Arya Toh Djojo: Lazinc Magazine Spotlight

A Close Encounter


In the midst of a global pandemic, the US government has made a seemingly casual acknowledgment of the existence of UFOs. Unlike the dramatic announcements we see in Hollywood movies, this revelation was delivered through a simple press release, almost like a banal weather report. Reflecting this timely disclosure, artist Aryo Toh Djojo creates paintings that depict UFOs in a unique and subtle way. His works capture a sense of wonder and blur the boundaries between reality and the otherworldly. While his paintings feature recognizable objects and landscapes of California, they also possess a dreamlike quality that verges on abstraction. The convergence of this artistic style with the acknowledgement of UFOs in the real world creates an intriguing juxtaposition.

Aryo Toh Djojo: Exploring the UFO Phenomenon

In an interview with Evan Pricco, Aryo Toh Djojo delves into his artistic process and his fascination with UFOs. When asked about his favorite UFO movie, he mentions popular classics such as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “2001: A Space Odyssey.” However, he recommends the documentary “Unacknowledged” by Dr. Steven M. Greer for a deeper understanding of the UFO phenomenon. This suggests that Djojo’s interest in UFOs goes beyond mere entertainment and delves into the exploration of the unknown.

The Connection between Skateboarding and Art

Djojo reveals that skateboarding has played a significant role in shaping his artistic perspective. As a skateboarder, one develops a unique way of observing the world, finding joy and creativity in everyday objects. This mindset spills over into other aspects of life, leading many skaters to become artists. Growing up in the birthplace of skateboarding, Los Angeles, Djojo finds a connection between his skateboarding background and his portrayal of UFOs in his artwork, which often showcases the California landscape.

A Journey into the Unknown

Djojo’s personal experiences, including his first encounter with a UFO while skateboarding, suggest that there might be a purpose behind his artistic exploration of UFOs. He amusingly ponders whether the signs he has encountered throughout his life were leading him to create this work all along. He also acknowledges the freedom he feels while painting, skating, or meditating, suggesting that these activities intertwine and inspire his artistry.

The Role of Education and Design

Djojo’s education in illustration and design at ArtCenter in Pasadena has influenced his artistic journey. Although initially drawn to abstract paintings, he later discovered the power of airbrushing and began incorporating it into his art. The study of design principles helped him understand the fundamentals while allowing him the freedom to experiment and create unique and interesting works.

Capturing the Essence of Los Angeles

Djojo’s artwork is often associated with the city of Los Angeles, reflecting the unique spirit and aesthetics of the region. Influenced by renowned artists like Ed Ruscha and John Baldessari, who also captured the essence of LA in their works, Djojo adds his own spin to this tradition. Although unintentional, his choice to use the airbrush and his connection to the skateboard culture of LA contribute to the distinct visual aesthetic of his paintings.

The Cinematic Quality of Djojo’s Paintings

Djojo’s paintings possess a cinematic quality that wasn’t initially intentional but emerged organically as he experimented with the airbrush technique. Growing up in the entertainment capital, surrounded by sci-fi movies featuring UFOs, Djojo acknowledges the influence of LA’s film culture on our perception of extraterrestrial phenomena. This interplay between cinema and art adds depth to his work and sparks conversations about our culture’s fascination with UFOs.

LA as Home and Inspiration

For Djojo, Los Angeles is more than just a location—it is home. His connection to the city is deeply rooted, and his artwork reflects the unique vibe and energy of LA. While initially not intentionally focused on depicting LA, Djojo’s paintings organically began to embody the essence of the city. The airbrush technique, which carries associations with LA culture, combined with Djojo’s perspective, contributed to the creation of artworks that capture the mysterious and often unnoticed moments of the city.

The Immediacy and Mystery of the Airbrush

Djojo’s preference for the airbrush stems from its immediacy and its ability to cover a large surface area quickly. The challenge and unforgiving nature of the airbrush technique fuel his focus and dedication to the craft. Interestingly, he also draws inspiration from ancient cave paintings, where artists used a similar blowing technique with their hands as stencils. The resulting sense of mystery and unpredictability in Djojo’s work adds to its allure.

The Unfolding Present Moment

Djojo contemplates the concept of time and its impermanence. He believes that the present moment is constantly unfolding and that capturing those fleeting moments is essential in his artistic practice. Recognizing the limitations of human perception, he suggests that true presence in the “in-between” moments of reality is a challenge. However, through practices such as psychedelics or meditation, he believes one can come closer to experiencing these indescribable moments. By focusing on the present and embracing change, Djojo encourages viewers to appreciate the magic that surrounds us.

The Colorful World of Aryo Toh Djojo

Djojo’s use of color is distinctive and captivating. Admitting his limited skills in color mixing, he describes how his paintings often deviate from the reference photos, resulting in a unique portrayal of time and atmosphere. Rather than depicting specific times of day, his paintings convey a sense of temporal ambiguity, reminiscent of approximate moments often ignored or unnoticed in California. The mysterious charm lies not only in the subject matter but also in the unpredictable nature of Djojo’s color choices.

An Exploration of Time and Urgency

To Djojo, time is ephemeral and subjective. He acknowledges the current turbulent state of the world but emphasizes the importance of embracing the present instead of fixating on the negatives. He urges people to observe and enjoy the unfolding moment, realizing that change is constant and patience is key. Djojo’s artwork serves as a reminder to appreciate the present and to remain open to the unexpected, even if it means encountering a UFO.


Aryo Toh Djojo’s artistic journey intertwines with the acknowledgment of UFOs by the US government, creating a fascinating fusion of art, skateboarding culture, and the mysteries of the universe. His paintings capture the essence of Los Angeles, showcasing a cinematic quality that reflects our fascination with the unknown. With his unique approach to color and his ability to seize fleeting moments, Djojo’s artwork invites viewers to appreciate the magic and subtle beauty that can be found in the ordinary. As he continues to evolve as an artist, the unfolding present moment will undoubtedly inspire his future works.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What inspires Aryo Toh Djojo’s artwork?

Aryo Toh Djojo draws inspiration from various sources, including his personal experiences, skateboarding culture, and the cinematic history of Los Angeles. His fascination with UFOs and the mysteries of the universe also play a significant role in shaping his artistic exploration.

2. How does skateboarding influence Djojo’s art practice?

Skateboarding has taught Djojo to be observant, creative, and open-minded. This mindset carries over into his art practice, allowing him to see the world differently and find inspiration in everyday objects and landscapes. Many skaters have transitioned into the world of art due to their innate creativity and unique perspective.

3. How does Djojo capture the hazy and mysterious quality in his paintings?

Djojo achieves the hazy and mysterious quality in his paintings through the use of airbrushing techniques. By embracing the immediate and unpredictable nature of the airbrush, he creates layers of color that evoke the sense of an indescribable atmosphere. This technique, combined with his color choices, contributes to the overall ethereal ambiance in his artwork.

4. What role does time play in Djojo’s artistic philosophy?

Djojo sees time as transient and encourages viewers to embrace the present moment. He believes that true presence and awareness in the ever-unfolding present allow us to appreciate the magic that surrounds us. While acknowledging the need for change, he urges patience and a focus on the present rather than fixating on the uncertainties of the future.

5. Where can one see Aryo Toh Djojo’s artwork?

Aryo Toh Djojo will be opening a solo show at Sow & Tailor in Los Angeles in April 2022. This exhibition will provide a unique opportunity to experience his captivating paintings in person. Stay tuned for updates and further showcases of his artwork in the future.