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Fasten your seatbelts, we’re taking the alternate route.




noun stead; place (esp in the phrases in lieu, in lieu of) Behind LIEU Online Magazine are young people who are passionate about photography, music, literature, film, fashion, travel, graphic design — anything that stirs the soul and inspires expression. By offering LIEU as a space for budding artists to share their craft, we hope to influence more people to get out, get inspired and start creating. WWW.LIEUMAGAZINE.COM @LIEUMAGAZINE | FB.COM/LIEUMAGAZINE

Photo by Shynjiryuu



FEATURE WRITERS Chit Lacson Ramon Erum



CONTRIBUTORS Daniel Doydora, Nikko Zamora, Karl Aguro,Shynjiryuu

EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS Angely Chi, Cheekie Albay Jad Montenegro, Kristine Serrano

i s s u e n o 1 1 I N L I E U CIRCUIT mixtape something new food ALLEYCAT: when shift happens photography LEAH VALLE: zooming in on a passion featured artist THE SECRET GARDEN DESIGN STUDIO: secret’s out events ceejay sagarino ep launch 4th easter bookhunt art attack 3 unite and ignite - summer music and arts fest 2014

close encounters cover story OTTO BJORNIK: an artist by any other name

filmroll contributions the whimsical adventures ii the sea will drown your sorrow the boy series of experiment




something new A Mixtape by Amelia Rose Baird

Whether you’ve been bumming around, or morphing into workzilla, nothing good ever comes with mind-numbing routines. Get out of your comfort zone, and do some switch over. Here are tunes to soundtrack your journey into the unfamiliar.

damon Albarn, “everyday robots”

Basement Jaxx, “Where’s your head at?”

Stuck in a boring, old routine? Breathe in some new and good. And don’t be a robot. You might want to ask yourself the same question if you’ve been a bum longer than you should. Time to wake up, get a move on, and do something more There’s nothing like Electric Six to start your day. productive. For better or for worse, this groovy song will have you constantly chanting “It’s my desire!”

Electric Six, “Danger! High Voltage!”

years & years, “Real”

The White stripes, “The hardest button to button” Suit up. Time to get grinding.

“Oh / I think if it had been not for you / Would I be better / Would I be good?” Go full-on sentimental and ease into electronic haze and soulful vocals. It Displace your anti-establishment tendencies with a might get you thinking. track that does it all. “I’d love to stay here and be normal / But it’s just so overrated.”

Blur, “tracy jacks”

kings of convenience, “failure”


Learning is a gradual process but what happens when you never learn from your mistakes? It’s a rec- Feel like getting away, but can’t lag behind your duipe for a disaster. ties? Daydream with a track about isolation, and, well, living in the forest.


Photo by Shynjiryuu


when shift happens Text by Chit Lacson

All hail the purveyor of cute, the pop icon at-themoment: Cats. And all eyes on feline fanatics and happenstance entrepreneurs Jesh Juson and Xiao Prieto, creators of Alleycat Tea House, as they’ve adorned an artist cove in an otherwise nondescript corner of the world.

AT YOUR SERVICE Jesh (left) and Xiao (right)

Feline fanatics Jesh Juson and Xiao Prieto have unwittingly created an artistic cove with their milk tea haven, Alleycat Tea House. The duo care to their establishment like a never-completed painting: There’s always room for improvement, no matter how small. Customers will always notice how something is always new, rearranged, or disassembled. It’s no wonder the place is frequently bustling with the artist types. Just like most businesses, Alleycat hailed from an idea. Originally, the plan was to create separate businesses, but they each lacked the funds to do so. They also didn’t want to compromise their friends’ loyalty so they decided to put up Alleycat together. It wasn’t all smooth sailing for the two. “After graduating, we worked right after. And that was the highest paying job we ever got,” Jesh says. “At first, it was exciting but later on, [it became a boring routine],” Xiao adds.

As young entrepreneurs, they don’t consider themselves successful yet. But putting up Alleycat was a good start. Neither of them figured that they’d end up being entrepreneurs. “Definitely not,” they say in unison. The original plan was to proceed to medical school since they are both nursing graduates. Both agreed that one shouldn’t rush things. “Find your happiness, explore your interests, and know your options,” Xiao reiterates. Jesh advised not to join the career bandwagon: “Take at least a year off. Don’t to make money right after you graduate. Rest in order to come up with a good decision on which career path to take.” And when it doesn’t work out, maybe it’s for the best. In the end, Xiao says, “despite your career plans, there will be a lot of factors that will come up that will certainly lead you to where you perfectly belong.”


