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Meet Nabila Nugroho (K027)

Here at Exit 9, collaborating with independent artists is at the top of our priority. Today, meet Nabila Nugroho (also known as K027): the amazing Indonesian illustrator behind the Rebel Girl Maquire - recently seen wearing a piece from our Love Hate Collection.

Profile Photo of Nabila - also known as K027

Could you give us a brief introduction to yourself and who you are as an artist?

My name is Nabila Nugroho. I took K027 as my artist name and I see myself as a bold-anime style illustrator! I am from Semarang, Indonesia.

What’s your background and what is something that you’d like to share with people about your culture?

I am a Visual Communication Design graduate, currently a part of a design studio as a freelancer and teaching on the side. I live in a place where Anime/Japanese style drawings are pretty familiar but most still underestimate the effort behind it, thinking that art is not something that should be well paid.

How did your journey as an artist start and how has it progressed?

For drawing itself, I started young at maybe 14 years old but I started to take my anime style seriously when I went to university as a design student.

I made this character “Rebel Girl Maquire” to combine all my passions in one package: design, art, merchandise design and speaking up. She took me places... I met new people that appreciated my art, and even had opportunities to make creative things. I still think of myself as 'just starting' though. I have a long way to go but I am excited to find out!

Examples of Nabila's work

Who are your creative influences and why?

Right now my creative influences often come from people/brands that have a unique image and are not afraid to use their platform to speak up / express themselves. Some artists and Instagram accounts that I admire:

  • Liunic On Things (@liuniconthings)
  • Ninkapop (@ninkapop_)
  • Mad For Makeup (
  • Lyena Kang (@kitsuneghost)
  • Florence Given (@florencegiven)
  • Matt Bernstein (@mattxiv).

What sort of themes or stories do you like to tell? Or is there a specific style that you gravitate towards?

With Maquire, I like to do artworks that speaks up and are relatable. I think being a 'rebel' is not only limited to being 'bad; and 'against the rules'; its about doing what you believe is right. The stories might differ each time but I realized that I often use topics related to fashion, equality, feminist-girl power, and supporting local artworks.

Do you ever find yourself stuck for inspiration and what do you do to overcome that?

I think about myself as someone with lots of ideas, so if I ever get stuck I would take some time to rest like playing games, taking naps and trying not to think about 'being stuck'. In my case, ideas always come when I am on a 'zen phase' (haha).

A bold anime style illustration of the Maquire character wearing our Love Ringer T-Shirt

Can you talk about the artwork that you did for Exit 9 and your inspiration?

I drew Maquire wearing one of Exit 9’s t-shirt! This is not my first time drawing a local brand’s product on Maq 0 I do this every time I see a local brand that is cool. I had this idea when I saw lots of artists drawing outfits from Pinterest... so I was thinking 'this could be a new way to help promote a local brand and challenging yourself as an artist'! It was so fun to see Maq wearing different styles each time I make one.

What do you think is an artist’ role in shaping society and culture?

There are lots of causes in this world that it isn't enough to be spoken only by words. Artists help people to show various ways to convey something; either by visual, sound, touch and etc, using their ability to feel and create.

This question reminds me of someone that once said to me “art is useless”. Well imagine living in a world without music, movies, colorful signboards, comics… blank shirts all over the street? Ugh!

Examples of Nabila's work

Where do you want to take your art journey in the future?

I want to have my own illustration brand shop! I also want to collaborate with amazing creators in the future, to challenge myself with new things and see my works in various forms.

If you could give any advice to your younger self (and other aspiring artists out there), what would it be?

Just effing start. If you want something, go for it. Even if you start late and 'feel ready', the path would still be a rough one. What matters is how to face the problems and pave your own way to reach your dreams.

Check out Nabila/K027, as well as her original character Maquire!

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