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The Four Cebuano Artists to Look Out For

Taking a stand against censorship, young Cebuano digital artists bare all on the streets of Cebu true to their carnal nature.

Taking a stand against censorship, young Cebuano digital artists bare all on the streets of Cebu true to their carnal nature.

By Jeff Cruz

Danielle Sea

Danielle Sy was kinetic when she entered Sprockets Café near University of San Carlos-Technological Campus straight from her class. Rapport was not an issue—her joyously unrestrained smiles assured us that everything was going to go smooth. We told her we didn’t prepare interview questions; we wanted the short meet-up to be candid and interviews get more engrossing when questions are answered instantly without conscious thought. Admittedly, the interview started slightly clumsy. “I am talkative,” she said cheerfully, dismissing the whiff of awkwardness—the rest of the time interviewing Sea (a name her friends fondly call her) was like talking to a long-lost friend.

You’re taking up Advertising Arts at USC. Is this what you really wanted to finish since you were a kid?

Actually I realized I really don’t like advertising. I just enjoy the company of people around me and what we’re doing. I don’t think I will be in an advertising after college. But I love illustrating! I am not really that good in my class but I achieve in my own terms.

What did you learn that you could illustrate?

When I was a little girl I used to draw stick houses with gardens. Back then I had an older cousin who was taking up interior design, and she saw my drawing and said it was good. Then I started to doodle on newspaper, and now I’m the only person in the family pursuing arts. They all stopped.

What was your first break and how did you feel about it?

I first joined an exhibit with Street Konect through The Little Secrets: Venus held in ALPS Café in Guadalupe. It was an all-girl exhibit that showcases a diverse set of artwork, and it was really kind of an achievement for me. The second one was The Box of Little Secrets: X held at Chillage last February—we displayed 40 postcard-sized pieces of erotic art.

Have you tried illustration for companies or films? 

I have projects now. I was one of the artists who were commissioned to paint a mural at Lantaw Floating Restaurant in SRP. I think it was awesome because it was really big. I was also commissioned to work on a Converse mural.

Was it hard finding your own voice and making your work distinguished from others?

More artists are already using digital, but I stayed with watercolor and paper. I want to feel the paper. I tried digital, but it doesn’t feel the same. I’m also an artist who needs to control my emotions—I’ve learned that when I am too emotional while painting, I tend to ruin the paper. My classmates tell me that I look like my work—when they see an illustration, the know that it’s mine.

Kathyrn Layno

Kathryn Layno was aware that she has a gift for the visual arts. Like other artists, he has explored her capabilities well enough, having wielded enough pencils to create stunning outputs since she was a little girl. She has refined herself as an artist, though she admits she didn’t get into it seriously until her late teens. It was then that she realized the old saying was true, that “when you’re good at something, do not do it for free”—it was about time she made the arts her bread and butter. Kat tells us she wanted to commit her hands to animation and work for Disney but she also bore a strong love for comics, so when an opportunity to do both came knocking, she grabbed it by the neck.

What was your big break?

The first time I got involved drawing superheroes was on Upperdeck’s “Marvel Masterpieces” sketch cards. An artist friend of mind on Deviantart announced she was on the set, and I inquired about how to apply. That’s pretty much how I got into sketch cards. I also applied at the Marvel talent-scouting event when Marvel editor C.B. Cebulski was in Manila, and was one of two artists from Cebu to get an interview, the other being my good friend Miko Puns. As far as coloring for DC, I collaborated with Drew Johnson on other independent projects, and when he got a gig with DC on Masters of the Universe, he brought me on as a colorist. I’ve been very lucky with my chances.

How do you describe your creative process?

I tend to make moodboards before I start things. I collect pictures and put a montage of them together that coincide with the themes I’m trying to portray, sometimes have a movie with the same characteristics playing. Sometimes I’ll have audiobooks or documentaries playing in the background. Once I’m immersed, I start with very quick rough sketches, trying to nail the composition down. Lines, colors, values and everything else follow after that fairly smoothly.

People who go into the arts in the Philippines are often discouraged. Were you worried while taking up Fine Arts?