Door #7 The Site, Davao Central Convenience Store, Inc., E. Jacinto Ext. Cor. V Mapa St. STORE HOURS: Mondays: 2pm-2am Tuesdays-Saturdays: 1pm-2am Sunday: 1pm-12mn


Zooming in on a passion Text by Angely Chi

In between dragonboat training, creating jewelry, and dance classes, Leah Valle is out on a mission. Her steadfast advocacy and unwavering passion is coming soon to a public exhibit near you.

Leah Valle is never out of things to do. While she is on her sabbatical from her 2-year MFA in photography at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Hong Kong, she fills her time in the Philippines with a host of activities — recital, dance classes, volunteer work, movies with her kids, and most recently, dragonboat training with the local dragonboat crew. Then there is also her photography thesis. A bachelor’s degree in philosophy at Ateneo de Davao University deepened Leah’s understanding of worldviews, but it was her one-year stint as a cultural and communications officer at a non-government organization (NGO) that opened her eyes to certain realities. Tasked to document tribal

communities around Mindanao, she would learn on the job from her mentor Medel V. Hernani, a veteran photojournalist, that a camera is not only a tool to capture images – it also serves to tell stories. Even after leaving NGO work, she would frequently turn to documentary photography as a means to create discourses on social realities she thought were hardly covered in mainstream media. For her MFA thesis, she chose to document the conditions of Filipina workers in Hong Kong. Her choice was not merely culture-based, but intended to rethink the trend towards the martyrdom of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

She explains: “I wanted to document forced labor migration as a system that violates women... because I don’t think it’s being discussed enough. Labor migration has been the pillar of the Philippine economy. We are the greatest exports of our country. But I don’t think [the consequences are thoroughly] discussed.”

hometown Davao City. She intends to hold them in public spaces, instead of in galleries or museums, to ensure that her primary audience – the OFWs, their families, and the general public – get to view the photos freely.

As far as Leah can see, this is just one of many veiled issues that need to be documented and But with her photos of female OFWs in Hong made public. There is her life’s work ahead. Kong, Leah hopes to provide a different lens to look into on the issue. Through the advice and encouragement of mentors and friends, she now plans to stage simultaneous exhibits of her thesis work in Hong Kong and in key cities in the Philippines, including her

featured artist

secret’s out Text by Ramon Erum

Illustrator, graphic designer, and one-time LIEU cover boy Paolo Ramirez is set to prove third time’s the charm with his smashing new design studio, The Secret Garden: Design Studio & Paperie.


Door 5, No. 500 Gabaton Building, E. Quirino Ave. 8000 Davao City CONTACT DETAILS: 0917 621 7210

Paolo Ramirez has been in and around the local art scene for years. Brushing off two “failed attempts” aside, the illustrator, graphic designer, and one-time LIEU cover boy settles into a new design studio, The Secret Garden Design Studio & Paperie.

His studio specializes in layout, invitations, and other products such as paperie, and notecards. In his purely artistic ventures, Paolo’s digital paintings have been known to tread the surreal. But in the line of commercial work, he says that the ideas and designs should come from the clients, since it’s their event. “Since every The Secret Garden is a hideaway of sorts: calming inte- invitation is personalized, I make it a point to make sure riors, nifty merch on display, and a man sitting behind that they are happy with what they get,” Paolo said. a desk, focused on what he’s doing. Neutral palettes backdrop the studio to contrasting elements: modern Paolo manages the studio and is doing all the work himand Victorian, distressed and pristine. There’s Paolo to self at the moment, since he has yet to hire employees. thank for the interiors, doing all things from painting And looking at how well it’s all going, himself is maybe the walls to choosing the decorations. all he needs.


ceejay sagarino ep launch PHOTOGRAPHED BY aidx paredes

art attack 3 PHOTOGRAPHED BY arnel Pablo

unite & ignite:

Summer Music and Arts Fest 2014 PHOTOGRAPHs c/o dane sanchez

close en


cover story

an artist by any other name Text by Janna Moya Ötto Bjornik has a fan base millions of miles away from his hometown. His eye for details is savant-like, and says a lot more than what meets the eye. The architect-turned-illustrator has a story to tell. And he’s doing it all wordlessly. Listen, it’s all in the details.

