There are probably only a few people in the world who have practiced humility despite their exceptional talent.
Artist Jayson Atienza has such an impressive list of accomplishments, one would never guess that he’s the same person working on a mural under the scorching sun in Manila. He paints away at Bucketfeet Alabang’s pop-up store with intense drive and passion.
Born in Batangas but raised in New
Jersey, Jayson interest in art began at age 5 with a chalkboard that the family constantly drew on. This inclination was instrumental in his pursuit of a double major in Graphic Design and Advertising at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.
In one of his freshman classes, a teacher urged him to develop a style that mixes his love of watercolor and doodling. While still in school, he won a graphic design scholarship that led to an internship in Rolling Stone and Condé Nast.
He spent 10 years working in BBDO New York, followed by five years of freelance work as creative and art director for other prestigious advertising agencies.
He became creative director of Nike in Shanghai, and worked with GAP, Heineken, Red Bull, Givenchy, Havaianas, Guinness, HBO, FedEx, Canon, Pepsi, The Financial Times and many more.
He also took part in the art movement for US President Barack Obama’s inauguration, and even did a Chevrolet commercial with John Legend, after showing a sample doodle to an old BBDO colleague.
Jayson has won awards for his work, including the Cannes Lion Young Creative Competition, creating a music video for John Lennon’s 20th anniversary retrospective (which also debuted at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), and being inducted as an Art Directors Club Young Guns 5 honoree (a group that honors top talents around the world under the age of 30).
At present he is back to freelance work while doing more art.
Jayson is a generous artist; he shares his talent by inspiring others to develop theirs. One of the organizations he works with is Stoked Mentoring in New York and Los Angeles, which help underprivileged kids learn skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding.
What he loves about the program is its effectiveness—99.9 percent of the children are graduating from high school. He collaborates with the kids in creating artworks that are auctioned for as much as $250,000.
The proceeds are donated to Stoked Mentoring and other outreach organizations.
In 2007, he formed his own non-profit organization called P.A.I.N.T. (Philippine Artists Inspiring New Talent), in which he encourages teens to develop their own artistic skills through interactive art experiences, seminars and career mentoring.
“I just want to show and inspire kids, teenagers and people that you can have a great career in the arts and be successful,” he says.
Jayson is now giving back to the world through his work with lifestyle shoe brand Bucketfeet. His design is being sold worldwide, and is one of the best-selling pairs in Bucketfeet Philippines.
The brand has a unique appeal, says Gifford Chu, president of Bucketfeet Philippines. “There are many canvas shoe brands, but Bucketfeet is the only one with collaborations from thousands of artists all over the world. Each pair is a ready-to-wear art design that has a message, and wearing it reflects the artist’s talent and the story behind the work,” he said.
“More than diversity in design, it offers superior features, and is very comfortable to wear. We hope to build these easygoing and stylish shoes into a more popular brand for the youth,” Gifford adds.
The Atienza Bucketfeet canvass shoes are designed with Jayson’s meticulous mix of watercolor and ink—in a style inspired by the energy of New York City. The shoes serve as his ode to the place he calls home.
He’s all praises for the collaboration with Bucketfeet, which he describes as “a company passionate about sharing people’s stories with the world through something as simple as shoes! No one should have regular shoes! They should have something to walk the world with. That’s what’s great about art; you share it with other people, and they enjoy it.”
Jayson’s motto perfectly encapsulates his story: “Sometimes, on your way to (following) your dreams, you get lost and find a better one.” From simply aiming to become a graphic designer, he morphed into a dazzling figure in the international advertising industry—one of best examples of “living your passion.”
Jayson reveals that he was intrigued when he saw a photo of a young Pharrell Williams in a magazine.
“His being young and able to produce music really inspired me,” says Jayson. “I wanted to do that. Even if I was not a musician, I wanted to follow my passion… If more people followed their passion, it would be the best thing…
“It’s scary and hard, but if you really believe that you can do it, no holds barred and take that risk, you’ll definitely get somewhere. People will tell you things that will make you chicken out. But they’re not the ones living my life. I’m living my own life. So, why not do something you love 24/7?”