This year, I am dedicating a space in MimaiScribbles for local artists, especially the younger ones who have no access to marketers, galleries and museums, and art groups, among other resources and venues. It is my hope that through CDO Personalities, they will get the exposure, attention, and opportunities they deserve.
Last October and December, I featured Nico Salcedo, Glendy Dalapag, and Maecy Pacuribot. January’s CDO Personalities were multitalented artist Emman Mulawan and painter turned baker Christian Gesta of BakeWithChris. Our first feature for February, the National Arts Month, will put the spotlight on friends Lovely Daguimol and Trishia Madriaga, who are both visual artists.
Lovely and Trishia have been friends for more or less seven years. They have different art styles and preferences but they share the same passion for creating stories through their paintings and drawings. Let’s get to know them better.
- How were you as a child? Were you already painting or into the arts?
Yes, even as a child I was already into arts like drawing; but to tell you the truth, singing was my first love then drawing came second. I was widely influenced by my favorite anime shows and cartoons.
I was a child surrounded by games, comics, and animated movies. My art aspiration started when I first set my sights on animated movies and comics. I thought they were cool and I wanted to draw the characters, so I did. My drawing’s not that good but creating something from scratch just with your hand pushed me to the world of arts.
- Did you always want to be an artist?
I never really thought of becoming a professional artist back then. All I knew was that I liked what I liked and did what I loved to do; plus, my parents kept on encouraging me to become a doctor/nurse/engineer. So never did I once think of becoming an artist because I was not encouraged to take such an option.
Yes. From the day that I became interested in art, I regarded it as a hobby. I want to be an artist for my fulfillment. I’m not quite sure if I want this hobby as a career soon, but I’m still young, so there’s still time to decide.
- What (and when) were your first major works of art? The ones that first put you in the spotlight?
My first major work of art was in 5th grade. I’m not sure if poster making is considered a major work of art, but that was my first poster making contest and I unexpectedly won. It was my first time winning something and it motivated me to keep on doing visual art. There was a negative side to me winning it, too. My head got too big because of all the praises I received, and this made me become lazy in practicing my art for the right reasons. I was doing art for the praise and not as a form of expression anymore. But I’ve overcome that and I now know what art truly means to me.
Doing art makes me see the unseen beauty of life; it makes me feel fulfilled. This is why I came to love doing visual arts in the first place, and so I continue to do so despite being enrolled in an engineering course.
I was pretty shy and not confident of my works but I started consistently sharing my artworks with my peers when I was in grade 12.
My first major work of art was for our Intramurals day (for fun only). It was my first time doing animation; it was simple, but I was satisfied with the outcome.
- Painting, I presume, is your first love. What about other forms of art? Do you sing, or dance, or act? Or are you into any other art form?
Yes, I am into other areas of art. I can act, and I can say that now because I was able to act in our last grand production as one of the main characters of the original musical play “Manilla”. I never thought I had it in me.
I play the guitar mostly, and piano from time to time (average skills). I likewise sing and sometimes compose songs, but I keep my compositions to myself and only use them for academic purposes.
Ah, yes! I can also dance. I love to dance, but it sucks how my body just won’t cooperate! Memorizing the steps is hard, and this body of mine looks like a dancing Jollibee. On a brighter note, I become a happy pill to the people around me, so it’s a win and win- you get a good laugh out of my dancing!
I love filmmaking, but I’m not exactly good at it. I was in charge of editing and directing our film in our senior high school days and it was very difficult. I believe it’s a wonderful art form because lots of elements need to work together to create an outstanding product.
- What’s your favorite work of art? The most meaningful and memorable ones for you?
The most memorable artwork is the one I made for my first exhibit, which was back in grade 11. That was the time when I accepted that I was truly an artist.
I don’t know if other artists go through this but, there was a time when I felt that my art did not deserve to be displayed or praised. I was scared of using the grand types of art media like acrylics, oil paints, and anything related to canvases. I felt that my art skills were so bad that my work did not deserve any recognition.
So, when we were required to paint on a canvas for our first exhibit, I wanted to run, but I had no choice because it was for my grades. I faced my fears and told myself, “Do not pressure yourself and just do what you want to do; just create.” It was simple artwork, but it was also my original idea, so I was very proud of myself- especially since writing the meaning of my piece was as difficult as the art itself. It was also my first time doing something like that.
On the day of the artwork checking, I was so anxious to show my work to our teacher thinking that maybe he will dismiss it because, you know, he is a pro. Turns out that I was just assuming because unexpectedly, he praised my work and even said he liked the meaning behind my piece. That experience gave me the courage to paint more today, and it helped me realize that maybe I was just overthinking things. I am an artist, the heart and effort that I put into my work are what makes my art beautiful. Of course, some people don’t like my work but that’s fine – as long as I am happy with what I create, I will display it for the world to see. I also want to influence my fellow artists to have more confidence and do more art that brings them joy.
My favorite work of art to this date is my entry for Hirasol. I started taking art seriously just this year and my constant dedication to draw and practice every day paid off. The most meaningful ones are the ones that I drew and gave to my friends. It was almost our graduation and as a sweet gesture, I decided to give them palancas with my drawings of them.