There’s a certain ring to the artist’s name credited for the artisan toy creation, Mayari Dunny. A ring that’s not reminiscent of your neighbors Enteng, Bebeng, and JhunJhun. The name has baffled a few people about its origins: Swedish, Icelandic, some obscure European descent. All but the right one. During the shoot, the easygoing artist reveals that ötto is a Bagobo term that roughly traslates to the beloved dodong, or young lad. And for his first name, Bjorn, he just thought it could use some pizzazz. Ötto Bjornik, simply Bjorn Eding, was born and raised in Davao City. He studied architecture in UP Diliman and went on to become a licensed architect. When asked if he would be willing to give up illustration to become a full-time architect, it’s a resounding, “No.” Still, it’s no small feat to stick to his guns. For a year, he would live on the money he saved up when he worked in Japan for some time. He would hole himself up to create illustration after illustration. His advice for young artists? With no trace of hard feelings, “Get a day job.” His illustrations are distinct, and is awashed with universal appeal that has attracted a fan base overseas. True, there are indigenous references and waling-waling fluttering about (he admits, almost abashedly, that he has no idea why his illustration is ever complete without flowers.) But Bjorn, citing Amorsolo and Ventura as local favorites, has something to say apart from inside jokes, Filipino pride, and clever symbolisms. You just have to take a closer look.

Tell us something about yourself. I am more than an illustrator. I am a storyteller. My tales are a rich mixture of precious childhood memories and fairy tales. I weave together lines to celebrate the beauty and elegance of nature and human form. And sprinkled within that tapestry are touches of whimsy that bring to mind the wonderment of childhood and play. It is my way of rekindling youth with a wink and infinite mirth. I have drawn millions of lines as an artist and have told many stories, from my initial scenes of houses to the Yahoo! Purplescape campaign to more experimental pieces that have won international competitions and garnered gallery exhibitions. But I still feel that I have many more stories to tell and a million more lines to draw. Are the stories you portray through your artworks different from one another, or is there a central idea to all of them? I usually do a series of 8-12 artworks with a central idea but the individual stories are different from one another. It’s probably with the way they’re told that people get the impression they’re part of one great story.

How long does it take you to finish an artwork, and how do you know when it’s finally done? It depends on the size but for most of my drawings, it takes me a few days to about a week to finish them. The texture and the tiny elements take the most time to accomplish. Once they’re all covered and when I feel that I have conveyed what I want to say, that’s when I stop. There are times that I feel I would never finish a piece. I just set it aside and get back to it after a few days, then I would realize it’s already done. Who are your favorite Filipino artists? I like the palette of Fernando Amorsolo and the combination of hyperrealism and cartoons in Ronald Ventura’s work. How has architecture influenced you as an artist? I guess my attention to details has helped me get commercial projects done efficiently and successfully. In my personal work, it required me to give purpose to every element I put it in my artworks and try to seamlessly incorporate contrasting elements. I used to be very shy in presenting my ideas but my training helped me present myself and my work confidently.

Tell us about your creative process. Before I start drawing, I need to be really in the mood for the subject so that everything goes smoothly. If not, I think up random shapes that I can work with and balance them on paper. With my less abstract work, I normally start with a beautiful face that should sustain my interest for a few days of meticulous pen work. When I’m set for something, I could work for hours until I’m satisfied with it.

Social media also connects artists, enthusiasts and fans with one another. Sharing of ideas, techniques, materials and media has never been easier. A few years back, you still need to email the artists to ask which pencils and types of paper they use.

Any upcoming projects you’d like to mention? I’ve just completed the illustrations for a novel/music album that is a collaboration with a trailer music company, Two Steps from Hell, based in the United States. We’ve seen your blog and think it’s great. What’s A tentative date for release would be next month. Right your take on how artists are now comfortable shar- now, I’m busy working on some new toy designs that ing artworks and a parcel of their lives on the in- will be released later this year or the next by galleries in ternet, when back then, artists were completely Singapore and Taiwan. I also have a few collaborations shrouded in mystery? with other artists and other secret projects lined up this The internet has greatly changed the lives of artists. It’s year. now possible for them to show their work to a large audience. They just have to scan or take a photo of their work, then upload it online. Pre-internet days, artists need to physically get their works to galleries in order to be considered for representation. Today, artists have their own “galleries” in their websites and curators from around the world just get in touch with them via email.








the sea will drown your sorrow By Daniel Doydora


THE BOY By Nikko Zamora

photography x graphic art

series of experiments By Iolak

Photographed by Banawe Corvera

Photographed by Marben Lawas

Photographed by Marben Lawas

Photographed by Sefi Curada

Photographed by Banawe Corvera

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LIEU Issue No 11  

LIEU Online Magazine's latest issue out now! Changing Lanes. Fasten your seatbelt, we're taking the alternate route. Something old, somet...

LIEU Issue No 11  

LIEU Online Magazine's latest issue out now! Changing Lanes. Fasten your seatbelt, we're taking the alternate route. Something old, somet...