We have just recently introduced a new theme here in GatheringBooks called Arts Corner and I am proud to share with you some of the creative work done by a former student of mine, Mr. Archie Geotina from the Philippines. Welcome to GatheringBooks, Archie!
I understand that you have created a few murals, Archie. Do give us a bit of background on some of the works that were quite meaningful to you and how you created them.
Some of the Murals I’ve done were for purely commercial purposes and some were done with true gusto of just expressing my art – and some are a mix of both. The ones that were a mix of both were the most fulfilling ones.
There are too many stories to share about the wall pieces I made and I don’t want to bore readers. I’ve done pieces for big companies and I’ve also done a few for independent ones. The ones I’d like to share with you would be the 2 murals for Plains and Prints x Rajo Laurel’s campaign. At first it was done on a free wall in Libis and my mission was to express Rajo’s sketches and express them through my interpretation with the theme of the fabrics as Jujiin and Paolo Castro filmed me. Then I get a call that they want me to do the same piece for the event itself. I agreed only if I didn’t have to do the exact same piece again but still use the same elements. It was both challenging and fulfilling. That being said, the event and the piece was a success and I was very proud of myself that day. Hehe. One piece was called “When I Grow Up” and one piece was “Make Something Out Of Nothing.”
As one of the premiere graffiti artists in the Philippines, could you share with us what ‘graffiti art’ essentially means? What made you choose this particular form of artistic expression? What is the creative process like for you when you create your graffiti artwork?
I wouldn’t call myself premiere… There are others out there that deserve the light as well. Some far better skilled. I just keep myself busy. Graffiti is usually scribbles, writings, or characters – actually anything expressed in a public space – sometimes with permission, often times with no permission. It’s rooted from hip – hop and B – boy culture. In local terms, it came from a need for some people to find an identity for themselves pseudo or actual.
It was also conceptually for me an attack on my insecurity that my works are not good enough to be exhibited in a gallery. Also personally it was rehabilitation, it was an emancipation that there isn’t just one way to achieve something. Certain spots and certain pieces are like puzzles. You have to figure your own way and style on how to reach or express them. The best part was being able to be like Batman. The worst/best part is the thrill. Creative processes are usually from the top of my head but in the earlier stages I sketched my pieces.
Here is a fascinating video clip done of Archie’s Rajo work as directed by Jujiin Samonte.
What is it like to be a creative artist in the Philippines? Give us a brief sketch of what the community is like.
To be a creative in the Philippines is like having a giant book of scratch and sniff. You can choose which scent or scene you want to experience, you can scratch and experience just a whiff of that flavor and it is easy. But of course that is only just the surface. You have to be honest and really passionate and knowledgeable about the flavors you want to immerse yourself in to be able to be listened to or respected let alone be productive in these different experiences. Take note that you have to choose carefully. Dabble in too much of everything and you spread yourself too thin. Dabble too little and you basically don’t count.
People will say creatives are underpaid and under – rated in the Philippines. Both are true in one way or another. But there is also the fact that you are only worth as much as the amount of work you put in your craft and as much as you would show. I think it is the creative’s responsibility as to how far they would let themselves broaden their horizons.
The community of creatives we have is a gold mine for any foreign employers. Be it Photographers, Djs , painters, actors, what have you. This is a fact. We produce work at par if not better than the others plus we cost a little less (only because we are based in a third world country). But do take note that you must respect the artists. We will work for food yes. But it would be disrespectful to think that if we can produce A+ work we are not worth more than peanuts. I’m actually very proud to have worked with a lot of the creatives here locally both in media and non-media venues all those people are Gold.
I know that you illustrated a picture book for children, could you share with us how that project came about?
It was proposed to me by my Psychology Professor, Cindy Gealogo. I was to illustrate a story she wrote about how the diaspora affected the lives of a middle class family and how we should think differently of gender responsibilities and gender roles especially if you are to take care of a family that is not actually complete in the holistic sense. The mother is an OFW and the father is left to take care of his two boys having to take care of both responsibilities of the father and the mother. The struggle lies in them experiencing how the neighborhood and the children see their father in this role. It was a story written around 2007 to 2010 and was only recently published. I believe it was quite ahead of it’s time in terms of the message it wishes to convey. Especially now with all this talk on same sex marriage and non – traditional families. It would be a good relatable read for families, broken families, same sex marriage with families and OFWs.
The illustrations i did for that were cartoony, but scanned to be rough to the eye as you would understand when you read the book. It is a simple book that opens one’s mind.
Was it a very different experience illustrating picture books for kids? What are some of the adjustments that you had to make seeing that you’re creating for a different target audience?
I’ve been dreaming to draw something and have it published. So that in itself for me was a treat. The adjustments I had to do were basically done because I had no experience in it whatsoever. I didn’t know that my paintings had to be a certain size for the scanner to recognize them etc. and also, I think i had to do 1 painting per page so that was an exercise and it was also exhausting. I had to soften my characters and my concepts also for the kids. The book and illustrations were screened in public schools and were actually approved by kids.
If I were to do one again, I would have far greater experience compared to 3 years ago when I did it. I would also want to be the one to lay – out the book and design the whole thing. So I’m open to another project like this.
What are some of your most recent projects? Any upcoming ones?
My next is an exhibit in NOVA gallery in Makati. I also have an apparel brand coming out with my girlfriend called Pointless. And I also run and own HeadPlus garments a manufacturing company that supplies shirts, uniforms, or corporate giveaways. And while those are happening I would be collaborating with certain individuals and some brands here in the Philippines before the year ends. Added to this, In 6 months I would be on my way as a street food tycoon (pun intended) owning a bbq stand and owning 3 street food carts around Quezon City.
For those who wish to contact Archie, you can reach him at archiegeotina (at) gmail (d0t) com and his Twitter account is @chichimonster.