It’s sad that it is that way. Most people I know that make a living from illustration do so by working for clients overseas since they pay higher. But I am incredibly stubborn and resilient. If something scares me, I don’t like losing to that fear—it makes me want to prove others and myself wrong. I’m glad it worked out well for me.

Have you collaborated with Pinoy artists?

I joined a comic anthology group called Sukol Mo when I was 14. That was probably the first time I collaborated with other Filipino artists, and I learned a lot. Since then, I’ve done a few with my friends for comics and exhibitions.

What is your dream project?

My husband and I would love to work on an indie game eventually. We know the right people for the team, but finding the time is a problem.

The Hermit is Out

Although a bubbly extrovert who feels right at home in the middle of a party, the personality behind The Hermit is Out feels that his name is perfect for his artist alter ego—“it’s a side of me that people don’t usually see.” As something he does on the side, his art is a collection of digital erotic drawings splashed in color. So are these scenes rooted in reality? “Maybe it’s more of a fantasy,” he laughs.

How did you start out with your art?

Doodling in pages of my notebook back when I was in high school.

What is your creative process like?

I don’t necessarily have a creative process when it comes to my drawings. Whenever I’m bored at home, I just play around with my drawing tablet. Whenever I’m traveling, I tinker with Adobe Idea apps on my iPad. I guess watching the occasional porn helps.

Do you remember the first piece that you did?

Nope. My earlier work was tamer.

Do you think the Cebu art society is ready for pieces like this?

I’m not really sure. Some of my friends ask me if I’m trying to convey any message with my drawings. I don’t. I just draw what I feel like drawing—there’s no agenda behind it.

Do you have any plans of doing an exhibit in the future?

If time permits. Right now, I’m quite busy putting up my own dessert shop. But I’m slowly working on my portfolio site where I plan on putting my most recent work.

Jan Sunday

For Jan Sunday, art is a diary—instead of writing, she draws how she feels and sees herself. She agrees that not everyone will find her work sublime; in fact, she knows that some might find it offensive and uncomfortable. Her work does not always portray what the eyes want to see, instead harboring things that conventional artists might dare not portray. Most of her pieces are inclined to women and sexuality, but this does not necessarily mean our eyes should shy away from the visual display. Jan’s artwork grabs our attention—it demands to be beheld.

When did you discover that you were capable of all this visual art?

So cliché—ever since I was a kid, I’ve always loved drawing. I’m an only child and it’s kept me company for years.

Can you describe your creative process?

It just happens. I don’t really plan it. My best work is when I’m most depressed—it’s like therapy.

How would you describe your  work?

Low-brow, provocative self-portraits. Feminist-oriented. Sometimes I feel a bit out of place at shows, but I’ve always known that “different” is not bad.

Where do you get your inspiration?

I’m driven by life’s tragedies and the looking mirror. I don’t think anyone else has inspired me to create what I’ve created. It’s all me, it’s all organic. I don’t even know if I’ve followed someone else’s illustration style. I’m fond of black and white nude and vintage photography, and surreal films. I don’t really keep track of names but I have them bookmarked on my computer and written on my journal.

When was your first big break?

It all started with !HA?, not PunkShow (Manila) and Little Secrets popup art shows. Those aren’t really “big breaks” but it got my name out there. This feature’s probably it. I’m just glad and thankful some people are interested in my work.

What is the most meaningful project you did?

My band’s album cover illustration — Tiger Pussy-People You Hate album. Dark, deranged and girly.

What is your dream project?

Just to be able to put out more work and maybe paint on a larger medium—that’s enough for me. Like I said, it’s all personal. I don’t do this for the world.

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LADY CYCLISTS HIT THE ROADS AND SLOPES OF CEBU.

Cycling has been a growing sport and hobby for many years but it’s popularity has erupted since the Covid pandemic.  People biking to work and for recreation is an everyday sight in Cebu.  More and more are joining the ride.  Many are quite serious about cycling.  I know three ladies who are among those who’ve gone long distances across Cebu.

How did you get into serious cycling?  What was your motivation?

