If some people learned a new skill over the lockdown, others touched base with where they started. Chi Gibbs popped up on my feed again with another venture: Chi Gibbs Studio.
One wouldn’t be surprised this came about, Chi is one-half of cool girl clothing label Neon Island. Over the years, we got to see how she and business partner Aira Medina shared fun bikini prints, trending tops, and want-that-now designs through their various collections. Neon Island also popped up on different collaborations with Zalora, Havaianas, and Dove.
Lifestyle.INQ buzzed up Chi over WhatsApp when we saw her offering up her works on canvas. Chi gladly gave in to a catch-up session with us.
#1 What is your routine like these days?
I usually make brunch. I wake up late! I then take some time to read and play with the cats. After, I go to my desk to get some work done for Neon Island and Chi Gibbs Studio. At night, I usually work out before proceeding to my shower and elaborate skincare routine before binge-watching some trash show on Netflix.
#2 Describe the vision of Chi Gibbs Studio
Chi Gibbs Studio is an extension of the work I do for Neon Island. I believe both share the same colorful aesthetic & wabi-sabi approach to art. With the studio, I create art for myself, without a consumer in mind. It’s a more free expression on my part.
#3 Why did you feel it’s time to open up your studio on social media?
What pushed me was being stuck at home, wanting to do something to help NGOs such as pagasa.ph. I wanted to find a way to marry my love for painting and the current situation. Since I had been posting a lot of my work online and have been getting messages and inquiries regarding commissions, I figured maybe I could start a studio.
#4 How do you start on a painting/illustration project?
I first doodle on my iPad before I put it on paper. My materials are scarce given the quarantine, so I don’t go straight to the canvas. The traditional mediums I use are either acrylic or gouache.
#5 Can you tell us again about your background and how it leads to your studio practice?
My background in design started in fashion. I worked in product design for two years before I started Neon Island Clothing with my partner Aira. I’ve been a textile print artist with my brand for seven years now!
#6 Any influences you always go back to?
I always look at vintage photographs with mid-century modern interiors. I imagine a piece to match a particular space.
#7 Artist you always find yourself dreaming about?
Anything Matisse or Picasso.
#8 What are your favorite at-home picks?
For music, I’ve been listening to a lot of show tunes & Ben Platt (I’m obsessed). For TV, I’d recommend Fleabag, Pose, The Politician, Sense8, and RuPaul’s Drag Race.
#9 At-home outfit?
Tie-dye tee and cycling shorts.
#10 What are your skincare and self-care favorites at the moment?
Recently got a package from Glow Recipe and loving every product. Also my gua sha!
#11 If you were a color, what would you be?
I think I’d be neon green.
#12 Plans you can’t wait to pursue once the situation normalizes?
Traveling and seeing loved ones!
BACK IN BUSINESS
#13 How’s Neon Island doing these days?
This whole pandemic has posed a lot of challenges for Neon Island. We haven’t been fully operational since we prioritized the safety of our team, so it has been difficult to get by. It’s so important to support small local businesses because there are so many talented Filipino makers out there that are struggling to keep their livelihood. We need to help each other out to survive this.
#14 The best compliment you’ve received about your work?
I got a message from a buyer who said seeing my work in her space made her feel hopeful and inspired in these chaotic times. I think to uplift someone’s spirits through my art is the greatest of compliments!
#15 The best realization you’ve had over the current period?
Life is so unpredictable. This whole period has just put a lot of things into perspective for me and has shifted my priorities. Whatever good or bad comes our way, it’s up to us to make something out of it and give it meaning.