ISSUE 07 Sept/Oct 2014
KATHA MASTERMINDS Geli Balcruz hellogelibee.blogspot.com Aya Dalumpines facebook.com/createbytlf Andrea Dela Cruz mabuhaydiy.wordpress.com Allie Principe thefoureyedwonder.com Cachi Reyes thepinkdoormat.blogspot.com
Illustrators Lando Cusi behance.net/landocusi Ella Lama ellalama.tumblr.com Charisse Reyes behance.net/cmtreyes Carla Chua carlacochua.com
REGULAR CONTRIBUTORS Koni Esteban candidlypretty.blogspot.com
CONTACT US For submissions, advertising opportunities, and other inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org
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Katha is a bi-monthly magazine for creatives, by creatives. Copyright is reserved. Reposting in whole or in part on other sites and publications without permission is prohibited. All rights to photos and illustrations belong to their respective owners.
THE PAST YEAR HAS BEEN NOTHING SHORT OF MAGICAL FOR US. It doesn’t seem all too long ago that the five of us had nothing else but wild ideas and big dreams. But before we knew it, here we are, already releasing the first anniversary issue of our online magazine. “Time flies fast when you’re having fun.” We all know how cliché and overused this sounds. But we don’t think anything else can sum up how we feel about turning a year old. When we first decided on the name Katha, one of the things we liked most about it was that the word seems to hold a certain amount of whimsy and mystery. For this issue, we come to a full circle of sorts as we talk about something equally mysterious: myths and legends. Local lore has always been an fascinating subject, and it remains to be a big source of inspiration to our artists and creatives. We promise that there is no shortage of work to showcase within this issue, as we have everything from your friendly neighborhood mythical creatures to the many kinds of antinganting (amulets) that one may need in his/her daily life. We also dip a little bit into more globally familiar territory such as Halloween and everyone’s favorite magical being, the unicorn. Beyond the mystical character of our theme however, we also thought it was about time that we feature the greatest of the great -- the people who we consider as legends in the creative community and have looked up to for the longest time. These individuals are part of the reason why we fell in love with this world in the first place, and why we are here now, hoping that our little endeavor inspires the same with you, our readers. Thank you for joining us in embarking on our second year. Let the magic begin! Cheers, The Katha Team
CONTENTS 16 30 84
MEET THE TEAM
CHILLS AND THRILLS
OF MYTHS AND MAGIC
IN THE KEY OF (MR) C
T HI S I S SUE ’S CO NTR I B U TOR S ELIZA VICTORIA is the author of several books, including A Bottle of Storm Clouds, Project 17, and Unseen Moon. Her work has won prizes in the Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature and the Free Press Literary Awards. She has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the National Children’s Book Awards, and has been included in the Honorable Mentions for Best Horror of the Year. Her second novel, Dwellers, was released in July by Visprint. For more information, please visit elizavictoria.com.
ANDREA SENGA has been drawing ever since she can remember. She is also fond of books, crafting with paper, nature, with animals being closest to her heart. You can see her works at lamerdereve.blogspot.com and Instagram account, @eabrea.
RIAN GONZALES is a freelance illustrator who believes she’s made of candy and keeps making false promises of chocolate chip walnut cookies and palabok. CONTRIBUTORS She loves colors. Her goal in life is to try her best not be diabetic, work for Disney, make her own comic and get a photo taken with Stan Lee. She likes the smell of Artline markers and hates candies that taste like guyabano. See more of her work at FB: rianbowgirl, IG: rianbowart, tumblr: rianbowart.
MAI EVANGELISTA is an illustrator, motion designer, and quite recently, a gemstone artisan making accessories and odd stuff over at Fake Alchemy. You can find and follow her works and constant goofiness at facebook.com/fakealchemy and check out her instagram accounts: @fakealchemy and @maievangelista.
In SAB PALMARES eyes, it is possible to see the slightest hint of adventure and art in the simplest things. From coffee condiments to a mop-wielding old man, she draw out quirky stories that will make you smile and more often, wonder. She dreams of making her own little mustard world into an art fortress synonymous to the likeness of Ghibli Museum, promising fantasy in the bitter-sweet reality. Visit her stie at itsamustardworld.wordpress.com.
KATE PEDROSO s a media worker and grad student. She likes pandas, children’s books, coming-of-age stories, designer beer and beach weather. She blogs at lastgirl.net/the.
AIZLE ESDICUL is a graphic designer by profession and an illustrator by heart. She’s an avid fan of coffee and blue ballpoint pens. You can check out some of her works at facebook.com/esdidesign which aims to Express Share Dream and Inspire, all for the glory of God.
DOROTHY TAN is CONTRIBUTORS a design professional who specializes in interior spaces. She
is the founder and owner of Prints by Dots, an online shop that sells paintings and art prints. You can check out the store’s Facebook page at.facebook.com/ printsbydots.
ANNA GRAHAM graduated from the UP College of Music with a Diploma in Asian Music. She is 1/3 of the Jazz trio Baihana and is the Mrs. of Mrs. Graham’s Macaron Cafe. Her whole life as of the moment revolves around being a new mom and wife, a self-taught baker, craft lover and full-time musician.
MARK JOSEPH ALBOLERAS is a graduate of Computer Hardware Servicing, Programming, Book keeping at Asian Entrepreneur Technological Institute of Technology. He juggles being a sales clerk, IT instructor, CHS Trainer and home based graphic designer
CHIARA GARCIA is an 18-year old gypsy soul and creator â€” a photographer and writer traveling the world. She dropped out from college to pursue her passions and dreams of having a simple, gypsy life. She is constantly marveled and inspired by creation and culture, documenting all the raw beauty she finds and translating them into creative photographs and words. She shares her photographs and stories in her online journal: thegypsysoul.com.
PAT AND CAMY CABRAL are a husband and wife artist/designer team with over a decade of experience in Advertising, Web/Graphic Design, Illustration and Art Direction. Their first collaborative project was an iOS game called PUGO (pugogame.com) Currently they are both pursing their personal projects, from conducting calligraphy workshops, customize illustrations on bags, shoes and tattoos, to developing their new game as follow up from PUGO.
GET THAT MYSTICAL FEELING Otherworldly songs which may or may not be about feeling like a legend, listening to nature, and inventing stories. 1. Bathala Imago 2. Mountain Sound Of Monsters and Men 3. Mermaids Jinja Safari 4. Breathing Underwater Metric 5. Dreamworld Rilo Kiley
6. Diwata Indio I 7. Origin of Love Hedwig and the Angry Inch 8. Learn to Fly Foo Fighters 9. Balance Future Islands 10. Heroes The Wallflowers
HELLO! Since weâ€™re celebrating our anniversary, we thought it was about time we got to know each other a little better.
10 | WHIMSIES
WH IM SIES | 1 1
12 | WHIMSIES
WH IM SIES | 1 3
14 | WHIMSIES
SPOT THE IBONG ADARNA!
Hidden somewhere in these pages is this ever elusive creature. Weâ€™re challenging you to look for it! Tweet us the page number where you see it, and donâ€™t forget to use the hashtag #IbongAdarnaHunt. One lucky person will be picked randomly and receive a special prize from us!
WH IM SIES | 1 5
16 | MAKE
DREAM ON Chase your dreams in the most colorful way by making your very own dreamcatcher. w o r d s a n d p h otog r a p h s b y D ots T a n
MATERIALS • Wooden / metal or any kind of ring depending on what size dream catcher you want • Ribbons / cloth strips / strings to wrap your ring and make your dream catcher web • Feathers • Beads or any accessories to spruce up your dream catcher (optional) STEP 1 Wrap your ring with string. In my case, I like using abaca string to wrap my wooden ring to bring a little local flavor. Make sure to make it really tight so no gaps in between strings would be seen especially when your ring and string have contrasting colors. STEP 2 Make your web. After wrapping your ring, make a spider web-like pattern by making your first knot to secure the string then looping it around the hoop in equal parts. Repeat the process until you see the circular space at the center to be small and to be your desired size. You can place beads while looping or even at the center of your circular space. (That’s my favorite place to place my accent bead!) STEP 3 Place your feathers. Secure your feathers by wrapping the end with a string first. You can use glue so it wouldn’t fall off easily. Then tie the string on your hoop. If you want it long, you can even make designs like what you would do in a friendship bracelet. STEP 4 Accesorize! This is the fun part! You can place loads of flowers, beads, or ribbons wherever you want and as much as you want! Make it your own!
M AK E | 1 7
C R AFT E R P R E NE U R
S TONER IVER Hello! I’m Kim Sabala and I do everything at Stone River. A DAY IN THE LIFE 6 AM: Wake up. Have breakfast. Get ready for the day 8 AM: Post daily Instagram morning photo. Update item availability on tumblr site. Respond to Instagram comments, emails, viber messages and SMS. 10 AM: Craft paid orders. Pack orders, get ready for shipping. 12:30 NN: Have lunch. 1:30 PM: Get back to working on paid orders; or start commuting to get to a meeting (if there is a schedule). 2 PM: Still working on orders; or meet with distributors / suppliers, whichever is scheduled 5:30 PM: Arrive home by this time for scheduled courier pick-up 6 PM: Check viber, email, and SMS for payments. List paid orders. Post daily instagram photo. 7 PM: Have dinner. 8 PM: Start working on new set of paid orders. 10 PM: Check order forms. Send sales invoice. Respond to comments, e-mail, viber messages, SMS 12 MN: Go to bed. When did you start making things? I’ve been making jewelry out of disassembled accessories since I was around 14. I started making jewelry as a living only 2 months ago. How long have you been in love with the art of creating jewelry? I’ve been in love with it for so long, I can’t remember exactly when that love started! Haha! Since my teenage years, I’ve been enjoying crafting my own jewelry out of old accessories. Why did you decide to work on precious stones? The first thing that attracted me was the stones’ beauty. Then after reading a few articles about them, I just fell in love! Can you imagine working on something that’s literally an imprint of the Earth’s evolution? It’s crazy cool! Among all the many projects you’ve made, what was your favorite? I honestly can’t pick. I invest deep love, dedication, and hardwork to every piece I make. It’s so hard to choose! I would wear everything. Haha!
18 | MAKE
Did you initially plan to sell your works? If not, why did you decide to turn this hobby into a business? Yes, I really planned to make a business out of it. A few months ago I was working on something I didn’t fully love and decided it was time for me to just be myself and invest my effort in something that I really dream to do –craft. Once I found the right suppliers, I immediately started! What made you decide to name your shop Stoneriver? I was aiming for a mystical name and came up with Moonriver. I tried to register that on Instagram and found numerous shops with the same name so I went with Stoneriver since I work with stones. Are you working on a secret project for Stoneriver? Yes, actually! But every time I come up with a project, I can’t help the itch to share it with everybody! Projects don’t stay secret for so long. Haha! What’s your long-term goal for Stoneriver Do you see yourself having your own store or gallery? My long-term goal for Stoneriver is to be a proudly Filipino brand readily available in the global market. I see Stoneriver being distributed all over the world through brick and mortar distributors and an online shopping website. What’s your advice to those who wants to be a craftrepreneur just like you? 1.) If you have an idea, and you’re 100% dedicated to make it work, GO FOR IT because it will work! 2.) Get to know your target market well. Reach out to them and study them. Know them well enough to be able to give them something they didn’t even know they wanted.
Which stone is considered the “stone of the heart” and a “Crystal of Unconditional Love?” Tell us your answer HERE and get the chance to win this lovely Raw Rose quartz stone necklace from Stoneriver!
M AK E | 1 9
20 | S HO W & TELL
FANCIFUL Ge li s h a r e s h e r f a s c i na t i o n wi t h whi m si c al t h i n g s an d h er p l an s on st art i n g a u n i corn arm y .
What do you collect? I collect almost anything that fascinates me. For this one, I’m showing you my unicorn collection.
If they have a plush with Agnes holding the Unicorn and shouting it’s so fluffy, then that would definitely make me extremely happy.