Blinky de Leon.  Event Host, Product Endorser & Influencer

“ I’ve been into cycling since I was a kid. A little backstory, I was around 10 years old when my dad surprised me with my first custom-made mountain bike. I still keep it until now, in fact I had it refurbished. It’s the most sentimental thing I ever received since it was his way/gesture to catch up with me after not seeing each other for almost 6 yrs. My dad is based in Germany and he also loves cycling and makes his own bamboo bike.”

 

“Just a year ago though, my friend Gazini randomly, out of nowhere, picked me up from home to bike with her to the South of Cebu. I felt really excited and motivated to get back on track because it’s very nostalgic and brings back so many great memories. And since then, the rest was history. We’ve been joining different groups, tried different routes and conquered different heights. I’ve met so many cyclists with very inspiring stories in the bike community who kept me feeling motivated too. I also look forward to the sights and the adventure that comes along with it.”

 

Yumz Mariot. Branding & Marketing Consultant

“I used to bike along with rock and wall climbing. I am lousy with ballgames which is why. Our usual route were Talamban and Mactan but one time, managed to ship gears all the way to Dumaguete for a quick ride to Valencia, the next town located at a higher elevation. Those were days when I did it for fun and what bike I was using did not matter.”

“Fast forward to 2021, a year after the pandemic lockdown began, I realized I have been lazy to do any fitness routine. Too caught up on juggling between house chores and Work from Home deliverables (I work as a Branding and Marketing Consultant), I started to feel my body needs to move as much as my brain does. A hysical fitness routine is as important as what I eat, or what I read or watch. So I decided to invest on a decent MTB, just very recently and got myself a much necessary restart. What motivates me even more is the area where I currently reside at. It is vast, fresh, green and safe for solo bikers like me.”

 

Prime Sarino. Digital Media Creative

“I started biking as a young teenager and I got the idea to start it as an adult hobby 3 years ago. I was already into running and I thought it would be great to venture into another outdoor activity to keep me occupied after work hours and weekends. I was set to travel for a year so I had to put aside the idea first but came pandemic. We were all forced to stay put and everything was put on hold. Cycling became my diversion. My cyclists friends invited me to quick and short rides. I enjoyed my first 50km ride and the sceneries and routes most of all. It also helped channel a positive mindset during the hard hit season of the pandemic. Not to mention it’s also another way to stay fit when we were forced into inactivity during the quarantine.”

Next in Part 2, we ask the ladies about their cycling experiences and memorable moments…

by: Zen

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People

#CebuPride:  Cebuanos in Multi-awarded Pride-Themed Films

Multi-awarded International Gay Movies with Cebuano Lead Casts

By:  Allain Dumon Fonte

 

Pride-themed movies are starting to invade the film industry as people become more accepting and are more intrigued on the stories about LGBTIQ.  Many have shared the intensity of emotions and laughed with the craziest jokes on gay-themed movies.  In the Philippines, these kinds of movies were questioned as to their morality and their message to the society.  The strong influence of the country’s religious standards had branded gay-themed movies as sex-oriented and nothing more.  Yet, with Thailand’s more tolerant culture, Thai BL (Boy’s Love) movies and television series have created a new perception to the viewers; and that is gay-themed movies are remarkably alike to all other movies – there is romance, comedy, drama, and the continuing struggle of living like normal people.  Hence, Thai BL TV series have a massive following all over Asia.  At the end of 2019, they became available in Netflix and are being watched by millions of viewers all over the world.

ZEE’s Allain Fonte with the casts of the top-rating Thai BL series (2019) “Cause You’re My Boy” of GMMTV (from L-R) Amp Phurikulkrit Chusakdiskulwibul, AJ Chayapol Jutamas, Neo Trai Nimtawat, Frank Thanatsaran Samthonglai, ADF, Drake Laedeke, Phuwin Tangsakyuen, and JJ Chayakorn Jutamas.

