Education: BS Management graduate, Ateneo de Manila
Claim to fame: “I have worked as an illustrator, graphic designer, shirt designer, storyboard artist, and a comic artist. I also sell shirts.”
Signature style: “In my ‘serious’ illustrations, it’s more of the weird, grotesque, obsessive -compulsive, conceptual sort of thing. With less serious ones, I just sort of do absurd, funny illustrations with offbeat humor. They’re gross, offensive, but it’s what I like to do with the freedom I have that I abuse.”
Medium: “I have loads of sketches and comics of things that I never really show people. I do a lot of digital, as well, since usually I’m on the computer. The things I can do on a computer and not with a piece of paper is what draws me towards digital art more. People know me for my digital works, so it’s a misconception I propagate because if people don’t know about the traditional ones, they will never have to see them.”
On his humble beginnings
I enjoyed drawing when I was around 5 or 6. My parents supported me with art classes. I stopped attending when the teacher quit, but I didn’t stop drawing. I never had the serious interest in art in terms of art history; I just wanted to draw cool stuff. I made comics as a kid, small books held together by staple wire. It was a way to tell stories. Then came a dormant age of non-art pursuits with my teenage years.
I got back into it when I was in college in Manila––a kid from Baguio, no close friends, alone and lonely. I had art, though, and I had the Internet, so I drew foul and silly things and got attention for it. I met friends who were into art. I still have that fear of not being able to live off art alone, so I finished my degree and it’s my back-up plan if I fail at this.
I look at the climate in the Philippines for illustrators and designers, and what I hear about the way illustrators are treated isn’t exactly great, so there’s that discouragement. But I’d like to try anyway.
On ideas and inspirations
The world is full of things we take for granted, and ideas. I get ideas from comic books, blogs, and the Internet. You can sort of see it in my art. It’s just a bunch of borrowed ideas put together into one new mess.
I sketch it out first. Be it in my head or on a piece of paper, or digitally with a tablet, I always do a draft, then go from there. Digitally, I can just have so many things going on that isn’t the same when I do traditional. I can undo mistakes, do colors on separate layers.
I’m influenced by comic creators like KC Green, Michael deForge, Pendleton Ward, Natasha Alegeri, Manix Abrera, Anthony Clark, Craig Thompson, Jeffrey Brown, Dash Shaw, KazuKibuishi, John Campbell, Becky Cloonan, Frank Quitely, Luke Person, Brian Bolland, Jonathan Hickman, and Adrian Tomine.
Thoughts on the art industry
I just hope it doesn’t die. It’s not an ideal thing to pursue in my logical reasoning, but I do it anyway because I love it.
Feanne, 22, artist, mermaid, blogger
Education: BS Interior Design grad, UP Diliman
Claim to fame: Multifaceted artist—interior, web and graphic design. Has had artworks shown in publications and exhibits in Manila and abroad. Designed, produced and sold Tamis, a line of laser-cut acrylic jewelry. She does poetry reading, singing/songwriting, and modeling.
Signature style: “Art nouveau, mystical, feminine, intricate, organic. I always have trouble trying to describe my work to people without sounding really girly.”
Medium: “Pen and ink is my most comfortable medium. But I also love making jewelry, and recently I’ve been getting into mixed media artworks, cutting pieces of felt and sewing them onto silk screens.”
I’ve been drawing ever since I can remember. As a child I’d draw unicorns, cats, butterflies, flowers. Early influences include illustrated fairy tale books, “Starla & The Jewel Riders,” and nature documentaries. I wish I could show you my childhood doodles of great white sharks, and wolves hunting prey.
All my ideas are generous gifts from the hard work of Mother Nature and of other artists. By artists, I mean everyone! My grandma tells me it’s a sin to be bored, you can find fascinating and inspiring things in any circumstance if you pay attention. I especially love turning to esoteric art and vintage illustrations of flora, fauna, and calligraphy for inspiration.
I ink right away! I skip the pencil sketching part unless I’m drawing humans. People are impressed when I tell them I don’t sketch in pencil before inking my drawings. When I make mistakes, I just work them into the drawing, so maybe they are not mistakes, just spontaneous lines!
On her influences and accomplishments
My maternal grandma Teresita “Chit” Navarro Hontiveros. Alphonse Mucha and Aubrey Beardsley for art nouveau. Yoshitaka Amano for flow. Stephanie Pui-Mun Law for fantasy. Kate Raudenbush. Yoko Ono. Valerie Chua. Wawi Navarroza. Gabriel Barredo. Hannah Liongoren. “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and “The Universe Is A Green Dragon” by Brian Swimme—these two books are my personal bibles. My 10 commandments are the “Decalogue of the Artist” by Gabriela Mistral.
My first solo art exhibit, because it was so much work. I’m honored that so many people supported me. I know a few people who’ve gotten my art permanently tattooed on their skin. I’m planning for another solo art exhibit this year.
Thoughts on the industry as a Filipino artist
It’s filled with so many wonderful people who are not only talented but also kind and big-hearted.