Why do you collect them? I’m fascinated with unicorns because it symbolizes both power and grace. It is said that their horns have the power to both heal and destroy and only a gentle and pensive maiden have the power to tame a wild unicorn. Also, during the early days, higher ranking officials used seals with one-horned animals designs to emphasize their position.
Do you have a memorable story involving an item in this collection? My unicorn and wing charm with lapis lazuli necklace proved that unicorns are elusive and hard to find. I ordered it from my friend and I had to wait for almost 2 weeks for my necklace to arrive. My friend was already furious at her courier because it was the first time this happened. The courier told my friend that they couldn’t locate our house, which was odd because I know a lot of messengers because I receive packages often. I told her to relax and my unicorn is just probably flying somewhere. Then, the messenger magically located our home, appeared at our doorstep and delivered the goods while I was out of the country.
On the not so serious part, I actually collect, uhm, hoard, millions of things. I’m like a kid trapped inside a twenty-something’s body. But the unicorn collection started with an inside joke with my friend, Jawi. Then every time I see a unicorn, it makes me happy, I have to buy it and now, I’m starting a unicorn army. How many of these do you have? So far I have 15 and counting. Any items you treasure the most in the collection? Two things – my Rainbow Dash from a happy meal given by mom as a surprise, after she told me to act my age and that I don’t need another toy, and my Princess Twilight Sparkle snow globe bought by my sister during our trip to Taiwan. I stared at the display for a good 30 minutes or so contemplating on which globe I should get. Dream items to add in the collection? A real unicorn would be nice but I’d be happy with the “It’s so fluffy” unicorn plush from Despicable Me.
SH OW & TELL | 2 1
Husband and wife square off against each other with some dropcap lettering inspired by local legends.
22 | FACEO FF
by Patrick Cabral
by Camy Cabral
F ACEOF F | 2 3
Young, bewitched and bewildered wor d s b y Ka te P ed r os o
Dear Mana Dolor, You may not remember me—I’m one of Corita’s grandchildren. They used to live next door. The last time I saw you, we were at her wake, and I still remember that distinct hush that fell over the room when you first came in. That summer I was nine and sickly and I remember how they’d told me it was because you had turned to me and smiled. Usog, was what the elders said, locking us up that afternoon. I didn’t understand, but I guess I didn’t really have to—after all, I was nine. I was just supposed to do as I was told. End of discussion. It was a week-long wake full of old aunts and uncles milling about in the living room, praying and eating and laughing. It was the laughter that drew me— after falling ill I’d resorted to peeking out of our bedroom door, face half-hidden behind curtains. There was something unusual about you, that much my nine-year-old mind could tell, but even then none of the warnings made sense, except for that feeling deep in my gut that told me everybody was better off without us children in the way. They said: You liked coming over because there were children. They said: You always took something with you every time you left, only nobody could quite put
24 | HEY YO U
a finger on it and that just made everybody antsy. I remember the nervous shuffling, the guarded responses, the awkward silences. When are you going back to Manila? How old is your youngest? You even called my mother by an old nickname, like you were showing off how you’d been around since forever. My grandfather made it a point to be present in the space you were in, and was always flanked by my mother, whom I never really saw as someone superstitious until that summer. I suppose the strangest things happen to you when your mother dies. It felt like they—my grandfather, my mother, her siblings, and my grandmother’s siblings – were forming a force field around us. Still, as my grandmother’s funeral approached, I only felt weaker. I do not remember your face – we were specifically instructed not to look you in the eye. I suppose the gesture’s half respect, half superstition. A pity that -- I would have wanted to see for myself if the whole deal about my reflection in your eye being upside down on a Tuesday was true. I guess I won’t be finding out anymore.
What I do remember though – that night after we buried my grandmother, we were all already sick, and there was a summer storm. With my mother and father already on the flight out to Manila, the house was decidedly quieter. That night, the women left in the house shut all the windows and tucked us children into bed before turning on all the lights. I was already half-asleep, but in my mind’s eye I saw them standing by the kitchen window that led to the backyard. Even with the bedroom door shut we could hear them cursing in the vernacular like they were addressing someone who was standing outside. The only name I heard was yours. Mana Dolor, they had pleaded. Leave the children alone. Outside, the rain just poured, and I couldn’t breathe through the worst asthma attack of my life. I couldn’t tell at the time which frightened me more – the fact that my aunts were yelling, or the fact that their voices betrayed a sort of fear. Twenty years later, the memory of that night is still terrifying. When morning came, the storm was gone, but I remember how it felt like the statues in my head had been knocked down in its wake.
house near the highway that first day, and seeing my mother cry for the first time. She had arrived a day ahead to take care of the body, and it was the first time the siblings saw each other after learning that their mother was dead. I look back to this day as the first time I saw all of them as truly human – wrecked and confused. There’s a different sort of terror to dismantling once-reliable myths. I used to believe that families were indestructible, as if people lived forever – but with my grandmother’s passing (and my mother’s, and my grandfather’s), this myth was promptly shattered. Yet despite all that leaving, a part of me still believed you would live forever, whether through black magic, a bedeviled potion, or some kind of talisman. When we came back to that house eight years later to bury my grandfather, they said you’d already passed. I found myself wondering idly how your funeral went – if it was true that in your final hours a big beetle left your body to transfer your “gift” to your closest kin, as the story usually goes. Just one of the many things I will never ever know now.
I spent the rest of that summer getting better – we played siato in the garden and rummaged through my grandfather’s things for old sports gear and other toys. I never saw you again after that night – a part of me didn’t really want to believe that night had been real at all, but how else could you explain a thing like that?
These days, when I ask my aunts, they’d deny anything else that happened that summer, outside of my grandmother dying. They’d deny you, and the stories they told us about you during those TV- and Internet-less weeks. Perhaps they think I’m too old for these sorts of stories; perhaps they’re already too old to remember as well.
On quiet nights, our aunts sat us down and told us stories about you and your kin. They were of varying degrees of absurdity, and I guess that’s just their deliberate way of saying there’s a truth out there that we will never really fully understand.
But when I think about that summer I was nine, it always starts with the silence that falls upon the room that morning you come in, and ends with that stormy night. Perhaps, in a way, you did live forever.
If there’s something true and real about summer though, it would be this: It was a summer of many firsts. I remember arriving in my grandmother’s
H EY YOU | 2 5
PAMAHIIN 101 word s b y A y a Dal um p ine s i llu st r at io ns b y L and o C us i
Planning to build your dream house? Before anything else, take note of these superstitions that have been practiced since pre-colonial times and are still observed today. Theyâ€™re believed to bring good luck to your new home and thereâ€™s no harm in trying.
Coins are buried under the posts of a house being constructed to attract prosperity and good luck.
26 | D WELL
The steps of the stairs are counted in threes - Oro, Plata and Mata which mean Gold, Silver and Death respectively. The topmost step must end up in Oro or Plata for good luck, so the number of steps must not be a multiple of 3.
A chicken or pig is killed as offering or alay, then the blood is scattered all over the site to appease the spirits who live in the land where the house is being erected.
D WELL | 2 7
Before moving on, all the rooms of a newly constructed house are showered with coins to bring prosperity.
28 | D WELL
Rice and salt are brought in upon moving to the new house to have a prosperous life in that house.
Art by Aizle Esdicul
30 | S TO RIES
MONTHS CREATIVES FACTS
To celebrate our first year, we asked some of the creative legends to share twelve things about themselves
STOR IES | 3 1
32 | S TO RIES
Abbey Sy Letterer artistic-dreams.com
1. Every summer, my neighbors & I would organize mini programs (we did plays for Mothers’ Day and Christmas, and a concert as well) to invite our parents to watch - we designed all the invites, directed the plays, made all the props and costumes. We also spent our tween years reading all the girly books and acting out all the lines from the Harry Potter movies (in British accent!). Those were the things that undoubtedly transpired my creativity when I was younger. And until now, I’m super glad we are still best friends. 2. My favorite books are usually categorized under YA: Paper Towns, Looking for Alaska, Slammed, Eleanor & Park and similar titles. I also love David Levithan’s How They Met and Every Day. Currently I’m liking Alain de Botton’s books as well. For art, I usually find interest on self help books on creativity: Steal Like An Artist, Hegarty on Creativity, The Creative License and a bit on productivity like Day-to-Day. I also like browsing sketchbooks of artists, especially works from travelers or urban sketchers such as The Sketching Backpacker by Robert Alejandro. 3. I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I usually prefer ones that involve art, travel, love or music. Some favorites are 500 Days of Summer, Ruby Sparks, The Art of Getting By, Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist, The Fault in Our Stars and Begin Again. (Fact: the OST is always a factor when it comes to movies for me, LOL) 4. Usually, I spend a lot of time looking for inspiration and narrowing down my pegs for a project, then I work from there. I’m pretty vague with structured framework though - sometimes I just do it when inspiration hits at the time. I just make sure not to forget deadlines, because given that I have a day job as well, I can’t afford to sacrifice sleep that much. 5. I work in my attic (side note: this was featured last year in your first issue!), a small nook facing the window. It’s where I can breathe and I get to
spend lots of hours there and efficiently work my way through projects. 6. I admire a lot of artists! Jessica Hische, Anna Bond, Sean Wes, Mary Kate McDevitt, Scott Biersack, Dan Matutina, Raxenne Maniquiz, Valerie Chua. These are just at the top of my mind. 7. I guess my work is done when I step back and take a look at the bigger picture. Sometimes I tell myself “that’s it, no more editing” and I guess instinct always tells me when I’m done with my work - unless the client asks for revisions. 8. My dream travel destination is Paris, in a heartbeat. But anywhere around Europe is ideal for me - the prominence of art, history and (good) food in that continent is amazing. 9. I usually listen to indie songs while working. When I’m really up for it, EDM. But indie or Top 40 on Spotify is usually the default playlist I have. 10. If I were trapped in an island and could only bring 3 things-- pencil, a notebook and an iPod, just cause I can spend hours and hours drawing, writing and listening to music and never run out of ideas. I can live without a phone but not without a notebook! 11. A few months ago, when people told me I was a letterer, I had to still absorb the fact and eventually I try to own up to the title and accept the fact that this is really what I’m meant to be doing. I guess it’s not something you realize until you’re actually doing it already (that’s what happened to me). 12. If I were an art material, I’d be a pencil, because the tough parts of what I’m doing (the sharpening, in a pencil’s case) - learning, honing my skills, and keeping up with everything - help me become better and improve on what I can do. STOR IES | 3 3
1. My favorite childhood memories range from football games, to family trips to Tagaytay or Laguna, or art workshops with Mr. Seña. But what would probably stand out would be my first solo jeepney ride to Antipolo when I was 12.
hero. The same person who made one of my all time favorite films, Exit Through The Gift Shop. Nobody knows, until now, if that award winning film is a real documentary or a fictional movie made up by the mystery-genius artist. Speaking of non-fiction, another film comes to mind, The Cove. It is the movie that got me painting thousands of dolphins and whales all over the country.
2. “The Field Guide to Whales and Dolphins in the Philippines” by Lorenzo “Lory” Tan was my staple hand carried item for my whale and dolphin research trips. Recently, I got hold of a non-fiction book while killing time in a Fully Booked branch. It’s an inside story about the life 34 | of S TO RIES Banksy, a street artist that I consider a social
3. I never had a ritual when I start painting. Because of the nature of my campaign, which is hectic, I get to see the walls once, and for a few minutes, I look at it and then I start sketching without any plans. It comes spontaneously. Brain and hand coordination, as they say, short of saying that my brush decides what happens next.
