Books & Art

12 Emerging Filipino Creatives to Follow

This flock of fledgling creatives is fresh, inspiring, and exceedingly talented.
IMAGE RENZO NAVARRO, CHRISTINE SARTORIO
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It is no doubt that the local art scene is ever-growing and rife with talent, but sometimes, there comes an artist with a certain quality that sets him or her apart from the rest; a unique study that makes one thoroughly intrigued. This indistinguishable 'it' factor is definitely manifested by these 12 rising artists who more than lend their individuality to the table. Get to know them and their specializations here: 

Paulina Paige Ortega, visual artist 

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She first made waves in the fashion scene when she was tapped by Uniqlo to create t-shirt designs inspired by the Philippines, under the UT collection "Feel the Sea."

Apart from this, Ortega creates her own sartorial works such as scarves and even a limited-edition pamaypay, which featured her colorful, minimalist drawings. Her portfolio boasts of various commissioned works such as logos, branding designs, collages, and her very own paintings. “My immediate source of inspiration for the designs was very personal to me. I grew up, for the most part, in a very tropical, beachy sort of environment in Cebu, where the beach is a quick 30-minute drive from the city,” she tells Esquire about her inspiration for the Uniqlo tees. 

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Follow Paulina Paige Ortega on Instagram or visit her portfolio.  

Mario Genoveza, photographer

Genoveza’s photos make a case for the dramatic effect of clean lines and solid colors. Normally, he does fashion photography, with models donning interesting pieces in 'awkward' but visually appealing poses. Now, he’s based in Melbourne where he continues to practice his photography.

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Follow Mario Genoveza on Instagram or visit his portfolio.

Marita Fe Ganse, designer

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As a veteran model, Ganse is no stranger to the local fashion industry, but it is little known that she dabbles in design as well.

Based on what can be gleaned from local online shop Eairth, which Ganse frequently models for, she frequently creates fabulous quilts for the brand, as seen below. The quilts are hand-stitched and dyed using natural pigments. Eairth is the brainchild of fashion designer Melissa Dizon. The sustainable brand offers “imperfect,” “lived-in” clothes that reflect Ganse’s signature carefree look.

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Follow Marita Fe Ganse on Instagram.

Ralph Mendoza, photographer

Ralph Mendoza's works typically zone in on overlooked elements, whether it’s a blink of an eye, an unexpected subject in cool sunglasses, or the interesting play of shadow and light. Life’s little moments take centerstage once his camera shoots them. Mendoza has worked for various publications as well as local and international fashion brands.

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Follow Ralph Mendoza on Instagram or visit his portfolio.

Isabel Santos, visual artist 

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As a descendant of famous contemporary artist Malang Santos, Isabel Santos' knack for visual arts comes naturally. Despite this, she's set on making a name for herself. Santos is carving her own niche in the art scene by employing mixed media that explore various emotions that intensify the banality of everyday life. Aside from her traditional artworks, Santos also runs an online shop that creates pins, where she features adorable illustrations of her pet dogs

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Follow Isabel Santos on Instagram or visit her portfolio.

Renzo Navarro, photographer

Can a moment suspended in time be filled with energy? Navarro certainly thinks so. The photographer’s works often capture the subject in action, making for candid shots with a raw, unhinged, and sometimes ghostly feel. Navarro often does fashion photography, but he also captures moments in the metro’s busy streets that represent the larger story of life in Manila.  

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Follow Renzo Navarro on Instagram or visit his portfolio.

Feanne, fabric print designer

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It’s not often that we hear of someone who specializes in fabric prints, but this is exactly Feanne’s forte. Fabric printing was something she was bent on pursuing since her college years, but her love for drawing had begun in childhood. Today, she draws inspiration from nature, resulting in earthy, tropical prints that transcend trends. As per accessory brand Hey Jow, each print goes through a painstaking process of drawing, scanning, and printing, before a fabric print is finalized. Her fabrics are seen on scarves, bags, kimonos, and other forms of wearable art.

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Follow Feanne on Instagram or visit her portfolio

Isabel Weber, visual artist 

Cute, colorful, and undoubtedly youthful, Weber’s illustrations are the epitome of every teenager’s idealistic yet cynical outlook in life. Most times, her drawings feature smiley girls in otherworldly settings, but a closer look will reveal a certain world-weariness such as in the image of a naked girl with a worried look on her face, or the image of the modern female hustler. The latter was among Weber’s designs for Uniqlo’s UT collection, titled, "The Art of The Philippines."

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Follow Isabel Weber on Instagram or visit her portfolio.

Mara Manalo, interior and production designer

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From rustic restaurants, popstar photo shoots, to luxe boutique interiors, Mara Manalo’s portfolio is bursting with variety and is a testament to her versatile skillset. This interior designer/production designer can curate any kind of space with the right props, lighting, and other elements that give life to a brand's personality.

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Follow Mara Manalo on Instagram or visit her portfolio

Johanna Velasco, Mark Deutsch, and Karina Cuizon, creative studio 

Childlike innocence and a perpetual wonder towards everyday life is very much the theme of Cebu-based creative studio Happy Garaje. Founded in 2009 by Johanna Velasco and Mark Deutsch, the studio later welcomed Karina Cuizon in 2015. The team flexes a bevy of services such as creative direction, illustration, graphic design, animation, and even sculpture & installation. Happy Garaje also has its own toy workshop where one can find nostalgia-inducing wooden toys. 

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Follow Happy Garaje on Instagram or visit the official website

Chesleigh Nofiel, visual artist  

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The Philippines’ beautiful islands have always served as inspiration for many, but rarely does one take notice of those that are endemic to the country. Nofiel’s botanical works put the spotlight on these previous species. He features various flora of the Philippines rendered in vibrant colors. The attention to detail is quite remarkable, lending a surreal effect to whichever material it is laid on, like a lovely canvas bag, for example, or a pair of sneakers. But aside from Philippine flowers, Nofiel also has other species as his subjects. 

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Follow Chesleigh Nofiel on Instagram.

Mikayla Teodoro, puppet and set designer 

According to an interview with Young Star, Teodoro started her career in the theater industry as an actress at five years old. Now, she finds herself working behind the scenes by creating beautiful set designs and well-crafted props. She was at the helm of local productions No Filter (The Sandbox Collective) and This Is Our Youth (Red Turnip). She also had a hand in The Lion King’s Manila leg of the tour and the recently staged Potted Potter. One of her passions is to revive the lost art of puppetry in the Philippines. She is the artistic director of Puppet Theater Manila. Currently, she is taking up her MA in Design for Performance, specializing in Puppetry, at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.

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Follow Mikayla Teodoro on Instagram

This story originally appeared on Townandcountry.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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