The Philippine film industry is not that far from Thailand’s.  Some of the LGBTIQ-themed movies and television series are slowly getting a following in Asia and are now accessible to viewers worldwide.  A few of these pride-themed movies that casted or directed by a Filipino have already been receiving nominations and awards from Golden Globe, The Berlin Film Festival, the Venezia Film Awards, and even the Emmy’s…and the Filipinos in these films hail their roots from Cebu!

 

1. Lingua Franca

 

Lingua Franca is a film directed by a Cebuana, Isabel Sandoval.  Sandoval also plays the main character of the movie, and she even wrote the screenplay.  Lingua Franca tells the story of Olivia, an undocumented transgender woman in New York who works as a caregiver to a senile old-lady of Russian-decent.  When Olivia is challenged to attain legal status in the US, she is left with a “marriage-based green card”.  While in search for her groom-to-be, she becomes romantically involved with Alex, Olga’s grandson.

The film is now available on Netflix and has received positive reviews from the media.  Stephen Dalton of the Hollywood Reporter wrote Lingua Franca is a “heartfelt personal statement rooted in timely, gripping issues that obviously resonate deeply with its author, notably trans rights and Trump-era immigration anxieties”.

 

Isabel Sandoval wearing Marchesa at the Venezia Red Carpet in the Venice Film Festival (2019)

Isabel Sandoval graduated summa cum laude with the degree in psychology from the University of San Carlos in Cebu, Philippines.  In New York, she pursued graduate studies in Film at NYU.  She is now currently residing in NYC, and already has award-winning films under her belt like Apparition, Lingua Franca, Senorita, Ritwal, The Unstoppable, and Judgement.

 

2. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story

This television series was aired in Netflix and has gained so much popularity because it showed the murder of world-renowned fashion designer, Gianni Versace, by a serial killer, Andrew Cunanan.  Based on Maureen Orth’s book Vulgar Favors: Andrew Cunanan, Gianni Versace, and the Largest Failed Manhunt in U.S. History, this television series has 9 episodes of suspenseful scenes, and is star-studded with casts like Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz.  However, the main actor who played Andrew Cunanan is Darren Criss who gained his popularity after being a regular on the top rating TV show, Glee.  Darren Criss hails his roots from Cebu, Philippines.

The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story received positive reviews from critics. At the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, it received 9 nominations, and won 3 awards, including Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie for Darren Criss.

 

Darren Criss with his dad (left) Charles William Criss, and his mother (right) Cerina Criss. Source

Criss was born and raised in San Francisco, California, USA.  Criss was raised as a Roman Catholic and attended roman catholic schools.  He later moved to Michigan where he studied Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Theatre Performance and minor in music at the University of Michigan.  Criss’s father, Charles William Criss, is a banker and served as CEO of the East West bank in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Criss’s mom, Cerina, is a native of Talisay, Cebu, Philippines.  When he was younger, he visited Cebu a couple of times with his mother.  Darren Criss is very proud of his Cebuano roots and wants to portray Filipino characters in films and in theatres to promote visibility of the Filipinos in the American films.

 

3. The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela

     The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela premiered at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival where it grabbed the Teddy Award for Best Feature Film.  It was also awarded the Grand Jury Prize in the 10th 2008 Cinemanila International Film Festival at Malacañang Palace’s Kalayaan Hall.  It starred Raquela Rios also known as Minerva to her Cebuano friends.  Raquela  is a local of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines.  The film is directed by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson.

 

Raquella Rios in Bangkok’s MRT (a scene in a Thai film).

Raquella Rios is a native of Mandaue City, Cebu, Philippines, and she went to the University of San Carlos in Cebu, studying sociology and anthropology.  Before finishing her studies, Raquella left the Cebu and went to Iceland after being casted by Icelandic film director, scriptwriter, and producer, Olaf de Fleur Johannesson for the movie The Amazing Truth About Queen Raquela.  She is now based in Bangkok, Thailand as a fashion stylist and wardrobe assistant to some local Thai movies.  Raquella is also an activist for sex workers rights and trans rights in Southeast Asia; pushing for the recognition on the choice of their gender and the right to change their birth names.