Mural Artist and Photographer
1. 2. 3. 4. Painting walls all over the country with little time eliminates the privilege of having an artist’s block. But when I paint on canvass or draw on my sketchbook and get an artist’s block, I simply stop and wish that tomorrow would be better. 5. As a painter, I always looked up to my mentor, Mr. Seña. As a Landscape Architect, I learned from my college mentor, National Artist IP Santos. As a mural artist, Diego Rivera and Wyland are my influences. As an advocate, I admire photojournalist Lewis Hine ,filmmaker Ditsi Carolino, and painter Zaldy Arbozo. As a street artist, my idol is Banksy and Shepard Fairey. And I grew up learning concepts and forms from my Godfather Jerusalino Araos. 6. In the case of our Dolphins Love Freedom campaign, I know the work is finished either when the wall is filled up with dolphins or when it is time for me to check in for the flight to my next destination. 7. I have been to many places around the world but I still dream of going to Antarctica and to paint a dolphin while in outer space. 8. If I were trapped in an island, I guess I don’t need to bring anything at all because I consider elements of nature as materials for art creation. But if I still need to identify 3 materials, they would be: sand, stone, and dried vegetation. 9. If, I had a magic lamp, first wish is for my little friend Zack, DLF volunteer Cara, and high school barkada Lovella to be cancer free. Second is for global warming to stop. Third is for Taiji waters to remain blue forever. 10. I don’t really have music that gets me in the mood to work. What I always wish for when I paint in the streets is a sunny day, but it won’t hurt to listen to “Basang Basa Sa Ulan” by Aegis cause it could get you in a serious kick ass loving mood like what it does to “Tolits” in Rak of Aegis. 11. After watching the movie The Cove, I knew I had to contribute to the cause because the dolphin slaughter will continue unless we do something about it, and painting is the most logical thing for me to do. 12. In creating junk art, one can use any found objects, whether biodegradable or not. So if anything can be used as junk art material, then I think what best represents me is a PET bottle cap. To a point, it is strong and firm, but it can be brought far by strong winds by virtue of its lightness, it can roll to far distances, it can sit steady along a river bank, but it can also float and travel down stream and find its way to nowhere and anywhere.
STOR IES | 3 5
36 | S TO RIES
Alessandra Lanot Designer lifeafterbreakfast.ph
1. My favorite childhood memory is when I was 5, I urged my mom to enroll me in art lessons. She found out that one of our neighbors was an art teacher, so she enrolled me in private art lessons every Wednesday. I remember Wednesdays being my favourite day of the week-- when I would spend an hour in my teacher’s house, crafting whatever it was she asked me to make. Aside from painting, she taught me how to draw using pastels, write my name in calligraphy, and hand sew! To Teacher Beth, wherever you are, thank you! 2. I’m such a dork when it comes to movie and book choices. I go for the no-brainer types! I guess it’s also because there’s already so many visual things going on in my head, that it just really wants to ‘defrag’. Oh, and I love comingof-age teen fiction. 3. I don’t have a ritual for crafting. My workspace is mobile! My handbag is always so heavy because I lug around carving blocks, a watercolor set, a sketchpad, and my pencil case every day. They’re like my security blanket, haha! For fear of being unable to create when inspiration strikes, or when I have time to spare. 4. I try to get a good night’s sleep whenever I encounter an artist’s block. Everything will always better in the morning. After breakfast! 5. Beats! My favorites are W Hotel’s music app, or soma.fm’s poptron online playlist. These always gets me in the mood to work. 6. I admire anyone who just keeps doing what they love, without thinking of anyone or anything else. ‘Yung mga gawa lang nang gawa. It’s exactly how artists develop their own voice. The making is no longer just a passion, but a way of life.
more like a designer than an artist, so most of the time, I have a vision already of what I want to make. I don’t always let emotions direct my decisions. 8. My dream travel destination would be in South America. My husband PJ and I were supposed to go there for our honeymoon, but we decided to tour the Philippines first. We went on a two-month trip, and visited all the provinces in the Visayas! 9. If I were trapped in an island and is allowed to bring 3 art materials, I’d bring the following art materials for survival or leisure? haha! Wire screen - to make paper out of plant fibers, box cutter - can act as knife for survival too! and carving tools to make stamps and woodcarvings. Only because I’m so addicted to carving! :P Paint can be made using crushed dried flowers/plants/ stones + egg yolk. Wait, is there a chicken on the island? 10. If I were given a magic lamp, my three 3 wishes would be that one - for every human being truly feel loved, two - that the earth be able to heal herself quickly, even after all the damage humans have done and three, zero corruption in the Philippines, to give each one what is right and just. 11. If I could be an art material, I would be a paint brush. A versatile tool used for spreading color! 12. I realized this was my calling way back during kindergarten graduation. We all had a moment on stage where we introduced ourselves and said “When I grow up, I want to be...” I said “artist”. (It was that or “tindera sa canteen” which was the coolest thing in the eyes of a little girl-- to have access to all those candies! Haha) Thanks to my parents for allowing me to dream and to pursue my dreams!
7. Some people say that their work is finished “when there is nothing left to remove”. I think STOR IES | 3 7
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Anjo Bolarda Artist behance.net/AnjoMucho
1. My favorite childhood memory was the first time I saw Battleball (Go-Q-Choji-Ikkiman), Time Quest (Time Travel Tondekkeman) and Ghost Fighter (Yu Yu Hakusho) on IBC 13. Also the time I started illustrating. 2. Before doing a project or a piece, I usually spend more time not thinking about it hehe. I spend a lot of time, a week or two just to relax, get a massage, watch movies and hangout with artist friends and take my family out for days. I always make sure that I do all the things that would possibly distract me during my creative process--I empty my mind. Surprisingly, after doing all of those things, inspiration and ideas pop in. 3. My working area depends on how big the illustration is. I make big pieces at home, then for small illustrations, I just do work at nearby coffee shops. 4. I prefer noisy and crowded places when doing work, weird to say but it helps me to focus on my work, especially when doing some intricate details in my illustrations. 5. It’s common that most artists get inspired from other artist’s work or project but sometimes I try to inspire my own self, by giving myself challenges to do better and do something different. I always try to get out of myself as an artist. Inspiration comes in different places, it could be an act, a situation, a problem, or an endless search towards the unknown. 6. I look up to my fellow 98B Collaboratory friends, because most of them are artist and curators who are making waves in and out of
the country and I owe them a lot for helping me out in my transition to the contemporary scene. 7. I like reading artist biography and inspirational books, I have Yoshitomo Nara’s Nobody’s Fool book and Icarus Deception by Seth Godin, I also like reading manga, a few of my favorites are by Junji Ito and Shintaro Kago. 8. A Radiohead or Coldplay playlist always gets me in the mood to create. 9. I have a lot of places I dream of visiting, but I don’t really focus on the destination. I met a lot of artist online which I became close and great friends with, I always dream and wanted to spend a year just travelling around visiting and meeting my artist friends. I don’t think much of the place, i just want to see and spend great time with these people on my friends list. 10. If I were trapped in an island and could only bring 3 things--I just need rope, a solar powered electric carving tool (if not possible maybe just the usual carving tools) and glue. 11. If I could be an art material, I would be watercolor... it’s about letting it go and going with the flow. 12. I realized that this was my calling when I understood that this was how I wanted to live. Being an artist is no longer a career, it’s now a lifestyle. It’s not easy to be an artist here in Manila, but I’m confident that it’s the best decision I’ve made for myself, and I’m really happy right now.
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Visual Artist dexfernandez.com
1. My favorite childhood memory is playing around in a construction site with my friends. 2. When I was a kid, I loved Edward Scissorhands, and that was my first Tim Burton film. I simply loved the story and lesson that I got from it. 3. I hang out with my artist friends and we exchange ideas and opinions on many random things. Having beer or coffee with them is like a routine for me before I sit down in my studio. This is my way to become inspired and full of energy. I don’t have any ritual or something, it’s like more of catching up my mood for me to be able to start my work.
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4. My inspiration always comes from small things I see, I experience and I want to experience. Then I will try to dissect the story and make layers of it. I apply a psychedelic approach and juxtapose everything that will relate to the subject. 5. When I have an artist’s block, I open my Instagram and waste my time, or I draw a series of Garapata then post it afterwards. 6. I love Japanese artists like Keechi Tanaami. I love everything in Japan! I’ve been to Tokyo way back in 2008 but it was such a short stay, so I am always dreaming of coming back again and continuing my unfinished adventure.
7. I guess what keeps me going is my goal. ‘Cause I want to become known not just in our country but internationally. I want to prove something that I can’t explain at this moment. So I keep going and doing my stuff. 8. When my work is finished, I sing my favorite song and dance even without music. 9. If I were trapped in an island, I’d need an acidfree sketchbook with waterproof cover and a drawing pen. I think these two are enough. I want to draw my interaction/immersion in the island.
10. If I found a magic lamp, my three wishes would be: one, make me a billionaire so I can fund my favorite charity and because I also want to build a city where all Filipino artists are welcome to stay with free housing, studio, and free meals; two, kill all the corrupt people; and three, give all the unemployed proper jobs. 11. New wave and experimental music are always on my work playlist. I love dance-y music. 12. I love acrylic and that would best represent me as an art material.
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Fozzy Castro - Dayrit Calligrapher thefozzybook.com
1. The first thing that comes to mind when asked of my childhood is when I was thrown off a horse when I was 9 (or 8? I forget). Not profound, life-changing or any of those sentimental moments there, I know. I was happily galloping around Wright Park’s oval when another horse squeezed into the space on my left side. That horse probably thought I was annoying or something, I don’t know, but it somehow decided that I should be rid of. So it clamped its mouth on my left knee and threw me off of the horse I was riding. I landed on a heap somewhere on the grass. I guess I should be thankful that the assailing horse had mind to not dump me in the middle of the track for trampling. My parents thought I’d swear off riding forever. But nuh-uh. I loved it too much. The next time we went up to Baguio, I was up and making horses run again. Bliss. Oh look, we can reflect profoundly on that. Yay, me. 2. My favorite movie is Clueless. My favorite books are Seinlanguage by Jerry Seinfeld and the Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff. What does this tell you about me? Possibly that I’m not all that deep. I live in the now. And I have a penchant for sarcasm and just being true to yourself.
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3. There are some days that are not made for creating or writing. But there are some moments that allow those swimming shadows to pour out into paper. I write them out repeatedly until I find that sweet spot - where everything aligns. I go through so much paper and ink, it’s crazy. There are those miracles that I’m happy upon the first try. More often than not, I’ll have to revisit an idea day after day (and go through more paper ).
4. I don’t think I’d ever be able to function in a clean workspace. I like having my tools within hand’s reach - which really means they’re all over my desk. I always have a notebook near me because there is zero ritual. Ideas and forms usually are just swimming in my head. 5. I get inspiration from almost anything. A word. A song. Because my craft deals with letters, the urge to create is usually triggered by something said (or sung). There’s no deep process to it, really. It can be the most mundane collection of words but if it makes me smile, I’ll write it down. And hopefully, people will like it when I do. 6. Whenever I encounter an artist’s’ block, I drop everything and play with my kids. Or eat a cupcake, brew some coffee, and read a book. Nothing ever comes out of feeling frustrated, so I just learned to let it be and just come back to the pen some other day. 7. There are so many creatives I look up to and admire, Off of the top of my head - Jake Weidmann, John DeCollibus, the ladies of Antiquaria (Emma & Bailey), Melissa Esplin, Molly Jacques, Maybelle Imasa, Seb Lester, Sergey Shapiro, Martina Flor, Guiseppe Salerno, Alejandro Paul, Leigh Reyes, Matt Vergotis, Ricardo Gonzalez, Victoria Rothwell, Laura Hooper. Oh, and Benedict Cumberbatch.
8. At the moment, I want to go back to Six Flags Great America because they’ve just opened the tallest and fastest wooden roller coaster. My tummy is already churning just dreaming about it. 9. If I were given a lamp, my three wishes would be, one - please bring me to all IAMPETH Conferences until the day I die, two - to own a holder hand made by the great Jake Weidmann, three - a loving pitbull. 10. I’m in this meditation-Yogini kind of phase now because I love the music that’s played when I go to yoga class. I’ve recently passed my Celtic/ Gaelic stage but I think I’ll come back to that this week. On a regular rotation? Taylor Swift (yes, I love her ), some easy indie, some 90’s alternative. Oh and always, always: tortuously sad, suicidal music like Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata. Or Death Cab. Or Adele. 11. I realized calligraphy was IT because whenever I did it, I never felt sad. 12. If I were an art material, I’d be an oblique pen. Because I enable people to go on the right angle (or into the path of no return, whichever way you think applies). And because it’s weird and I don’t mind. Did that even make sense? I hope it did.