- What is your dream project?
One of my major dream projects is to make an animation series promoting the Philippines’ beautiful culture and everyday life, especially the Kagay-anon culture. I hope I can create this together with my visual art friends. For now, my dream is to create a manga/comic with my best friends – because I don’t know how to make a story, so I badly need their help.
I haven’t given much thought to it. It would be pretty nice though if our plan to make animations on YouTube will come true someday.
- Who is Lovely/Trishia the person (not the artist)?
I’d like to think that I live up to my name. I love almost every type of food, and I think I can make people happy by being my lovable self.
I am just a simple girl who likes anime and K-pop.
- Aside from painting and acting, what else do you like to do? Any hobbies? Sports?
My hobbies are watching anime/Netflix, reading mangas/manhwas/webtoon/light novels, capturing moments, food, and traveling/hanging out with friends. Volleyball is my sport. I even became a varsity player back in junior high school. But now, I only play when I can.
I watch anime and read webtoons and mangas in my free time. Before the pandemic, I was into sports, mainly table tennis.
- Who are the artists you look up to?
In terms of visual arts, the artists I look up to are Vincent van Gogh (who wouldn’t?), Michael E. Bacol (my dear old visual arts teacher), Eiichiro Oda (One Piece mangaka #LODI), Meyo (an awesome IG illustrator), and Suzuki Toshio (co-creator of the awesome Studio Ghibli movies).
I don’t have any specific artist that I look up to, but seeing artworks of artists from art Twitter, especially J-artists and K-artists, it encouraged me to draw even more. I think their art style is unique and I kind of want to have an art style like theirs.
- Do you follow a routine before painting?
I guess it’s my routine to drink water before painting and make sure there is music in the background so I can dance/sing while I paint. Things I plan on painting end up being different from the actual idea, so I just go with the flow – and that is why it’s fun!
For 30 minutes or so, I engross myself in form study before painting. It helps me improve by getting the right values and form of a certain object.
- How are you coping with the Covid-19 new normal? What are your plans post-Covid-19? Any current or upcoming projects? An exhibit, perhaps?
It was hard in the first few months because everything was so new and it was hard accepting the fact that we can’t go and hang out with friends that summer. But, the alone time I had for myself gave me clarity about what I want to do in my life. I did a lot of art in different art forms (visual arts, singing, and dancing) to fill the boring days at home, but I was mostly doing my favorite hobbies – eating and sleeping, so I gained a lot of weight!
I plan to change this year and become more productive; be more of an artist by doing more art than laze all day. In other words, focusing on my well-being and practicing self-care is my way of coping with the new normal.
As for plans, we have an upcoming event this Feb 15 at the Ayala Mall (Centrio) called Art Tents, where local artists display and sell their creations. I am hoping there will still be people going to the event and supporting local artists. I’ll be selling my artwork during the event.
It is pretty hard to get inspiration in this pandemic as I’m isolated in our house all the time. I cope by drawing something in my free time while listening to music hoping I will get motivated. For now, I want to make a simple animation of the song written by my friend, but I’m afraid I won’t do it justice the way I am now so I will continue practicing to achieve this.
- You have been friends since grade 7 and you’re now college freshmen. How did your friendship start, and how do you keep it real and strong?
Our friendship started quite naturally. We talked about anime, then we discovered each other’s sketchbooks full of anime drawings. We were the same species in the classroom- quiet and a bit emo with side bangs – you know, that typical loner vibes you see in class back in junior high? So, we got along quite well, but we only talked from time-to-time because we were occupied with our own art. The reason we got really close was that our friends are friends with each other and we got to hang out together a lot, while sharing our interest in the arts. We got even closer because whenever one of us posted one of our artworks, the others would support and cheer her on – fellow artists supporting fellow artists.
- Is everyone in your group or “barkada” an artist or into the arts? In what ways do sharing the same passion for art help develop or improve your friendship?
Yes, everyone in our group is into the arts and has their own specialty. Ghenesa Paulma is a webtoon artist who is currently studying visual arts. Christy Aboniawan is a theater actress, director, photographer, and composer. Maegan Silao is a writer.
Our passion for the arts make our friendship stronger because when one is lacking in one area, the others fill it. That’s how we help each other grow. Some of us share the same passion; like Trishia, Ghenesa, and I. We support each other by sharing each other’s techniques, references, and motivating each other to just keep drawing and never stop learning. We share the same frustrations, too and this makes us feel that we are not alone. Often, we just laugh it out.
- What message would you like to impart to aspiring artists, especially in these difficult times?
If there’s a will, there’s always a way. But, if you don’t have the will yet, it’s okay to first let yourself heal until you are ready to try again. Art comes from the soul, not by force. It’s our soul that makes us an artist.
Everything can be overwhelming especially in this pandemic. It’s okay to take a rest and to breathe. It’s okay to not be always productive. We must prioritize our mental health in these trying times. Don’t compare your progress to others, you’re doing great right now.
If you want to get in touch with Lovely and Trishia, you can do so by visiting their respective Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/lovelymaedalingdaguimol/ and https://www.facebook.com/trshxkryzyl/.
Happy National Arts Month! 🙂