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marmastry

marmastry

Meet Filipino illustrator, marmastry

GirlsclubAsia-Artist-marmastry

 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Hiii!! I’m a Filipino artist based in Quezon City, Philippines. I love communicating my love for something through art.

 

Describe the city you’re living in and what it’s like to live there.

I spent most of my life in Quezon City where the government loves to crack open its road to ‘maintain’ and expand their highways and still have hour-long traffics. Our transportation system sucks like that but that is something I eventually started to love and miss during the pandemic. I’m one of the lucky few who only needed one ride home although catching that ride is a big hurdle itself. I still think my best ideas are born from just staring out the window, alone, listening to my go-to playlist until I reach my stop. There’s just not much romance when you’re stuck at home haha.

 

I love paying close attention to others; their gesture, their mannerism, and their voice. It tells so much about how they cope under confined circumstances and I find it inspiring.

 

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

The best and worst thing is the traffic. I hate it because it’s exhausting and you need to strategize your route if there’s an accident because you can’t catch a ride which happens frequently because people have no restrains in overtaking each other here. There’s not much incentive in walking as well because you have these motorcycles taking up those spaces as shortcuts instead of the road. It’s like seeing the worst of people during desperate times and you can’t blame them because we’re under a system that doesn’t make much of an effort to change things. Anyway, why do I think it’s the best? Well, when things go smoothly, I spent my time observing others. My professor once told us that you can easily get to know Filipinos through jeepney rides; the good and the bad, you can intimately observe it there. I love paying close attention to others; their gesture, their mannerism, and their voice. It tells so much about how they cope under confined circumstances and I find it inspiring.

 

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

Challenging, Fierce, and Inspiring.

 

How did you start your career in art?

I guess my ‘career’ started when I opened a bank account for commission payments back when I was 14 or 16? I’m not sure. I remember bringing my dad with me for parental consent. It was a crucial moment. My parents were against me pursuing an art career, they wanted me to go for something more mainstream like being a nurse, doctor, lawyer, etc. At some point, I accepted that I will end up with such profession while doing art on the side. That’s usually how it goes here but I succeeded in convincing my parents eventually because they saw that I was earning even tho I’m barely out of school yet. I didn’t earn much but I earned enough to gain their trust.

 

At some point, I accepted that I will end up with such profession while doing art on the side. That’s usually how it goes here but I succeeded in convincing my parents eventually because they saw that I was earning even tho I’m barely out of school yet. I didn’t earn much but I earned enough to gain their trust.

 

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

The thing about support here is that you need to earn it as well, especially in my family. They were too hesitant to support an idea they can’t fully understand. I can’t blame them, especially with their background. They would rather suggest me a program they can afford because they’d rather invest on something they can predict rather than the one filled with uncertainty. In the Philippines, your family usually work together to pay for school expenses so making the decision to go to a creative industry was a tough choice. Paying for art school is not cheap and yet creatives are incredibly underpaid despite how much skills they want one person to have. With that, you can empathize why most families discourage the pursuit of such a career. As I said before, I needed to earn their support so I made sure that I’m a consistent dean lister in my art school. I knew I was good at what I do so it wasn’t that hard, what’s terrifying is facing the uncertainty once the grind is all over and I’m completely responsible of my life. It’s rough but I’m happy to say that I’m doing well so far.

 

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

I really want to write and draw my own comics or webtoon. I’m shy to admit that I’m procrastinating on it but I do have drafts to work and improve on. I’d like to work on theater and film design someday but right now I’m content with drawing for books.

 

I really want to write and draw my own comics or webtoon. I’m shy to admit that I’m procrastinating on it but I do have drafts to work and improve on. I’d like to work on theater and film design someday but right now I’m content with drawing for books.

 

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

I’d like to collaborate more with local artists here. So many of them are really cool that I can’t choose!

 

What are the biggest challenges you face in working as a creative?

When you’re a creative in the Philippines, most companies view graphic design, illustration, multimedia arts, etc. under the same umbrella. When you’re hired as a creative in a company, you are expected to do as much even when you can’t. I work as a graphic layout artist for a local publishing company, sometimes they make me illustrate for them, which I’m very grateful of because you don’t get that much opportunity in other jobs. I often ponder if this will be my case for a very long time. Many well-known artists here needs to keep their full-time job just so they can work on projects that comparably don’t pay much. There’s not much financial security to openly pursue what you want here unlike in other countries. It takes so much time to get where you want because you need to earn money to pay not just for yourself but also for you family. I’m very sure I’m not the only Filipino out there with this struggle that’s why I respect my fellow artist here who are able to churn out beautiful illustrations, komiks, animation, and many more passion projects while they’re working full-time. It’s truly inspiring and we deserve better.

 

I’m very sure I’m not the only Filipino out there with this struggle that’s why I respect my fellow artist here who are able to churn out beautiful illustrations, komiks, animation, and many more passion projects while they’re working full-time. It’s truly inspiring and we deserve better.

 

How would you describe the women around you?

Hardworking.

 

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

Dead Balagtas, KareKareo, and Abigail Dela Cruz. They’re amazing and I’m happy to see their works get the recognition it deserves here and abroad.

 

Everything takes time, there’s comfort in knowing that.

 

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

Everything takes time, there’s comfort in knowing that.

 


What type of music do you like to listen to?

I like music that are quiet and contemplative in nature but still has that bopping melody I could get addicted to. I find them in so many video game soundtracks like octopath traveler, persona 5, pokemon, Animal Crossing, Zelda, and Mario. Speaking of Mario, I’m loving their soundtracks too for how uplifting it is! The variety is just great 👍

 

What’s your favorite local food spot?

In my college, there’s this food stall near a convenience store called ‘WoW! Shawarma’ it’s cheap and serves the best shawarma there ever is! I’m also biased because I made a lot of great memories there.

 

Younsik Woo asks: Do you have a ritual to live a more routine life?

I don’t really think I have a routine haha but I always save 2-6 hours for myself to enjoy if I can.

 

Sayuri Fujimaki asks: Where do you get your passion for creating?

If nobody has done it, then I will do it. It’s daunting work because you go through a struggle where you wish you can do it justice like the artist you look up but then I keep reminding myself that I can’t draw like them but I can draw like me. The world doesn’t owe it to me but I think it’s only fair to show that bit of honesty.

 

What question would you like us to ask the next artist?

Where’s your favorite place and why?

 

 

Photos courtesy of marmastry

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