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Cynthia Bauzon Arre

Cynthia Bauzon Arre

Meet Filipino illustrator and graphic designer, Cynthia Bauzon Arre.

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am an illustrator and graphic designer. I worked in advertising right after graduating from the UP College of Fine Arts, and stayed in the industry for a total of 9 years. On the side, I designed music packaging for rock bands such as the Eraserheads, Sandwich, Itchyworms, Imago, etc. An interest in graphic design led me to Parsons School of Design in New York City where I took courses for a semester. A few years ago, I rekindled my love for painting and had my first one-woman show which featured a few notable women of Pinoy rock. These days, my work centers around native Philippine flora and fauna, with a focus on raising awareness for native trees and their importance in forest conservation.

 

What is the best and worst thing about living in your city?

I’ve lived in Quezon City all my life, and its unpretentious, laid-back vibe makes me feel right at home. There’s lots of nature here – parks, farm produce and seedling markets, and tree-lined roads (particularly near the Universities). It used to be the Philippines’ capital so the architecture of some old buildings evoke nostalgia. I also love that, while there are big malls just like in every other city, there are also neighborhoods nearby with small, interesting shops & restaurants to try and discover. (Just hoping that these businesses can survive the health crisis.)

 

As for the worst thing — apart from the heavy traffic which is prevalent everywhere, I really can’t think of anything. 🙂

 

I’ve lived in Quezon City all my life, and its unpretentious, laid-back vibe makes me feel right at home.

Give us 3 words that describe what it’s like to be a creative in your city.

Familiar

Stimulating

Enriching

 

How did you start your career in art?

I’ve been drawing since I was 3 or 4, and somehow, the passion to keep drawing honed my skills and I ended up receiving a Jose Joya Artist’s Award in high school (UPIS). That encouraged me to take up Fine Arts where I was able to develop my abilities further. In college, I learned that I could use both my conceptual and illustration skills in the advertising industry so my journey in the field of art as a profession started from there.

 

In college, I learned that I could use both my conceptual and illustration skills in the advertising industry so my journey in the field of art as a profession started from there.

 

Were the people around you supportive of your decision on working as a creative?

Yes, my parents have been very supportive of it ever since I was young. In fact, they encouraged it by buying me art materials and allowing me to take up Fine Arts in U.P. They also enrolled me in summer art workshops when I was still in high school.

 

What are some goals and ambitions you have for your future work?

I’m at the stage where I really would like for my work to have impact and meaning, not just for me but for the greater community. It sounds ambitious but I would like to create work that can benefit future generations – maybe make something educational and reflective of this point in time that people in the future can learn from.

 

I’m at the stage where I really would like for my work to have impact and meaning, not just for me but for the greater community.

 

If you could collaborate with any person in the world who would it be?

Can’t really think of anyone because at the moment, I am already working on a dream collaboration with the Forest Foundation Philippines. I love what we are working on together, and I am also excited for what our present collaboration can possibly give birth to in the years to come.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

My mother is a Pediatrician and a loving homemaker. She is from Pampanga so my family is always treated to her delicious home-cooked meals. She was a valedictorian in school, and flew alone to the US in the ‘60s to get her MD at the University of North Carolina, on scholarship. (It was there where she met my Dad, also a scholar getting his PhD at nearby Duke University.) When I was younger I wanted to become a doctor like her, but my affinity for the arts was stronger, so I ended up on a different path. That doesn’t mean that I am not inspired by her. In fact, I feel connected with my mom (and family) more than ever in that we are now doing things we are passionate about.

 

I feel connected with my mom (and family) more than ever in that we are now doing things we are passionate about.

 

Were there any local female creatives that you looked up to when you were growing up?

Unlike now, when I was in school there was no internet so I wasn’t exposed to female artists and graphic designers aside from our teachers. 

Regarding a person I looked up to, it’s really illustrator Kuya Robert Alejandro. I was lucky to have been in his Advertising and Figure Drawing classes during the only year he taught in UP! 

Sir Melvin Mangada, TBWA-SMP’s Executive Creative Director and Partner, was also one of my teachers in UP, and a big influence in my decision to join the ad industry. 

Both of them were (and still are) geniuses in their respective fields, and I knew I wanted to follow in their footsteps somehow.

 

Are there any challenging aspects of being a female in your industry?

When I was in advertising, most of the Art Directors were male, and it took a couple of years before I got promoted to that level. We also did a lot of overtime work, and when I still took public transportation, I needed to take extra precautions when going home alone in the middle of the night. 

 

In graphic design, I am sometimes told that my work needs to look more masculine, or gender neutral, so that’s something I still need to work on.

 

Look deep inside your heart, find what’s important to you, and base what you create around that.

 

Do you have any advice to young women who are aspiring to work in your field?

You are very lucky to live in an age where women are empowered and recognized without the boundaries of gender. You are also lucky to have the ability to showcase your work with one click, through social media or portfolio websites. Take advantage of these gifts. Don’t be shy in contacting people you look up to, wherever they are in the world — some will be happy to respond because they were once like you too. 

 

Regarding finding your voice as an artist or graphic designer. I know how frustrating it is to look at different styles of art and trying to find a niche where you will fit in. I think it would be best not to follow trends because that’s how you can stand out. Look deep inside your heart, find what’s important to you, and base what you create around that.

 

 

Photos courtesy of Cynthia Bauzon Arre

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