Raquella (right) with film director Olaf de Fleur (left) receives the Best Feature Film Award at the 2008 Berlin International Film Festival in Germany. Photo grabbed from Berlinale archives.

There are still plenty of pride-themed films in the Philippines that gained recognition all over the world; yet these movies mentioned are special because of the talented Cebuanos that have  brought Cebu to world.  They truly are #CebuPride.

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Fashion

37 Years of High Fashion; Arcy Gayatin leaves a Legacy of Edginess and Elegance

Arcy Gayatin: A Legacy of Luxury in Fabrication

 

By:  Allain Dumon Fonte 

 

The brand Arcy Gayatin gave the Queen City of the South a distinct reputation in the fashion industry.  The fashion line of Arcy Gayatin sets the bar higher each year for clothing luxury and fabrication techniques.

 

April Duenas, Nikki Gayatin and Arielle Gayatin for Arcy Gayatin—Photos by John Paul Autor from Lifestyle Inquirer.net

 

Araceli “Arcy” Ancajas Gayatin is the daughter Galileo Ancajas and Remedios Zanoria Ancajas who founded Cebu’s home brand, Gal’s Bakery.  Arcy went to the University of San Carlos and studied Political Science.  And just like Dr. Muccia Prada, who completed her Ph.D. in Political Science and established the luxury line of Prada, Arcy also got in touch with her artistic side and started her own fashion line.  However, it was not Prada that influenced Arcy.  Arcy was introduced to fashion and tailoring at a very young age by her mother, Madame Remedios Anacajas whom they dearly call Mama Eme.  Mama Eme was running a tailoring business back then.  It was called Arabel; named after Arcy and her sister Belma.  Ara from Araceli and Bel from Belma.  In those years, Arcy was fascinated by fabrics and was intrigued by how to manipulate the fabrics to come up with fashion-forward designs without compromising comfort and taste.

 

Arcy Gayatin (photo grabbed from Space Philippines Blog Spot)

 

After 37 years of creating haute couture pieces for the most fashionable personalities in the Philippines, Arcy Gayatin is now laying down her sketchpads and pens to rest.  As she enjoys her retirement, may be on a cruise to the Bahamas or a holiday to the Swiss Alps, Arcy Gayatin has left the fashion industry a legacy of elegant and edgy clothing ensembles that understand and define the shape of women; without compromising comfort and good taste.

 

Arcy Gayatin’s Pink Flamingo collection                                               Arcy Gayatin’s Sketch on a Terno

 

To salute the lady who brought Cebu fashion to the world, a retrospective exhibition of Arcy’s incomparable masterpieces can be seen today at Ayala Center Cebu’s The Gallery; curated by fashion editor and writer, Clint Holton Potestas, and interior and fashion designer, Jul Oliva.

 

BALANCE.  Arcy Gayatin is known for her perfect symmetrical lines when fabricating.  She knows how to balance edginess and class; understanding well the strength and the finesse of a woman.

 

RHYTHM.  Arcy’s expertise in draping and fabric manipulation can be seen in how she achieves rhythm between architectural lines and soft fabrics like silk and cashmere.

 

TEXTURE.  With her thorough knowledge on fabrics, Arcy Gayatin has achieved the perfection of fabrication by working on different types of fabrics and creating a single piece of art out of them. 

 

HARMONY.  The simplicity of the silhouette plus the intricacy of the details create a wonderful harmony, making Arcy Gayatin’s design a one-of-a-kind masterpiece.

           

The photos below show an up-close look at the intricacy and the exquisite craftsmanship of Arcy Gayatin’s fabrication techniques:

 

THE SPIDER WEB:  one of Arcy’s genius fabrication techniques.

 

MATCH and PATCH:  Arcy’s unique fabrication craft by patching layers of different types of lace and lace patterns

 

PLEATS: The perfection of symmetry in pleats on silk.

 

LA ROSE BLEUE:  U.P. student, Danielle Alessandra Deutsch, inspired by the artistry of Arcy Gayatin, designed this midnight blue dress.   The cabbage rose made from layers of silk organdy gave this evening ensemble a romantic appeal.

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