being influenced by Picasso, Matisse, and Affandi. To many, Arifien’s style is recognized as Fauvism, with simplified details and distorted subjects. Although he has been compared to many famous Western artists, Arifien managed to develop his own, Indonesian style of painting.
Arifien is an expressive painter. While he is well known for his vibrant, celebrative scenes of modern humans in his later works, his earlier works apparently captured a more emotional (lot #142) and calmer side of life (lots #143-144). He also had a chance to explore other subjects such as animals, in his 3-panel piece that decorated the walls of White Rabbit Restaurant, Pondok Indah Mall in the 1990s (lot #145).