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A H.E.A.R.T for art and everything nice

Abigail Sy paints sweetness online, on totes and on tees


Abigail “Abbey” Sy has a knack for writing, a heart for art, good taste in music and finds inspiration in fairy tales, travel and all things nice. She paints sweetness in the online world, one blog post at a time.

“It all started with a doodle,” Sy says of how she started getting a lot of Internet “likes” and “followers.”  It was an Owl City-inspired doodle posted on her Tumblr site.

She started blogging a couple of years ago. It did not get Internet nods and fans until she decided to make her Tumblr account purely her own. “I thought it could be a platform for my art,” she says.

Using the Internet as an outlet and online gallery, Sy is attracting a growing number of followers/fans online. While the online art scene has been growing through the years with the birth of social sites that allow anybody to post anything online, anyone can be artistic—and pseudo-artistic.  It takes real talent, creativity, and uniqueness, though, to shine through all the clutter in the digital world.

Despite the abundance of Internet photos and blog-flood online, Sy’s unique artistic blog stands out. Artistic-dreams.tumblr.com is generally her story—a record of interesting things that happen in her everyday life, her art gallery, and a place where she sells tote bags she hand paints.

Mini business

Wanting to buy herself a camera, Abbey thought of a very artsy way to earn money for the purchase—selling hand-painted totes and shirts online. “H.E.A.R.T is a small project of mine—a mini business, if you may call it,” she says.

H.E.A.R.T means Handpainted stuff for Everyone by Abbey—Revolutionary Totes and Tees. “The very first bag I made was for a friend,” she recalls. Sporting very sweet and feminine designs, she received a lot of praise. She decided to make five more hand-painted totes.

“I posted photos on Facebook and tagged my friends,” she says. She has a Facebook fan page where she sells the bags (facebook/HEARTbyabbey.com).

She finds inspiration for bag designs in things she finds pretty, nice, and interesting—books, travel, photography, nature, as well as other artists, who  inspire her to be creative. Her latest collection is Harry Potter-inspired. She also has a travel collection, which has Paris and London designs.

“I’m interested in Paris and London. They seem nice. I want to visit the cities someday,” she says.  Among the recent collections is a camera collection.

Despite having started less than a year ago, her hand-painted totes are quickly becoming a big hit on Tumblr and Facebook. This De La Salle University student, who is enrolled in a double major course, does everything in the H.E.A.R.T business: Conceptualizing, manufacturing, marketing and shipping. She juggles school and business pretty well for an 18-year-old. According to Abbey, she paints during her days off from school.

Unlike other merchants who sell anything hand-painted at a high cost, Abbey keeps her prices in a very student-friendly range. With pouches costing P70 and totes priced at P220-P250, her bags are affordable.

“I put myself in my clients’ shoes; if I were them, I won’t purchase those totes if they were tagged at a higher price,” she says.

“I also don’t see painting as tedious; I enjoy it, that’s why I don’t find a need to charge extra for the bags being hand-painted.”

Inspired by both classical artists and contemporary young artists, Abbey has a distinct art that exudes her artistic uniqueness. She describes her art as an evolution of who she is. Starting out with psychedelic art composed of doodles and complicated patterns, her art has evolved into a more feminine, nostalgic style with emphasis on detail, and using watercolor as a medium.

“Overall, my art is like a public storybook about my life and how I face the challenges that come,” she says.

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