Hanafi is known as an artist who tends to transform visual elements into abstract and imaginary ones who later produce chambers in various compositions and lighting. Observing Hanafi's paintings, the audience is provided unlimited space to interpret and describe the message within. Hanafi allows the audience's perception to move wildly, to activate the imagination and to ignite creativity. It is therefore not surprising that many says that Hanafi's art pieces have given stimulus on ideas, inspirations and creativity in various fields, e.g. architecture, design, music and literature.
Hanafi was born from a common family, from the couple Muhtarom and Umi Hani, both already deceased. Born and grew up in his village in Baledono, Purworejo, Central Java, nearby a river, Hanafi confessed that his life does flow like a river, without plans. This resembles his paintings which tend to be spontaneous without any drafted design. Hanafi started his journey in the art realm by entering Indonesian Art Institute (Sekolah Seni Rupa Indonesia, SRRI, now called Institut Seni Indonesia, ISI) in Yogyakarta. He went to Jakarta after finishing his art education. Before becoming a billboard painter, Hanafi was a public area worker at Hotel President, Jakarta. In 1990, Hanafi established himself as a painter. All those stages, according to Hanafi, feel like they happen out of coincidence, nothing was planned.
Observing deeper into his works, the absence of design does appear everywhere, especially on the elements of art which have been processed and used effectively without disowning its basic functions: the presence of lines are not meant to define or to limit things; colors arise not as tools for specific emotions; and composition was compiled without any intention to imply any esthetic objectives; art images that appear are not meant as archetype and the likes. We will be pulled into a colorful and odd vortex; which fluctuates from time to time. This is more of reflection on "psychological situation", which are unnamed feelings, a flow of senses that are not yet fully felt, reflecting everything that appears from the deepest emotion.
The objective of creation is to widen the possibilities, deepen the depth of senses and emotions, in order to reach a much deeper inner trough. Therefore paintings in Hanafi's hands are no different than the creation of poetry in the hands of a poet: a form of art that tries to dig deeper into the mystery of "life", one's bottom of the heart and the substance of mankind in its total understanding.