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Joey Ayala Musician joeyayala.com
1. As a child I wanted to be a drummer. When I saw Ravi Shankar, I went into a trance. When I heard Carlos Santana, I wanted to be a guitar god. When I heard John Mclaughlin, I gave up guitar in shock, then realized it was actually humanly possible to understand what he was doing. When I heard James Taylor, I decided to be a sensitive singer-songwriter. 2. My favorite childhood memory happened when I was about two years old-- my father was playing a guitar and my mother was standing beside him and I am dancing. 3. The library was my refuge from what I felt was boring and irrelevant classroom life. I must have read through the whole mysteryadventure-fantasy collection of my elementary school lib. I still indulge in escapist reading but my taste has expanded to include science, philosophy, psychology... anything to do with life improvement and ways to manage one’s own energies. One of my secret pleasures is digesting a book and figuring out how to pass on its essence in a workshop format or in a song. 4. I have two primary workspaces - a sound room with PC-based recording tech and my accumulation of musical stuff - and a writinginternet-tambay table that features a daybedchair that allows me to go horizontal and stretch legs and back anytime. 5. Anything that catches my attention is a potential spark to a flame, and, when pursued, to a blaze. I get inspired by a line in a book or movie, a news item, a picture, the day’s “mood”... it could be anything. 6. The feeling that I contribute something to the world that transcends what I am as an individual - this keeps me going.
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7. T here’s always something to admire in anyone who engages in some passion-driven activity. I look for this “keystone” in other artists but I don’t really have any “idols”. I admire different people for different things - I use their qualities as a “medicine” for whatever ails me as an artist. When I got tired of performing in the late 90’s I would go and see Noel Cabangon sing like there was no tomorrow. When I’m faced with a musical problem I ask myself “What would Cynthia Alexander do?” When I feel lazy I think of Gary Granada producing so many albums. When I can’t seem to latch on to upcoming music trends I think of Jungee Marcelo’s knack of hitting the nail on the head. Etcetera.. 8. When the deadline arrives, when the client pays, when I run out of energy to make improvements - that’s when I feel that my work is finished. 9. I strive for variety so I really can’t suggest any song representative of my style. My most successful (audience-wise) songs are not “representative”. Examples: Walang Hanggang Paalam, Magkaugnay. 10. I haven’t been to and would like to experience: Thailand, Indonesia, Tibet, Batanes, Tawi-Tawi. Clean places I’ve never been to, I’d like to visit those. 11. If given three wishes, I would wish for perfect health (and teeth); the patience to setup and run a business; three more wishes. 12. The world is content-hungry. Creativity is at a premium. Have fun, expand your creative and technical capabilities, learn to work with others, study and experiment, cross disciplines.
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Mansy Abesamis Crafter, Jewelry Maker, Potter and Papercut Artist mansyabesamis.com
1. I have a lot but my most favorite childhood memory would have to be those of when my siblings, neighbors, and I would play in the streets tagu-taguan, patintero, and bahaybahayan in the province. That’s where we learned to innovate and make our toys instead of buying them.
3. My favorite movie right now is the Secret Life of Walter Mitty! I love the plot, cinematography, characters, and soundtrack. They inspire me and make me want to leave everything behind and just go to the places I’ve been wanting to visit. Can I just say that everything about that movie is perfect?!
2. One of my favorite books is Jobs, the biography of Steve Jobs written by Walter Isaacson. I learned so much about entrepreneurship - the challenges and joys that come with building and running your own company.
4. When I think of an idea that I really like, I get excited and impatient to start doing it right away. I start before the excitement fizzles and other things distract me. I’m happy to have been able get a space I can use as a studio and
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4. venue for my workshops. I like the light-colored walls, sliding glass doors, pocket garden, and of course the fact that it also houses the Hey Kessy Shop. You can visit us at 71B E. Abada St., Loyola Heights, QC. If you want to hold craft workshops or gatherings there, just email us! 5. Although I don’t get to go on out of town trips as often as before, the outdoors and nature are where I get my inspiration from most of the time. My friends’ stories and anecdotes also play a big part in my art process. One time, a friend told me about the research he was doing on mangroves when he was in Pangasinan. The story and his trip inspired me a lot that I made several mangrove papercuts. It’s my way of communicating to them that even if I’m always at the studio or holding workshops on weekends, I care about what’s going in their lives. 6. My mom is my number one inspiration. I admire how she always finds time to exercise her creativity even though she has to take care of her 8 children (yes, we’re a big family!!). Her errands do not stop her from designing her own fabric, making jewelry, and give me encouragement especially when things get too stressful and difficult. 7. Believe it or not, sometimes, my fears keep me going. Some say your fears limit you but I beg to differ. I believe and know that you can use your fear to your advantage. There was a time I stayed in Sagada for the whole summer for
a pottery residency. Dogs were everywhere, and they would really bark and chase after strangers. I had phobia of dogs. So, when I’d go up all by myself to the hill where the pottery studio was, dogs would chase and come after me. I was so scared that my fear had a physical manifestation - my stomach would hurt. I thought that if I let the dogs scare me and stop me from walking, I’d never get to the studio and make pots and plates. My trip would be useless. I knew I’d regret it if I let dogs stop me from becoming a better potter. So, I didn’t. 8. I have two dream travel destinations, Nepal and Tibet. I’m happy I’ve been to the first already. Tibet is my 2015 goal! 9. Three wishes I’d ask from a genie are for me to be able to design book and album covers, to be able to speak at least 5 languages fluently and to have my own pottery studio - complete with a kiln, kickwheel, glazes, and other tools! 10. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack, Ang Bandang Shirley’s Tama na ang Drama album, and any 90’s boy band or Britney song get me in the mood to work. 11. When I started to become a morning person (and not wake up at 12nn) every day just so I could craft longer, that’s when I realized this is my calling. 12. The art material that represents me: washi tape where it all started! STOR IES | 4 7
Freelance Layout Artist, Cartoonist and Photographer googlygooeys.com
1. I really enjoyed playing patintero, piko & bahay-bahayan as a kid. I also remember being fond of pretending to be She-Ra. I actually brought this fuchsia sword I made out of popsicle sticks glued together back in pre-school. 2. I’m not necessarily into books unless they’re a compilation of non-fiction essays. I easily get distracted when I’m reading. *Woops!* I must admit I enjoyed the whole Malcolm Gladwell series and Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants though. I enjoy reading magazines such as Frankie, Time & Glamour UK—I know that’s such an odd mix of magazine titles! I also often find myself staring at pictures and artworks of design books more than actually reading the words. 3. For movies, I really, really like 500 Days of Summer and I love the soundtrack, too! I know it’s been years since it has been shown but I always wish Tom & Summer ended up together. Haha. When I was a kid, I also had a similar go-to movie: My Girl. I watched it so many times and cried each time and watched it again anyway. 4. I’m always inspired by new color combinations and new design elements. Most of the time, my motivation to move to another project or create a new cartoon is to get the chance to mix new colors, elements and props. I’m also excited about being able to learn new things and techniques and finding out how they’ll mix with my current style. 5. I really thought that updating myself with the current artwork styles is always a good way to go around a creative block. However, at certain times, this process proves to be overwhelming more than inspiring. Also, it tends to make my project evolve ceaselessly to the point that I don’t know what I’m supposed to do anymore. 48 | S TO RIES
6. Please don’t judge me as I don’t look like the type who works out seriously but every time I feel like my brain won’t cooperate with me, I attend exercise classes. While my mind is too lazy to function, I can be busy burning all those chocolate calories awayyyyy! Also, an hour of good exercise (and lots of sweat) makes me easily get rid of all those frustrations, self-doubt and negative energy. 7. Doubt can always be crippling. Despite all the torturous thoughts like, “...but I didn’t go to art school” “I can’t do that.” “I’m not as good as her/him.” there’s just this energy from within that pushes me forward because it’s the only brand of happiness I know. I would always tell people who are afraid to pursue their passions that as long as they’re not hurting anyone or anything, they’re free to do whatever makes them happy & fulfilled. 8. My dream destination is the outer space! I really wanted to be an astronaut and I still find myself geeking out on stuff about it thanks to NASA’s Instagram or @Astro_KarenN & @Astro_Reid’s photos on Twitter. I’ve also been wanting to see the Aurora Borealis that I actually dreamt about it! Antarctica is also on my list. I was wishing they have admin jobs for non-scientists just so that my husband and I could join the mission. I’m still hoping to be able to travel to Scandinavia, Iceland, Australia (to meet all my favorite designers whom I all follow on Instagram) before having a child (if fate permits). Locally though, I would really love go to Batanes, Palawan, Tuguegarao, La Union and be able to go back to Pagudpud, Sagada and Mt. Pulag. Oh, I’m sorry. The question only asked for one place, right? Ack. Too late!
