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In the world of art, where creativity knows no bounds and the canvas speaks a universal language, the journey of an artist is both profoundly personal and inspiringly universal. This narrative holds true for Lee, whose remarkable transition from the media industry to a full-time freelance artist embodies a story of courage, discovery, and the relentless pursuit of passion.

The Genesis of an Artist: Lee, your transition from the media industry to a full-time freelance artist is both inspiring and bold. Can you walk us through what sparked this significant change in your career path?

It was my dream to be a Creative Director of an agency/ studio so I applied for different corporate jobs back then, I learned so much and got connected to genuine individuals whom I still work with. It felt like I wasn’t myself back then so I decided to shift. When I transitioned to freelance, I discovered my potential as an artist, the infinite possibilities of making things without anyones approval. I found myself. 

After my journey of trying things alone, I think its time to revisit that childhood dream of mine and help people practice their passion.

Nature as Muse: Your work is deeply influenced by your journeys through nature. How do these natural landscapes shape your creative process, and can you share a moment or place in nature that has profoundly impacted your work?

I used to do a lot of portraits with watercolor + digital illustration. Observed peoples behavior in cafes and sketch them during my spare time. Now I am more fascinated with nature in general. How water moves, how the sun affects the light in different times of the day (where I sometimes get my color pallete) , and discovering different kinds of plants, etc. 

A Multifaceted Canvas: From illustration and merchandise design to painting commercial murals, your portfolio is remarkably diverse. How do you navigate between these different mediums, and does one hold a more special place in your heart?

Photography and Illustration was my first love. Back when content creation wasn’t a thing, It is natural for me to create and document everything from personal adventures to work. I posted all of them. I did everything from graphic design, photography, and illustration. Just to practice and find my own work or style. Then a friend of mine aksed me if I could do a mural for a barbershop and I got scared but said yes anyway. It took me hours with that small wall but I'm glad I said yes to that opportunity. Because of that I am now making bigger murals everywhere. 

I crave to always be better, not perfect, to continually improve on how good I can get.

Now applying this mentality to everything I want to create. “Ano pwede gawin dito, saan ko ito pwede ilagay? endless what ifs” and endless exproration. always curious. 

The biggest challenge for me is to have the discipline to counterbalance all my passion projects.

Collaborative Ventures: Your artistic voice has resonated with major brands and led to unique collaborations. How do you ensure that your artistic integrity is preserved when partnering with brands, and what has been your favorite collaboration to date?

I'm glad that brands now are noticing my work after years of sharing it online. They get me for my art style and not because they just need an artist to paint their wall.  For corporate murals, the important factor is communication. A constant feedback to make sure that the vision is aligned.

Proud of these collaborations:

International shoe brand: I made an animated mural for the store front - a challenge

Coffee Roastery: They are a local coffee brand that support local artists. Full creative freedom and trust. they handle artists well in terms of marketing and events. 

Bakery: also full creative freedom . I’ve been doing murals for their stores (3 stores na and soon to be more)

International Burger Joint: We did a huge hoarding, mural, and merchandise. It was a challenge to have constant revisions and the communication was hard mainly because it was during the pandemic. 

Artistic Signature: Every artist has a signature, a unique stamp that distinguishes their work. How would you describe your signature style, and how has it evolved over the years?

My signature art style would always have organic forms that flow through the canvas. Images that resembles the sea or plants but using color palettes I picked up while watching the sunset/ sunrise. Some paletes I get from birds I see in the morning or plants that are iridescent when you point light at them during night time. My forms evolved from dark scribbles or brush marks, to colorful blobs, to cleaner and brighter lines, and now adding more layers and textures to my subjects. 

The Pinto Art Museum Feature: Being selected as one of the 19 artists for Pinto Art Museum is a significant honor. What does this recognition mean to you, and how do you hope your work will impact the viewers at the museum?

I have always dreamed of having an exhibit there and meet the masters. I shoot my shot when they announced the open call. Nung una sabi ko pa “totoo ba ito?” kasi ang layo ng trabaho ko sa mga naka display sa Museo pero sabi ko “Ito na yun so kailangan ko galingan". The museum became a gateway for me to discover new art, a constant exposure to experts, inspiration, possibilities. 

Inspirations and Influences: Beyond nature, what other sources of inspiration drive your creativity? Are there any artists, movements, or personal experiences that have shaped your artistic vision?

Andy Warhol - blurring the lines between “high” and “low” art. 

Matisse - color and forms, works are inspired by the world around him.

James Jean - his creations with famous brands; from paintings, to clothes, commercials, and sculptures.

Dan Matutina (Local) - The discipline of designing something with a purpose.

Ramon Orlina (Local) - Being resourceful.

Challenges and Triumphs: Every artist’s journey comes with its set of hurdles. What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career, and how have you overcome them?

Having constant recognition such as this is both a blessing and curse. I am greateful for all these blessings but to have the discipline to constantly juggle all so many things something I have not perfected. Makes me think “Hindi na pwede ang pwede na.I have to be good because people are now watching”. To keep making things that are new to me and my audience. 

Future Horizons: Looking ahead, what are some projects or aspirations you’re eager to explore in your artistic journey? Are there new mediums or themes you’re interested in pursuing?

I'm excited to have a show internationally, have more brand collaborations, and explore different materials as medium. 

Words of Wisdom: Finally, for the aspiring artists who admire your path and may wish to follow in your footsteps, what advice would you offer to them as they navigate the complex world of art and creativity?

Keep on creating. Stay focused on your lane and do not rush everything because you have your own pace. Don’t be afraid to say yes to projects that are unfamiliar or hard. Once you get uncomfortable, it is where growth starts. Continue to evolve. 

Portrait Photos by: Jharwin Castaneda


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