Johnnie Walker: The Pinnacle of Personal Progress

Photography By Bagus Tri Laksono

Johnnie Walker is the world’s biggest whisky brand and its “Keep Walking” slogan has been adopted and embraced everywhere as a rallying cry for progress, as encouragement in adversity, and as a joyful expression of optimism. True to this calling, its iconic rectangular-shaped bottle has been a canvas for expression and celebration of personal progress.

Case in point is the Indonesian Opera Society, which marked its 10th anniversary in 2016 by commissioning the creation of the Indonesia Opera Society Johnnie Walker Blue Label limited edition bottle. “The Indonesian Opera Society has been progressing throughout the years, and it was only fitting that our journey was to be immortalized on a Johnnie Walker Blue Label,” says Erza S.T., founder of the Indonesia Opera Society. “Our members enjoy drinking the Johnnie Walker Blue Label before and after our opera, and this time, they will get ahold of a physical embodiment of our opera spirit.”

Entrusted to create the design was Sinta Tantra, a British artist of Balinese descent. The 39-year-old artist is most known for her site-specific murals and installations in the public realm, most notable is the permanent landmark commission for Canary Wharf on a 300-metre long painted bridge stretching over the water in the heart of London’s business district. Her other notable works can be found in the Newnham College in Cambridge University and the newly built ‘tech city’ of Songdo, South Korea. Sinta is a recipient of many awards including the prestigious Deutsche Bank Award, British Council’s International Development Award and shortlisted for the Jerwood Painting Prize.

“For the Johnnie Walker Blue Label Indonesian Opera Society bottle, I wanted the design to look and feel like musical notes across a score,” says Sinta. “Not many people know this but when I was a child, my dream was to become either a pianist or composer — there’s almost a musical approach to how I work with colour and geometry.”

The following year Sinta held her inaugural solo exhibition in Jakarta, entitled “A House in Bali”. Organizers of her exhibition, ISA Art Advisory, was impressed by the Johnnie Walker limited edition print she created with the Indonesian Opera Society, and went on to continue the tradition. Thus, the A House in Bali Johnnie Walker Gold Label limited edition bottle was created.

“For my solo show, I based my bottle design on a series of ‘screen paintings’ I made,” says Sinta. “Whilst some sides of the bottle are filled with shades of blues, other sides are see through - the colour of the whisky actually becomes part of the work itself which I found interesting.” She went on to explain: “Similar to my public artworks, I wanted to ‘wrap’ my design around a three dimensional structure — but in this case, it wasn’t four sides of a building, it was four sides of a bottle,” Sinta said. “Although the bottle and building are vastly different in scale, I approached the process of designing the bottle, as I would an architectural space.”

As Johnnie Walker keeps walking to the future with their innovations, soon we’ll see what new collaborations and craftsmanship the brand will bring.

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Erza S.T.
Erza has pursued his great passion for opera and classical music for over a decade. His brainchild, the Indonesia Opera Society, has produced many classical music concerts and operas, and recently marked its 10th anniversary with a gala production. He is also a journalism lover focusing on luxury, lifestyle and travel stories, which he files from datelines around the globe.
Bagus Tri Laksono

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