9. If I could only bring 3 things to an island.. What!?!?!? I can only bring 3? *Starts thinking about how heavy it is to bring a whole shelf of things.* I would love to bring my laptop, camera & watercolor set. The rest, I’ll just improvise somewhere along the way. 10. My music really depends on what I’m working on. When I’m preparing a stop motion entry, I play the music that I want to pair it with so I can more or less visualize the final output. When I work on wedding invites, I listen to loveydovey songs. When I feel like I’m stuck with the same design, I explore new playlists on 8tracks. I noticed that if I listen to a new song, since the beats and lyrics are unpredictable, I’m able to to experiment with different things. It’s like I’m slowly being pushed out of my comfort zone and I’m suddenly required to think differently. 11. I always loved drawing when I was a kid and instead of sleeping during siesta, I found myself filling up sheets of paper with random drawings. From grade school to college, I would volunteer to decorate bulletin boards. During high school, after applying thrice, I was able to join the school magazine as a cartoonist. But really wanted to take up something that had to do with drawing & math in college. I was initially supposed to pursue Civil Engineering
at another university but my dad convinced me to take up Management Engineering instead. While my resume had all these business-related projects on the outside, most of my roles then were doing layouts via Powerpoint and Excel, creating comics for our organization’s newsletter and eventually becoming the editor-in-chief of our magazine. I explored the corporate world for three years jumping from different roles in marketing, trade marketing & sales. Whichever department I was assigned to, I always found myself editing trade presentations and designing point-of-sale materials. After I said goodbye to the corporate world, I was still doing layouts for the people I used to work with. I just always thought of it as a hobby. However, after a long series of trying to say goodbye and eventually going back to what I’m so passionate about, I realized that the process of creating would always be something I want to be involved with for the rest of my life. 12. It’s so hard to choose a particular art material to represent me because I tend to jump from one medium to another with no fair warning. I guess I’m like confetti because I’m into all sorts of colorful things plus it scares and excites me when I’m being tossed into the unknown. Also, once the party’s over, I enjoy just being in one corner basking in my introverted comfort zone. STOR IES | 4 9
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Tokwa Penaflorida Artist tokwap.tumblr.com
1. I have so many awesome childhood memories, I guess it’s because I’ve always liked looking back. I can be very introspective sometimes that I get stuck at the past. I really believe that childhood life and experiences will determine what you will do in the future - a psychological seed - something like that. Here are three of my favorite memories: A) Me, at the age of 4 or 5, beside my mom while she is painting something. I was painting a still life, my baby mobile, 2 blue bunnies, 2 pink. B) Playing with my action figures inside the murky and muddy canal in front of our house. Toys in soot, dirt, and mud. 3) In the SPED school I went to in elementary, with springs I took off from a broken bed mattress behind one of the school buildings, I managed to attach the giant (everything is gigantic when you’re still a child) springs to my shoes. Jumping around the schoolyard while singing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”. 2. I realized that making art is my calling when I realized I have a passion for telling stories and a problem with articulation. 3. As a kid, I really never had plenty of friends. I was a very difficult boy to be with. So I found friendship in almanacs and encyclopedias. That started my love for books. Beside those two; Our collection of Dr. Seuss books, the whole collection of “The Unexplained”, X-Men comics, Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, Murakami’s “Norwegian Wood”, Salinger’s “Seymour: An Introduction”, Gaiman’s “Smoke and Mirrors”, Lydia Davis’ “Break It Down”, Chabon’s “Mysteries of Pittsburgh”, Hosseini Khaled’s “A thousand Splendid Suns”, Steinbeck’s “The Pearl”. I’m really into children’s books as well. Adarna Publishing House has so many gems. 4. There are so many movies I really like. I like all the animated movies by Studio Ghibli. I like movies that can make me cry-- and it’s very easy to make me cry. 5. There is really no special “ritual” or process I do to prepare in doing art, as long as I have the materials, go na agad, haha. I also don’t have a particular workspace, I work on my bed, on the
floor, in my friends’ house, anywhere. The only important thing is the materials and now that I somehow accumulated (hoarded) a relatively hefty supply of art things, I, most of the time, work in my studio. I’m too lazy to lug so much around. 6. Everything inspires me. Everything can give off a spark of inspiration if you think about it. You just really need to find it and make sure to not let it pass you by. My go-to inspiration bank is always in existing literature. A book, a paragraph, a sentence, a word. Also, music. 7. I really don’t believe in that, the whole “artist’s block” thing. I think it’s an excuse for one’s laziness. Sure, there are days that you really can’t draw a single decent damn thing, or, you are not just as good as you were yesterday. But that shouldn’t stop you from creating art. Push through it. Force yourself, you need to. Break the f*****g wall. Just keep doing what you do. 8. Art. Expression. Coffee. Deadlines. Bills. These keep me going. 9. My work is done when I’ve said what I wanted to say. Of course you’ll feel it’s not enough, but, you just know that you need to stop talking when you already established your point. If you still keep on adding things to what you want to say, you’ll just sound crazy and there is a big chance you’ll lose the message. 10. These places top my “dream destinations” list: Copenhagen. Mongolia, Iceland. Ultimately, I want to live in Batanes. 11. If I were trapped in an island and could only bring 3 art materials, they would be the following: a knife, a lighter, and a pen. You need to be alive to create art, haha. You can always make you own art materials. Cliché but the world is your canvas. Take it literally and it still works. 12. If I found a magic lamp, my three wishes would be - I wish to be your best friend. I wish to have your whole-hearted loyalty. I wish you to be free. Now, friend, make all my wishes come true! STOR IES | 5 1
Valerie Chua Visual Artist valerieannchua.com
1. When I was 5, I spread a rumor that our school’s bahay kubo is haunted, buried underneath is a treasure. I drew a treasure map and showed it to my friends. One of my friends took the map, claimed it has hers and never returned it. The haunted bahay kubo rumor spread briefly. Not really a favorite memory but I grew up making up so many stories like I told people, even my teachers, that I had 12 siblings, that my citizenship was Australian (ode to Animal Planet!), that my parents will pick me up today (I regularly rode a bus), and so on. I don’t understand why people say that children never lie. I lied a lot and kids lie to get what they want, not just as sneaky as how
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grownups do. I had a very unhappy childhood, My parents were never around and I was taken care of by different people and families so I had to construct an ideal world for myself. 2. Haruki Murakami’s Wind Up Bird Chronicle is my favorite book. It’s a really symbolic book for me and I like how it seamlessly skips from mundane to dreamlike. It elicits so many emotions from the reader, from nonchalance, to nostalgia, to nausea. It’s pretty incredible. 3. Fight Club is my favorite movie, so much that I made a 10-page Philo paper about it.
4. My current workspace is a guest room in my parents’ house. Sometimes I sleep in it. It’s a really clean and organized workspace. I’m not allowed to make a mess here so after every session of painting, I clean up, organize and hide all my materials in drawers. My paints are actually stored under the bathroom sink so no one could see them. Over the years I’ve developed the skill to work minimally although it gets frustrating sometimes. I’m just waiting for the turnover of my private studio so hopefully I can finally paint messily to my heart’s content soon. I don’t really have any rituals for work but I just make sure that I start early. It’s easier to work with natural light. 5. I get inspiration from everyday experiences. I don’t really go out of my way to look for inspiration. I think that you can always take whatever that’s in front of you and turn it into something else. On a related note, most of my subject matter deal with women and nature. Those are things that I like looking into. 6. I usually have a sketchbook around and whenever I have a idea, I sketch it out. If I need to produce a finished piece, I always refer to my sketchbook and refine ideas from pre-existing sketches. The nice thing about a sketchbook is that you’ll never run out of ideas because you always have something that you can look back to. You can say that I rarely get artist’s block when it comes to thinking of what to make. Although I do get into a slump occasionally, maybe because of an insecurity or I feel incapable of accomplishing something. If this is your line of work and 100% of your income is from what you make, you can’t afford to be in a slump. I often talk to someone about it, and go back to work in 48 hours. 7. The will to succeed keeps me going! I have this vision of what I want my work to embody and I just want to reach it. I have nothing else to fall back to. This is the only thing that I can do and I’m too afraid to let go of it so I have to make it work. 8. I’m not a huge fan of traveling but I like living in countries for long periods of time. So what I usually do is I work a lot and save enough to
live in another country for a couple of months. For me, you never get to know a country without thoroughly interacting with her people. I’ve always wanted to visit Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway. When I stayed in Fukuoka for a month before, I had a Swedish classmate. His eyes are light crystal blue and you could see all the sections and details in them. It’s mesmerizing. It’s such a small trigger but it was only then that I became interested in a country in Europe. But before going there, I’d like to go to Berlin. When I briefly assisted Erik Jones in NY, he was talking about Berlin and how suitable it is for artists and how shawarma is popular there. I’M SOLD. 9. If I had three wishes from a genie, I won’t ask for anything vague like happiness and world peace. I’d like hectares of land in good places, 2 million dollars, and wisdom. (I secretly want to build a local art school/foundation.) 10. My choice of work music depends. Sometimes really belty music like Sara Bareilles because I love singing and I sing while I work. If I’m tensed, just slow paced music like Japanese acoustic guitar or indie folk like First Aid Kit. Sometimes I pop in an audio book. 11. I never reached an eureka moment. It was very gradual and cyclical but I just went for it because I was getting hired to do work. I stopped a couple of times out of frustration to do other types of work like music (I was part of a band and they were already negotiating with producers and I quit), gallery work, and a desk job in a business, but each time I quit, and just went back to art. I think that one day, you will have to come to terms with the difficulty of your craft. Every field you get into is hard. So you have to ask what kind of suffering are you most willing to take and for me, it’s art. 12. Maybe a sable brush is the tool that best represents me cause I’m valued, soft and delicate and I last a long time if you take care of me and regularly rub me with baby oil. Haha! I’m kidding with the baby oil part but this could make a good pick up line.
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Wiji Lacsamana Freelance Illustrator and Tattooer thecuriousstudio.blogspot.com
1. My favorite childhood memory is a tie between weekends at the beach with my family (while my brother and I play in the water, my mom would be busy making her barbeque and shrimps) and every school day after class, I’d rush out to hang out with my lolo who’d be hanging out in his car and we’d tell stories until it’s time to go home. 2. I love books and movies that make life seem even more beautiful than it already is (despite the issues, which always turn out in the end, to be helpful in making life sweeter ), and in different stages of life, if that makes any sense. I also like characters that like to muse about things a lot - from The Catcher in the Rye, to Lelaina Pierce in Reality Bites. 3. My ‘illustration workspace’ (at least for now) is an area beside my bed, which I arranged according to this feng shui guide I saw online. Sometimes though, I like working more on eating tables - I always feel like the ‘energy flow’ is better there. Having said that, I hope you get a sense that there is no rational method to my ways. My tattoo studio is in a little room that I painted by myself - I painted the walls white and the ceiling, mint green. I spray painted circle stickers in a matte gold shade I love and stuck it onto one wall of the room. I like tattooing in a space that feels calm and cozy, knowing that most tattoo clients are bound to be nervous when getting something done. 4. I’m usually inspired by nature and the things I see whenever I get the chance to travel. Lately though, I’ve been really inspired by a lot of Japanese fiction books - they have a very succinct way of describing situations that are most usually bizarre. 5. When I get an artist’s block, I try not to force it. I stand up, take a walk, listen to more music, watch a movie or read a book and try not to think about it. I feel like my best pieces come out naturally, never forced 6. Sometimes I’ll feel really crappy, like none of my work is really good enough but then I’ll receive a nice little comment or an email from a past client saying they still really like what I did for them and that really, seriously makes my day. And then sometimes, without either a negative or positive emotion, my head envisions a tiny little world that has to be drawn and it happens - sometimes I don’t need to have something keeping me going, it just happens sometimes. But honestly, nothing makes me happier than a nice comment, too. 7. In the world of tattooing, Dyun Depasupil, my mentor, is on the top of creatives I look up to. That man can do no wrong - he can do oriental, watercolor, tribal, anything! I am also very inspired by works of Amanda Wachob, Sasha Unisex and Marcin Aleksander Surowiec. 54 | S TO RIES
8. Where to begin with my dream travel destination! Hawaii, Fiji, Greece, Italy - the dream I have is to be able to travel all the time. 9. My 3 wishes from a genie are boundless creativity, a magic carpet and more compassion in the world! 10. Lately, I’ve been really into classical stuff Eric Satie, Philip Glass, Debussy, Chopin. I feel really productive when I listen to these. Otherwise my staples for painting/illustrating would be Radiohead, Bon Iver, Bjork, Alt-J. 11. Drawing is something I’ve been doing as early as I remember. I remember one day, when I was a kid, while drawing, thinking that it would be awesome if I could just do this all
day everyday. I never had the notion that you could just draw for a living! I only realized this waaaay after college, after trying out so many jobs that I guess did not suit me. As for tattooing - well one day a friend of ours wanted all his friends to tattoo him on his birthday and so we did. I tattooed a scrawny little twitterlike bird on him. That night I couldn’t sleep - to put it simply, I was stoked. I fell in love with the craft of tattooing from that day on. 12. Watercolors best represent me, I suppose. Because it’s a rather ‘free’ medium - you will never know what you will precisely get and that you know that there will be imperfections, for sure. And I like that. I don’t like perfection, I like ease and flow. STOR IES | 5 5
OT HE RWO RL D LY EX P LOR ATIONS We chat w it h M y t h sp a c e l e a d w r ite r a n d co-cr e a to r , Pao lo C hik ia mco , about the fa m o us c o m i c se r ie s .
What is Mythspace about? Mythspace is a series of stories set in a shared universe, a space opera that uses Philippine folklore creatures as the basis of alien civilizations. In such a universe, those aliens, in turn, became the basis of our folklore creatures. What inspired you to start this series? I’ve always found Philippine folklore to be both interesting and under-appreciated. The mythologies and monsters of other cultures remain in the forefront of culture because of their utilization and re-invention in pop culture - think of the Percy Jackson books and Greek Gods, or the many iterations of Thor and Loki from Norse mythology - and I wanted to do the same with our folklore, but in an unexpected genre which I also happened to love. Then Koi Carreon and the rest of what became Team Mythspace approached me with the idea to do a science fiction anthology, and I asked them if they’d like to set those stories in this universe, and they agreed.
What do you hope to accomplish with the series? A space adventure that is grounded in Philippine culture, something that entertains while enticing readers, Filipino or not, to learn more about our folklore. I think it would appeal to readers who enjoy space opera, readers who enjoy Philippine mythology, and readers who enjoy good comics. How do you define success in what you’re doing? For so long as my collaborators and I continue to believe this is something worth doing, a story worth telling - that’s a success. If we have that, everything else is a bonus - without it, nothing else matters. What was the most important lesson you’ve learned from this venture? How lucky I am to be working with these artists Koi Carreon, Cristina Chua, Jules Gregorio, Mico Dimagiba, Paul Quiroga, and Borg Sinaban. All of us on Team Mythspace are part of a comics studio called Studio Salimbal. You can read our webcomics and learn about new releases at SalimbalComics.com or join our mailing list.
