How it all started
I am Luisa Fernandez, an eighteen year-old student from Manila, Philippines.I started getting involved with design work through my love for fashion. As a middle school student, I was a fan of drawing females and designing their outfits. I spent my free time drawing huge collections of clothes, which got the attention of my classmates. They frequently browsed through my “portfolio” of clothing designs (which I ambitiously branded with my initials, “LF”). Having more people interested with my work, I asked for the collaboration of my three other sisters, who were also passionate about fashion. I continuously asked for fashion advice and constantly forced them to rank and “rate” my designs. Their collaboration, to my surprise, brought my talent to a larger audience (and of course flattered me at a young age). I remember one of my teachers asking for her own copy of the design portfolio I made with the collaboration of my sister, and I also remember my seatmate reproducing and giving away copies of my work to our classmates. I guess these little things built my confidence and somehow signaled that I may have the potential to create.
My humble yet triumphant beginnings as a seven-year-old “fashion designer” somehow told me that I could be good in the field of design. But as I grew up, it was not the praise that got me to excel in design or in art class. In formal sketching, painting and drafting/ interior design classes in school, which were all required by the school’s curriculum, I gave my all because I loved and enjoyed doing art. Being a grade-conscious and a perfectionist student, I scraped off all my energy for all my plates in school, which then consistently made me happy with my output. However, throughout the whole experience of learning in these formal classes, I realized I wasn’t diligently doing the plates for the grade but rather, for own self expression and leisure. I found it rather a thrill to create stuff.In fact, there came a point in my young life where I started being fond of creating huge birthday posters for each of the members of my family. Out of my own free will, I kept myself busy with those kinds of design projects. Doing this continuously, I developed a legitimate love for art.
Fast forward to today:
I am an incoming sophomore in a Fine Arts degree program in Information Design. To be quite honest, I am not a huge Photoshop/Illustrator fanatic yet. I am still not handling any computer-related design work, because I have yet to complete my basic and core subjects such as English, Literature and Language before entering my majors. However, during the last leg of my freshman year, I was able to find a new hobby to cope up with the life-without-design-subjects, and that is, water coloring! Without any background in water coloring, I ordered a set of Sakura watercolors and just simply played with it.
At a certain point in my freshman life, I felt like I had no relaxation anymore. I was not only tired with the school work but also with myself for losing the artist in me. Hence, I bought myself a set of quality student-grade watercolor and started watching and reading watercolor tutorials. I practiced doing loose florals in between homework (flowers are my favorite subject in paintings) and I transformed my study desk into a creative workspace (back then, it only contained one watercolor set and a sketchbook though).
Frequently practicing and searching for inspiration, I gradually upgraded my materials, particularly the sketch paper which I thought was suitable for watercolor. In my breaks in school, I went around art shops and took a portion of my allowance for brushes and paper. Spending my breaks this way went on for about one week, until I was finally on a semester break. At that time, I was able to learn watercolor more and accept watercolor projects from family members. However, things got more systematic after the break. Due to the accumulation of my artworks, I decided to create an art account in Instagram and there I found greater learning opportunities. January of this year, I took a basic watercolor workshop under Ms. Anina Rubio, one of the Philippines’ most respected calligraphers and watercolor artists in Instagram. Two months after, I joined a similar workshop under Ms. Paola Esteron, an artist also renowned for her skills in Calligraphy and Floral Watercolor. As far as formal lessons, I guess those are the only ones I was fortunate to have. But up to this day, I am continuing to teach myself and enhance my skills.
Everyday, I wake up feeling like I need to paint. I guess the one thing that inspires me to be creative is my desk. Aside from the fact that I am currently handling an art account in Instagram, I am inspired to continually create because I have a space where I could paint in ease. The view in front of my bed is my workplace so when I wake up, I feel like my day should start with an art session. However, my schedule does not always permit this to happen. Most of the days, I’m only able to paint once I’m done with schoolwork or a few minutes before I start with schoolwork. To me, my body of work is most influenced by the compression of schoolwork in a week.
As mentioned earlier, I encountered painting because I “lost myself” in the load of work I had to immerse myself in as a college freshman. Painting allowed me to reconnect with myself and my inner ambitions. It somehow helped me bring back my seven-year-old-self who carried the passion for fashion design wherever I was. As an eighteen year-old, I may have eschewed my dreams of having a fashion career but the passion to create never fades in me. This day, I am motivated, first and foremost, by my family, who believes that I am destined to pursue art. Secondly, my dreams of landing a stable job as an illustrator, stationer and graphic designer (or even owning my own illustration and design agency) motivates to keep practicing and learning. I want to enhance my skills and bring them to a level where I can cater to a greater mass of people. I do not want painting to remain just a hobby. I want it to go far, extend service to people and be utilized for a reason and purpose.