Aloha! Kumusta! I'm Rose!
I was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. My pronouns are she/her.
Art is a great way to create space for joy.
I believe this because of my experience with my creative process, and through other people's works of art as well.
By "art", what I mean is that it's not just limited to drawing or painting - it can also encompass dance, theater, films, literature and even food!
In terms of my creative process, when I draw, there are times when the results surprise and delight me.
Of course, there are also "meh" days, such as when the drawing looks so bad that I just have a laugh about it!
For me, art is like nature - it provides a respite from the everyday stresses of life.
Whether it's at home, where sometimes one may not get along well with their family members; or at work, where one may feel like everyone's relying on them because they get the work done but some coworkers or managers just don't care.
Or with what's happening all over the world, especially climate change.
This is why I hope to bring a sense of relaxation and happiness with others through my art. I also want to be able to support the causes that help the fight against climate change, protect wildlife, and advocate for equality and justice.
Currently, I express these through my two main projects:
1) The Idyllic Scenes Collection - a series of watercolor paintings that got started one afternoon in July 2020.
Peacefulness (2020). 10x10 watercolor
It shows animals in lighthearted settings - a fox and a cat playing on a seesaw, a kangaroo flying a kite while hanging out with its buddies, etc.
Even with the covid-19 pandemic, creating this series makes me feel happy. The paintings also serve as a reminder for me to remember that uplifting feeling.
Nowadays, when my clients buy a painting and/or prints from this series, they tell me about the happiness and the emotional connection that they feel from them. It's quite humbling.
2) Parody comic inspired by Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2018) by Céline Sciamma. This film is one of my favorites in terms of story and visuals. The fan comics also started mid-pandemic, and helps me come up with something silly and hilarious so that I don't take life too seriously.
My Story & How I Became an Artist
I used to draw Super Saiyan Son Goku, Sailormoon, or Hiei from Yuyu Hakusho often as a child. I watched them on tv. I'd buy those small trading cards sold in mom-and-pop stores.
My mom, however, wasn't quite supportive. "You're only wasting paper! Nothing will come out of it", she used to say. She wanted me to focus more on academic achievements.
This was hard for me to do, because I wasn't good at Math and I didn't like it.
Anyways, I kept drawing on the non-printed side of cereal boxes so that I wouldn't get scolded for wasting paper. When I got bored in Math class, I'd draw at the back of my notebook. My Math teacher noticed it and told my mom that I wasn't paying attention!
Eventually, I started making my own comics in a notebook.
I never considered studying Fine Arts in college because I thought that it was only for people who had the money to pay for the tuition and numerous art materials. Instead, I studied Entrepreneurship so that I could create my own business.
In 2008, I had to move to Hawai'i due to family circumstances. It was quite a drastic change.
I took up Business Admin at another school because I thought that I needed to get a job asap and help my parents. In my heart, though, I also felt that I really wanted to pursue art.
During that time, art took a backseat in my life. Yet, I still kept drawing whenever I had free time because that's what made me feel happy.
I engaged in side projects as much as I could: I collaborated and illustrated a Naruto fan fiction written by my friend from high school; entered a manga-drawing contest at an anime convention in Sacramento in 2009; volunteered in a local artist group called Pen & Ink Works to help teach kids how to draw in 2010 and illustrated a sci-fi story in a manga anthology called Hachi Maru Hachi in 2013.
In 2015, I experienced something very difficult concerning my sexuality. Prior to this, I already knew that I wasn't straight, but I was having a tough time reconciling that within myself.
I hadn't come out to anyone because I didn't feel safe. I didn't know anyone that I could talk to about it.
I wished that I was 'normal'. I didn't know how to love myself. I was already feeling unhappy for a long time - from the expectations that I've been burdened with since childhood, not being allowed to nor be encouraged to express myself through art.
I felt like I wanted to be 'somewhere else', but I had no idea exactly where that was.
One night, I approached my friend whom I somehow felt comfortable coming out to. He asked, "why do you need to tell other people?" My reply was, "Because this has never happened to me before! I never had anyone to talk to about this!"
Eventually, I was fortunate enough to meet people in my life who are understanding and became lifelong friends with. I took a close friend's advice to take good care of myself and sought professional help from a therapist. I learned to love and accept myself over time.
I don't talk about this topic often, but I hope that somehow, talking about it here helps someone who's going through a similar situation. When I was having a tough time, reading other people's coming out experiences made me feel better and less alone.
After graduating, I worked as an admin assistant, a tutor, a call center rep for a fast-food company, etc. to pay the bills. I kept making art after work and a few years later, I decided to create my art business. Creating and managing the business side of art while working another job is not easy, but I'm doing the best that I can.
Through my art business, I want to make a difference in the world. I love nature - it helps me feel energized and relaxed. I also love animals, and it makes me feel sad whenever I hear about a vulnerable species being threatened.
As much as possible, I use earth-friendly materials in my products. Additionally, a portion of every sale goes towards supporting wildlife conservation efforts and restoring forests to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Through art, I create a space for joy not only for myself, but also for others.