How did you get to know about these myths/legends? Mostly from classmates at school, the basics at least. A few campy horror flicks. But my main exposure to them really came from Arnold Arre’s Mythology Class comic (the original four-issue rin).
Mythspace volume 1 is being published in print by Visprint and will be relased sometime in November. Before then, you can get the digital issues from Buqo, Flipreads, or our Gumroad account at gumroad.com/studiosalimbal.
Why local myths? Because they’re the closest I have to my own, even if I’m always engaging with these stories at arms-length.
i n ter v i ew b y A n dre a D e la Cru z p h otos f r om S tu dio Salimbal
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SALIMBAL COMICS The people behind this Philippine-based comics studio, named after an otherworldly, heaven-bound ship from Bukidnon mythology, are also considered legends in the Filipino comics scene, with the likes of Paolo Chikiamco, Elbert Or and Budjette Tan pushing the studio’s goals: To create comics, to create a community, and to do so “creatively, coherently, consistently.” According to Salimbal, the mythical ship is representative of the unique and wonderful nature of the myriad of Filipino myths. “As a studio, we aspire for that uniqueness and wonder and draw inspiration from our cultural heritage,” Salimbal says. It is also no coincidence that the journeys of Salimbal the otherworldly vessel and Salimbal the comics studio are equally magical, as the Salimbal also symbolizes the studio’s desire to transport readers to new, fantastic realms beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings. All aboard: salimbalcomics.com & facebook.com/studiosalimbal
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CHILLS AND THRILLS Award-winning writer Eliza Victoria shares her favorite local reads.
Let us start with the caveats: 1) I focused on local books with non-realist (fantasy/horror/science fiction) elements; 2) I did not include books where I am a contributor; and 3) I am behind on my reading, so if I fail to mention a book that you absolutely loved but I haven’t read yet, I sincerely apologize and will try to do better! That said, here is my list (in chronological order ) of ten recommended books to keep you company during these cold, gloomy, ghost-infested months. Are you ready?
Waking the Dead and Other Horror Stories (Anvil Publishing, 2009) Yvette Tan Branding a story as “horror” is a promise, and the promise can set a storyteller (writer, filmmaker ) up for failure. You’ll have to contend with consumer expectations. If you promise me horror, you better make sure I will be scared, or at the very least, creeped out. BUT I have realized that most stories that stop people from going to the bathroom in the middle of the night do not scare me. (And the stories that people find boring are the ones that won’t let me sleep.) I’ve been disappointed so many times with stories that purport to be horror but bore me to tears, so I stop expecting to be scared. All I hope for is solid storytelling and beautiful language. Walking the Dead did not creep me out, but the stories made me sad, thoughtful, excited. They evoked a response, and they kept me reading. “Delivering the Goods”, which features a gruesome way of delivering products, stayed with me the longest. I loved the confidence in the voice, the subtle horror, the sadness. I wanted to know more about the main character. I’m still thinking of him now.
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This book kept me cozy as I read in my favorite place - in my bed, under the sheets. That’s good enough for me. Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan (Visprint, 2010) Bob Ong Tuesday, March 2, 1999 8:58 am. Kagigising ko lang. May mga ginupit sa ‘king buhok na ipinatong sa kama ko at pinalibutan ng mga butil ng asin. Hindi magbibiro ng ganito sila Niko. The novel, written diary-style, doles out the horror in small parcels, hiding them in college-guy antics: he dreams of a woman in black, wakes up at three in the morning, hears the phone ringing but no one answers on the other end. He shrugs, forgets about these things, writes rap lyrics, whines about his love life, his life, the endless boredom. Then you get an entry like the one above. Excellent pacing. Crime-Fighting Call Center Agents (Kowtow Komiks, 2011) Art by AJ Bernardo Story by Noel Pascual Noel and AJ move the call center agent (overworked, forced to affect an accent and pretend they are from another nation) away from the office cubicle and into the center of…crazy stuff. Adventure is juxtaposed with mundane concerns like team building sessions. Go check this series out if you haven’t already. We Bury the Landscape (Queen’s Ferry Press, 2012) Kristine Ong Muslim What can you do with a couple hundred words? Create worlds, present dreams, crush a heart – a lot, in short, and you need only look at Kristine Ong Muslim’s remarkable collection of ekphrastic micro
pieces. Each short fiction/prose poem/dream element is based on a work of art, and this makes for a great reading experience. Read the words first and view the art in a different light; see the art first and realize how rich the words become. Some pieces are complete narratives, others have no plot but evoke atmosphere and emotion. My favorite is “What Better Lure” based on a De Chirico painting, which begins, “A man in a gray suit watches his future unroll”, and ends in hope or regret, depending on how you see it. Lauriat: A Filipino-Chinese Speculative Fiction Anthology (Lethe Press, 2012) edited by Charles Tan I enjoyed the stories in this anthology, with Kristine Ong Muslim’s “Chinese Zodiac” (a series of flash fiction pieces directly or indirectly connected to each sign of the Chinese Zodiac) and Crystal Koo’s “The Perpetual Day” (a story of a Binondo that literally cannot sleep) as my definite favorites. These are the stories that I wanted to discuss with everyone immediately after I read them.
injecting a truly Filipino spirit to the Western tropes of the space opera. Kapitan Bayaran (self-published, 2013) Story by Joanne Cesario Art by Michelle Bacabac Albert wakes up one day and discovers he can read minds. He decides to make a business out of it. The premise intrigued me so much that it was the first comic book I picked up at the Komikon Indie Tiangge at the 2013 Komikon. I loved it. Seamless storyboarding, with art that fits the story’s tone. The humor is matter-of-fact and good-natured, with an air of – dare I say it? – innocence? Like how young boys talk to each other: everything matters but nothing matters, because it will all turn out for the better. The creators found a beautiful heartwarming way to close the story, so effective that the final panels made me smile, nostalgic for UP and college and that time in your life when all you need to be happy is to be able to go back home after a grueling semester. (Oh my God, I am getting old.)
There are a lot of weird/horror tales in this collection. Other stories that I liked: Andrew Drilon’s “Two Women Worth Watching”, Isabel Yap’s “Pure”, Tin Lao’s “Dimsum”, Fidelis Tan’s “The Stranger at my Grandmother’s Wake”, and Erin Chupeco’s “Ho-We”. Mythspace (Rocket Kapre, 2012) Paolo Chikiamco with various artists What else can you say about the monsters of Philippine folklore? How else to make their tales fresh, push the envelope, how else to make them exciting? Paolo Chikiamco asked these questions (maybe?) and came up with the perfect answer: bring the aswang to space. The premise opens up so many possibilities,
Abangan: The Best Philippine Komiks 2014 (Visprint, 2014) Series editors: by Rob Cham, Adam David, Carljoe Javier, Elbert Or Every time I enter the halls of Komikon I get overwhelmed by the sheer number of stories that are being sold at the tables. I wouldn’t even know where to start. I couldn’t stay at one table for too long because 1) that would cause a gridlock; and 2) I get weirded out by the creators’ eyes tracking me. Admit it, it happens! I don’t want to be guilt-tripped into buying a copy — which leads us to 3) I wouldn’t have minded being guilt-tripped into buying something, but I am not made of money.
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The best I could do was walk like a somnambulist, like a visitor at an art gallery, and look at the covers. In the end, I usually end up at the big publishers’ tables (like Visprint), or I just ask friends what I should buy. Abangan is a good place to start. It is a generous collection of samples and full strips from our local comics creators. It has its shortcomings, which Charles Tan talks about here (insert link: http://charles-tan. blogspot.com/2014/04/comic-review-abangan-bestphilippine.html), and I felt a bit sad that the hilarious Dead Balagtas strips by Emiliana Kampilan are reprinted here in English (I read her in Filipino) and without the historical annotations, but I think it is still a worthy buy. I was astounded by Sixty-Six by Russell Molina and Ian Sta. Maria, Borderline by Bong Redila, and Blue Dusk by Mica Agregado. There are truly exciting works in this volume (Para Fierra, Wingnaut, Windmills, Manix Abrera’s silent Diwata, etc etc), and I hope there will be a follow up. Sad comics for dirty lovers (self-published, 2014) Rob Cham with various collaborators I admire Rob Cham’s art and his snarky humor (see: Stories), but this is a breakup volume. The stories are contemplative and quiet (save for a couple of sections of comic relief ), more resigned than sad. My absolute favorite is “Beehive Heart”, written by poet Petra Magno. Doesn’t the image evoked already make you quiver? A stunning, inventive use of metaphor. Tabi Po (Visprint, 2014) Story & Art by Mervin Malonzo I remember when I first read the webcomic I was stunned by the quality of the art and the writing. And the art. Have you seen Mervin’s art for Tabi Po? I am 60 | S TO RIES
glad the story, now in print, will be able to reach a wider audience locally. (I don’t have the numbers, but speaking from personal experience, my titles sell more as print copies than as ebooks.) A knowledge of Rizal’s Noli and Fili will enrich your reading experience (especially when you get to the prose part at the end of Isyu 1 – it is like a nudge and wink from the creator ), but even without knowing Rizal, this is still an immersive story, tackling the origin of the aswang, and life during 19th century Philippines under the Spanish regime. Mervin does not shy away graphic depictions of murder, abuse, and other base exploits. The monster – in its truest sense, in its figurative sense – is front and center here.
Art by Mark Joseph Alboleras
CHARMED Our resident fashion illustrator, Carla Chua, bewitches us with her modernized Halloween-inspired outfits.
A classic jumpsuit with bold prints is definitely an enchanting standout piece. The sunglasses add a mysterious air. (Imagine wearing red contacts underneath!)
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Striped socks or leggings look whimsical and Burtonesque, especially when paired with skirts. Anything with cats just makes this outfit more adorable.
Wear a tunic and black leggings and black boots for a simple monochromatic look. You can wear your hair in braids like Wednesday Adams, or sleek and straight.
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BEASTIARY A n d r e a S e n g a d r a w s ima gina r y b e a s ts a nd cr e a tur e s o f lo r e .
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BAKUNAWA It is said that every month, a dragon would rise from the sea and devour the moon. This dragon which would swallow the moon when it was full and then go back to the sea until a new one rises.
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HIPPOCAMPUS It has the head and forelegs of a horse and the tail of a fish. Think of an over-grown seahorse. This creature was said to be used as the steed of merpeople.
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K APPA This is a Japanese water-demon, known to play tricks on travellers, and sometimes eat them. Its weakness is losing the water in the hollow found on the top of its head by making it bow down.
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QILIN Known as the the Asian unicorn, it is a creature revered by Asians as seeing one signals the death or coming of a prominent ruler. It also signifies prosperity and serenity.
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SIGBIN The sigbin is a nocturnal creature which sucks blood of victims through their shadows, and can become invisible to human eyes. It is kept as a pet by Aswangs, though there are certain humans that have power to control such creature.
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OF MYTHS AND MAGIC as t o l d to A n d r ea d el a C r u z
We talk to two artists who share a common passion for our local folktales and mythical creatures
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KHANDIE FERRAREZ I am a Community Fundraiser for the Philippine Christian Foundation (PCF). In my free time, I paint and create works of art. I have a stall at the Legazpi Sunday Market every week from 8 am to 2 pm. I sell my work there, do custom artworks and paintings for special clients. Before I got my job at PCF, I taught art to the children of Rabbi Yosef Levy of the Chabbad Lubavich. I also used to be a Filipino Komiks writer and cartoonist. My art style wasn’t very popular back then in the 90’s, so I was known for my “tapusan” short stories, cartoon strips and children’s comics. Being the eldest of three children to both artist parents, we were introduced to art at a very young age. I started painting and drawing before I learned to walk... that’s what my parents said. Unlike most who drew in the traditional Filipino style, I developed my own style inspired by my favorite artists, Gustav Klimnt and Frank Frazetta. Mythology, fantasy and even horror give me the inspiration for my art. The intricate designs, bold colors and metallic
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gilding you see in my art, is also influenced by the exotic Asian art style. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, when anime was introduced to the Philippines, I began to incorporate the style into my art as well. I think my earliest memories of childhood that inspired me to create my work was the bronze statue of the Sarimanok my mom brought home from her trip to Mindanao. Looking at the detailed and elaborate designs, it gave me the inspiration to start drawing animals and people with intricate swirling and curving lines. The most wonderful moment of my art awakening was when the Egyptian exhibit was brought to the Philippines during the 70’s. My parents took us to see the exhibit. Their artistic style fascinated me and as I grew older, I tried to learn more about it. The themes of my artwork come from Filipino folklore and Mythology. My inspiration also comes from my local surroundings, such as nature and tribal cloth patterns.
The books by Anne McCaffrey of The Dragons of Pern trilogies are my favorites. I’ve read them all, not just once but a lot of times. I also read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Hobbit back in high school and it made a big impact on my art, too. The Star Wars Saga movies are also my favorites, and Isaac Asimov’s science fiction short stories. Howard Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Stephen King and Ann Rice horror novels are my “dark” inspiration when I paint Goth-style works. Things that inspire me are mermaids, beautiful women dressed up in exotic costumes and jewelry, antique statues, old houses and gardens of ornamental plants. My favorite local artist is Juan Luna - I love the way he paints women’s faces. The main subject of a painting always excites me during the working process; I draw it first and put the background around it. Most artists make lots of studies before doing the obra maestra, I just proceed with the sketch and colors while an idea or inspiration is still fresh in my head.
When I’m really inspired I can make 2 paintings in a day; alternating my time with each as I wait for one to dry up. My favorite medium is acrylic and I embellish it with gold leaf and faux jewels. Never be afraid to try out new styles and materials. If people criticize your work, be thankful, it means they notice you... it’s a good sign! My parents were my first critics; they said my anime-like work will never be appreciated. But times change and now, everyone seems to love the big-eyed characters I create. Get your mind out of the box, that’s how you will evolve your style. Accept your craziness!
(You can check Khandie’s work at her Facebook page: facebook.com/Khandies-Art-Studio or visit her at the Legazpi Sunday Bazaar in Makati)
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Tell us about yourself and what you do. I’m an independent children’s book illustrator. I have illustrated over forty books since 1993. I earned my degree in BFA painting from the UP College of Fine Arts and I do my illustrations on our dining table, between meals. I’m also a stay-at-home mom. I have two teenage girls who are partially homeschooled so I teach them stuff like how to wash dishes and how to find the value of x. Have you always been interested in art? What started your interest? As a child, I thought that learning how to draw is as normal as learning how to read or write because my older siblings were pretty good at it. So, basically, I became interested in art because of them. Back then, we didn’t have many store-bought toys. What we had were our talent and imagination. To amuse ourselves, we made colored paper dolls and clothes for them. We turned our house into a big community of paper dolls on weekends. Even my two brothers had their own “bachelor” paper dolls, and we seven girls owned a family of paper dolls each - complete with a mom, a dad, and at least two kids. We drew roads and interior of houses for our dolls on the floor using white chalks. For our dolls’ furniture, we used empty soap, match and toothpaste boxes and bottle caps. For cars, we made them ride in our school shoes. Then there was my father, a writer who writes on weekends. I remember observing him glued to his typewriter creating fiction, poetry and plays. I guess
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I learned from this experience that it is OK to lose oneself in your art. It’s OK to create something for hours on end without distractions. Do you have any unforgettable childhood memories related to creating/making art? When I was in Grade 1, our teacher instructed us to draw a coconut shell or bao. So I drew one. My teacher, Mrs. Javier, was so impressed with my drawing that she showed it to the whole class. The next thing I knew, my classmates has already formed a line, waiting for their turn so I can draw each one of them a bao. Yes, I started drawing for children when I was seven. What makes your art distinctly Pinoy? In book making, you always start with a story. And most of the stories assigned to me by my publishers happen to be Pinoy. My first book was about a jeepney. I did series on folktale heroes namely, Pilandok and Carancal. I also illustrated books about the tikbalang, the tiyanak, an ampalaya , a carabao, kawayan, etc. So, I think, the stories took care of that part. I didn’t have to try too hard. How do you go about with the process of creating each book? As illustrator, my job is to interpret the story. Therefore, it is crucial that I really “get it.” First, I do research for definition or back-story of terms like, for example, busaw , binukot or bahura, and images for things like puno ng kalumpang or salabay.
Next, I create several character studies. Then I do the thumbnails or storyboard. Then I make a book dummy in pencil. At this stage, I show the dummy to the publisher for feedback. After everything has been approved, I start sketching the final art. I trace these sketches on watercolor paper using a light box. Then I paint each of the spreads. Illustrating a 32-pager book can take two to six months. What’s your favorite part in making a book, and which part is the most challenging? My favorite and most challenging part in illustrating a book is creating character studies. It’s when you try to turn WORDS into PICTURES. I love it when authors give me a free hand in visualizing the characters. For example, the author of Carancal (Filipino equivalent of Thumbelina), Rene O. Villanueva, described the hero in the story as “an unusual child who was only as tall as the span of a hand.” And that’s it. From this very short description, I was free to create a visual representation of Carancal using my imagination. What local myths/folklore do you love? I love the tale of Mariang Makiling not just because of the story per se, but also, because of the way it was introduced to me as a child. I first encountered the story of Maria when I was in Grade 3. Our teacher told us the story in a series. Before we go home each day, she will tell us a part of the story and when it gets to be exciting, she will then announce that it’s enough
for the day. So we go home thinking about Maria and the many possibilities that might happen in her story. We were excited to go to class the following day because we want to know what’s gonna happen next. Did the books you read growing up inspire you to create art or are you more influenced by tales from your lola/lolo or tv shows? I grew up in a household with no TV. And no children’s books either. The first paperback that I ever read as a child was “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, and I don’t think that will count as an inspiration to create art for kids, ha ha! But we had a radio set and we religiously listened to radio shows like Gabi ng Lagim, Lambana, Simatar, etc. These shows were full of kababalaghan. Gabi ng Lagim stories were about Pinoy mythological characters like the kapre, nuno sa punso, tiyanak, manananggal, aswang, etc. plus a few multo or ghosts and duwendes. Lambana was about fairies. While Simatar is the story of a prince in hiding whose BFF is a witch, named Eng-eng. Then on weekends or holidays, we spent a great deal of time listening to impromptu stories my father specially composed for us. In those stories, we became the characters who get to ride the white winged horse that reached the peak of the seventh mountain or the heroes who had defeated the three-headed giant and the foul-smelling Kapre. Can you share with us your favorite books (could even be a book for kids) and your recent favorite reads/authors? I love reading! I have many favorites but the most
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recent is “Si Janus Silang at ang Tiyanak ng Tabon” by Edgar Samar (I think you should interview him for this issue, haha!). Recent reads are “The Anansi Boys” and “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman, copies I borrowed from my daughter. And right now I’m reading “The Black Book” by Orhan Pamuk.
why for me, as a child, Tiyanak is more difficult to handle because you’ll never know if you’re dealing with an unfortunate child who needs your help or the devil himself. Aside from the belief that Tiyanaks target kids and are known to mislead them when they are alone.
You’ve illustrated several children’s books featuring otherworldly creatures from Pinoy folklore, like “May Tiyanak Sa Loob Ng Aking Bag” and “Ang Tikbalang Kung Kabilugan ng Buwan”. Can you tell us more about your process when you worked on these books? I didn’t need Google for “Ang Tikbalang kung Kabilugan ng Buwan” because all the images of the creatures were neatly filed inside my head. But I had to cross-reference my “files” with those of my big brother’s. Just to be sure. I consider him more knowledgeable when it comes to mga lamang lupa. So when I emailed him asking if my own descriptions of the creatures were correct, he sent me his own drawings complete with notes re: the different styles of “pananakot” by each creature.
What’s your favorite book that you’ve illustrated? I love the first two books of Carancal series – “Carancal Ang Bayaning Isang Dangkal”and “Si Carancal Laban sa Lindol.” They are different from what I have done before. I experimented with a new way of painting with watercolor, which I called “lampin lift.” I used damp lampin cloth (reusable baby diapers) to lift thick dry paints from the paper to create interesting texture. I had a great time creating the characters in those books, especially the villains, Higante and the Baboy Ramo. I also like how the pages turned out: minimalist, yet dynamic and colorful.
But the real challenge for me in creating this book is its irony: the characters are known to be scary and harmful and yet the theme of the book is about friendship. I solved the problem by making the creatures less scary. I gave them costumes that were fun (e.g. polka-dotted boxers for Tikbalang). I made the creatures’ eyes round and “friendly.” And I created a background that is open and calm. On “May Tiyanak sa Loob ng Aking Bag”: I accepted the project because it is a collection of Filipino Poetry and I like to promote this genre among Pinoy kids. Again, I just plucked the image of the Tiyanak from my imagination. But I was mindful not to make the image too scary. So I made it chubby-chubby and cuddly except for its fangs. Then I painted from life the black and red backpack of my daughter to represent the bag. To create the rest of the illustrations, I used references and combined them with my imagination. Do you have a local mythological creature that is a source of fascination for you? It’s the Tiyanak. Actually, It’s not a source of fascination but rather a source of terror for me when I was a kid. Because a Tiyanak is deceiving. Doble cara. Children are not good at gray areas and I think that’s 78 | PHENO M
What’s your favorite medium when making art? Watercolor is what I’m most comfortable in. What are the things that inspire you? Great works of art. It doesn’t matter if it’s a painting, an illustration, a story, a poem or a film. Who are the local artists who inspire you? When I “grow up” I want to be Sergio Bumatay III, Beth Parrocha-Doctolero, Robert Alejandro, or Jomike Tejido. What are you working on at the moment? I’m working on a 64 pages children’s book for Tuttle Publishing in the U.S. side by side with an oil painting commissioned by a client from Mindanao. Any dream projects? I want to write and illustrate a book about my childhood. Do you have any tips or inspiring words for Katha readers? Find THAT thing that you really, really want to do. Then Do it. Stick to it.
See more of Kora’s work on corazondandan-albano. blogspot.com or facebook.com/kora.albano.
Step into Sab Palmaresâ€™ enchanting world and meet some fascinating new characters.
When you got get stuck alone anywhere and in need of company, Wilson is the guy to call. He lets you do the talking and he just listens... he doesnâ€™t really speak.
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A musician wanderer whom black cats love. When she starts to play her blue guitar, all black cats were summoned to watch her street sessions.
Miss Thimble Cap
A red door seems to be akin of going off on adventures. The door lets you inside if he finds you likeable and takes you where you want to go. Knock 3 times and tell him where you need to be.
A small friend who loves to mend your stockingâ€™s holes. Leave a button atop your socks at night and it will be repaired by morning. She is rather shy and rarely you would see her working.
STOR IES | 8 1
Book Vault Handler
If you you have an intimate relationship with books, you should meet the the man who holds the key to a vault full of all the books ever published. Search him in the library.
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A green creature whose physique is near platypus and duck. He loves cucumber and would usually steal it. But if you caught him on act, he will give you a golden penny in exchange.
Nothing much about her except she is lucky. Everything goes in her favor. She uses her lucky streaks to extend it to the unlucky ones.
If you find yourself on a dark street at night, have no fear, the light watch will light the way. A blue-almost-flamingo-looking bird with a light bulb as its beak, this creature is in demand at night.
STOR IES | 8 3
IN THE KEY OF (MR.) MC
Anna Graham takes gives us a peek into the life of an OPM Legend, the Maestro Ryan Cayabyab. w o r d s Anna G r aham
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p h otos b y R y a n C a y a b y a b a n d Ka th er i n e T i u s ec o
When the three letters, O-P-M are mentioned, you’re sure to get a long list of beautiful songs, both old and new. But we can all agree that when we talk about the Golden Era of OPM, we would be referring to the music of the 70’s to 80’s. A few of the songs that really marked this era would be “Kailan”, “Tuwing Umuulan at Kapiling Ka”, “Paraiso”, “Kahit Ika’y Panaginip Lang”, “Araw Gabi” and “Tunay na Ligaya”, all of which were composed by the great Maestro Raymundo Cipriano Pujante Cayabyab, who is known to many as Ryan Cayabyab but to music industry, he is Mr. C. I am extremely lucky to have been given the chance to work with Mr. C for several projects. And even though he is the father of one of my best friends, I still find myself starstruck whenever he enters the room. When I was asked to write about a Filipino musical legend, I happily jumped at this rare opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the Maestro. Ryan Cayabyab’s life played out such that he naturally became a full-time musician. While taking up Business Administration at U.P. Diliman, he accepted work as a pianist and as an arranger. He didn’t realize that what he thought was a hobby was actually already “work” until he received his first paycheck. He supported himself through college with his work until he received a scholarship for music. Mr. C shares that the greatest joy in being a musician, a pianist, and accompanist is that playing music, doing music and entertaining people doesn’t feel like work at all. You just enjoy it. Even today, that’s how he feels. “The best part of being a musician is giving joy to people, at the same time enjoying it.
Maybe a lot of people don’t know but most musicians really enjoy their work.” He shares that the secret in having a profession in music is pushing yourself to work harder than others. He says there are a lot of talented musicians in the country, but some may not understand the big picture, or how to situate themselves in the industry. “You have to understand what rehearsals are all about, you have to understand why you need to work harder. To be at the top of your field, you have to know yourself, You have to know what you can do and you have to really know what to aspire for.” His mother told his father not to allow any of their children to pursue music as a career. And Mr. C understands why - because a musician’s life is really hard. There are some people who make it, there are some who don’t, and it’s really how one situates himself, how hard one dedicates his time and effort into his music. One has to see the bigger picture. This, he shares, also includes studying music. Especially for session musicians - if they know how to read notes, they will be able to play any piece of music that they’ll be given on the spot. Studying music does not necessarily mean having to study it as a full length college course. Study your craft, your instrument, your music. It’s good for a musician to be able to read notes, because it really is an international language. Anywhere in the world, it’s the same notes, it’s the same chords. Musicians have to learn and study, more so now that information is widely available on the internet. “A person who studies will also widen his scope of understanding of what this is all about. Hindi lang yung music niya. What is this all about? That is the most important thing.”
STOR IES | 8 5
Mr. C’s Top 3 Songs When asked to list his three favorite songs that he composed, he says that these three are not what he would label his favorite, but significant in his career. 1. Kay Ganda ng Ating Musika This marked the turning point in his life as a musician. Before this song, he was not a composer and this was only the second pop song that he had written at that time. Surprisingly, he shares that songwriting was not part of his plan and that he was more of an arranger. This song won first prize in the first Metropop Competition. 2. Kahit Ika’y Panaginip Lang He includes this song performed by Basil valdez because it stretched his abilities as a composer. “I did not realize I could write a song like that”, he shares. 3.
Kailan “Hindi ko rin inakala na makakasulat ako ng ganung kanta.” This song was the hit song of his group Smokey Mountain.
“The high as a composer is when people know your songs and sing your songs. That’s the high. Winning competitions or awards are just a bonus. As a musician it would be performing with many different types of performers, and enjoying it, and getting to travel for free.” Some of his most memorable experiences include being able to perform for royalty, like the King of Morocco, the Queen of Netherlands, the King and Queen of Spain. He was also able to perform for Bill Clinton in Boston. He proudly shares that he also performed in the same show as Frank Sinatra when he came to the Philippines. In the 1980’s he was the musical director of Pilita Corales, and they were performing two shows a night in Las Vegas with Sammy Davis. He joyfully shares how he would nap in between shows in the dressing room, and Sammy Davis would say, “Wake up, Fingers”. He liked the idea that he was given a nickname by the famous Sammy Davis.
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Another memorable experience would be the recent Papal Award Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice that he received last December for the body of sacred music that he has composed, which include numerous choral pieces, six congregational masses, two latin masses, sacred songs, psalms, and three musicals with religious themes- “Magnificat”, “Ang Birhen ng Caysasay” and “Lorenzo”. The award is the highest medal that is awarded by the Catholic Papacy for distinguished service to the church. I ask who he thinks are the young Filipino composers and musicians that will make a significant mark in OPM today and he quickly answers, “Gerard Salonga. I have never seen anyone so passionate and intelligent. He really has what it takes.” He also mentions composers Jungee Marcelo, Toto Sorioso, Von de Guzman, Jessie Lucas, Vince de Jesus; musicians and arrangers Marvin Querido and Mark Lopez; musicians Dingdong Fiel, Rony Fortich and Jay Durias. He notes Ogie Alcasid, Odette Quesada, Cecile Azarcon, and Soc Villanueva who are already big names in the songwriting field. He also mentions singer-songwriters Armi Millare of Up Dharma Down, Gabby Alipe of Urbandub, Ebe Dancel of Sugarfree. “These are really passionate musicians doing their jobs. And pinapanindigan nila yung work nila. Ang galing.” He also talked about his admiration for Noel Cabangon, who he says is not just a great songwriter, but also such a great singer and interpreter. “The reason they stand out is because they really focus on their work. Hindi lang hilig eh, it really takes intelligence and passion.” He mentions Mel villena and his passion for big band jazz. “Kanyakanyang kaharian yan. Si Mel sa big band, si Gerard sa orchestra, etc.” Every year, they hold the Elements Music Camp in Dumaguete where they always find a dozen or two talented songwriters. He mentions Bullet Dumas from Tacloban who’s really making a name for himself, Maan Chua from Davao who has been consistently winning competitions, and Jun Guitamondoc from Cebu. He shares that he’s happy that there are so many talented budding singer-songwriters not just from Manila, but all over the nation.
5 Things (not Related to Music) that People may not Know About the Maestro When asked to list his three favorite songs that he 1. He’s a foodie. “It shows in my tweets and posts. Mahilig talaga ako kumain. I really go out and try to have food session with friends or my family.” 2. He used to draw and paint a lot before. A lot of people don’t know that HE LOVES TO DOODLE! Family and friends who see him doodle always ask to keep them after. “Kina-career ko talaga yung buong page!” 3. He doesn’t know what it is, but there was a time when he kept buying glassware. He now has a collection of wine, champagne, beer, water glasses and water goblets. He likes to use them when people come over. 4. He hoards bags where he puts his music pieces or to use for short trips. Most of them are backpacks, the others are huge messenger bags. The reason why he has so many bags? “Kasi tinatamad ako magtanggal ng mga piyesa for certain projects. So each project has one bag. But now that I’ve removed them and put them in my files, sobrang dami ko nang bags.”
What’s a legend like Ryan Cayabyab’s advice to budding musicians? “Study. Educate yourself. If you can’t afford to go to a school, educate yourself. Study via internet, There are so many things you can learn. But of course you have to learn the basics first. Be aware of how it is that artists are able to build a name for themselves. Sometimes it’s really niching, you may not be good at everything, but you are good at a specific thing. Because if you’re going to try to be like someone who is already good at it, you won’t be like him, you’ll only be the second or the third. Educate yourself and be good at something”. When I was a little girl, my favorite song was “Kailan”; one of my high school choir’s favorite pieces was “Limang Dipang Tao”; and I ended up walking down the aisle to “Tunay na Ligaya” on my wedding day. Mr. C’s songs have touched all of our lives in some way. His songs are undeniably beautiful, whether they be love songs, inspirational songs, or even sacred works, they just have this magical way of drawing you in. It’s undeniable that his legacy - his music, we will always be a part of us Pinoys.
5. “I stock up on junk food in my cabinet!” His children know it, and always ask him for some. He also keeps small containers with snacks in his bags.
STOR IES | 8 7
DIWATA P h ot ogra p h y an d p o e t r y b y C hiar a G ar c ia Mak e-u p an d hair b y Ar ia Or t e g a Mod eli ng b y L o u Y ano ng
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maybe if i run faster, time will too. in time i will be elsewhere. but not today. today is today. everyday the same way. i swerve and i weave, tumbling and fumbling, dancing with trees and whispering to the breeze.
STOR IES | 8 9
i laze around, the sun on my skin. summertime sweat trickling down my neck, like dews that silently hit the ground from rain-soaked leaves and twigs, florets and blossoms.
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sometimes all of it is still unreal. like child-like stories i used to hear from my mother, of full moons and happiness and life. STOR IES | 9 1
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the birds often ask if i am happy. i say, i am, i am, what else can i ask for? this home is full and thronged with good. all around magnificent creation abounds with life, breathing like a banging and beating of the thunder and lightning on days the skies are wretched and merciless.
STOR IES | 9 3
she sends her sorries on daybreak, a gift of ornament that fills the sky with with blue and pink, and green and yellow. an arch of elegance. do you see how vivid and pure the skies are? the jaded grass by the riverside of cyan, like flowing mirrors that reflect all the beauty of heaven.
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when nighttime comes, the woods comes to life. my hair turns into wildfire as all else settles for slumber. i am tired, but i keep running, chasing the petals and seedlings that say goodbye as they flee. where will you go? can you bring me with you? i keep on asking. they giggle and wave as they roll on by and away.
STOR IES | 9 5
when the moon is high and my lashes are heavy, i whisper, goodnight shadow, my only true friend. in prayer, i praise the universe and the earth, all of creation and the only creator. thank you for the blossoming flowers. for colors. for life.
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STOR IES | 9 7
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in my sleep, i am a different me. my soul feels bound and chained to this forest, this home i watch over. i patiently wait but i donâ€™t know what for. and then comes the perfect time, the peerless courage, and i run, run away, away from here. and then i wake â€”
STOR IES | 9 9
SWEET 16 s t y l ing a n d wor d s b y Kon i E s teb a n p h otos b y Gel i B a l cr u z
Philippine culture and folklore is as rich as our natural resources. We are blessed with bountiful forests, diverse flora and fauna, and crystal clear blue waters. Our ancestors have been given the perfect backdrop that inspired their creativity to run wild and free, hence, Filipino folklore is lush and varied. One myth that has stuck to me is the enchanting Maria Makiling. Her beauty is breathtaking and mesmerizing. Her heart pure and kind. It is told that Maria is graced with unending youth. This sparked a question in me, if Maria never grows old and she’s 16 years of age, does it mean that she will be celebrating her sweet 16 party every year? What an exciting age to be stuck at! From the depths of my heart that appreciates her beauty inside and out, here’s a look of Maria Makiling’s birthday bash. 100 | FETE
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IT HAS BEEN ONE HECK OF A YEAR.
REVISIT IT WITH US AND READ UP ON PAST ISSUES! F ETE | 1 0 3
Rian Gonzales gives us her take on some local folktale personalities.
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RE I M AG INING | 1 0 5
We know how creative our readers are-we’re blown away by your beautiful works hashtagged #kathamagph and we can’t be more happy that you support Katha magazine. We’d like to unite this wonderful creative community, which is why we came up with the hashtag #kathamagph. Why not take it up a notch by doing one (or all) of Katha’s challenges? For this month, the challenges are: 1. Draw a mythical creature and name it. 2. Write a list of magical things you love, or magical surprises 3. Illustrate your fave Filipino salawikain, bugtong, or alamat
Use the hashtag #kathamagph when you post your work, and discover new friends! We’ll post our faves in Katha’s next issue. We’re excited to see your works!
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OUR NEXT ISSUE IS ABOUT KINDRED. We’ll be talking about families, friends, birds of the same feather, and kindred souls. If you have any ideas regarding our next theme, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you have in mind. They can be articles, photographs, illustrations, music, or something entirely out of this world that we didn’t even think or dream of. We’re on the lookout for imaginative and creative individuals who share the ideals of Katha. If you think that’s you, send us samples of your work with “I’d like to be a contributor” in the subject line. You just might be who we’re looking for!
thanks for reading !
Local lore has always been an fascinating subject, and it remains to be a big source of inspiration to our artists and creatives. We promise...
Published on Oct 5, 2014
Local lore has always been an fascinating subject, and it remains to be a big source of inspiration to our artists and creatives. We promise...