Photos By Cyrus Panganiban

Photos By Cyrus Panganiban

In this age of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where everyone’s psyche is filled to the brim with ideas and events made instantly available by the Internet, one would think there’s no place in our life for art anymore. The young, easily distracted by the fleeting appeal of pop culture and yes, dare we say it, selfies, seems to have lost their connection to the very soul of human society: music, literature, art, and even history.

But are we feeling so disconnected that there seem to be no hope for today and tomorrow’s generation? Not exactly.

All it takes is just a change of perception. The Internet, for all its distractions, is a powerful tool of communication, a very reliable arena for ideas to converge and to be discovered.

This is a fact some budding, and very young “artists of the new generation,” are able to find out for themselves. The Internet has become not just an outlet to discover and explore art, but as an avenue to reach out to a bigger audience. No doubt about it: The Internet has changed the way we consume, view, and make art.

Get to know these young artists whose canvas is the new media.


Digital Portraitist

Mawee Borromeo prefers drawing portraits of women. And it’s not because she has a strong statement to make about feminism, but simply because she thinks drawing men are more difficult.

“There’s something more exciting about drawing women. You can play with their hair, you can play with makeup. For me it feels like dress-up, only you’re drawing it,” said the 22-year-old Multi-media Arts graduate from De La Salle-College of St. Benilde.

Needless to say, fashion is a big influence in Mawee’s art—whimsical illustrations brought to life by a burst of colors, coupled with the most gorgeous hairstyles.

Which is probably why her first subjects were fashion bloggers: Mawee would draw her favorite photos and tag these bloggers on Instagram, her main medium to showcase her art. It is also her outlet for style. “When I see a bag that I can’t afford, I just draw it!”

Mawee’s drawings are very relatable: the colors are always appealing, and her subjects take on a real, but quite dream-like, quality. Much like her audience, this artist appreciates the small things that catches her fancy, and she’s not afraid to express her admiration through her chosen medium.

“I’d draw a fan art if something really catches my attention.”

This talent has captured not only bloggers here and abroad, but also big companies like Goody and Dove, which she has collaborated with for brand-driven activities. And what makes her different from other portrait artists of her generation? Mawee is quick to point out that her art is a modern take of a classic art form.

“I enjoy drawing on my iPad. I can always count on the accessibility of colors, the palettes. It makes it easier for me to draw.”

In the future, Mawee hopes to collaborate with international fashion houses like Kate Spade. With the recognition she’s getting, that’s a dream that’s doesn’t seem so far off.



It would have been easier to call Abbey a calligrapher, what with her perfect handwriting and knowledge of this ancient art form. But she prefers to call herself  a “letterer,” as she “draws” letters as opposed to simply writing them.

“I’m a letterer! I do the art of drawing letters, turning your letters into a visual art form,” she says. Abbey differentiates calligraphy with lettering through free hand. “With calligraphy, there’s a book or module on how to do it. Lettering has more freedom; it gives me more option to experiment.”

She finds inspiration in everything she sees, but mostly she finds it online—a color, a font, a product design, or simply an inspiring passage that prods her to take pen to paper.

Abbey is a creative genius when it comes to lettering, with her designs bordering on girly to retro vintage, preferring saturated colors. But don’t let her free-spirited choices fool you! She’s a workaholic and very systematic with her process, doing strategic planning and product development for most of the week, and drawing for only two days. This system, she admits, was something she took from a former job in an advertising firm, and works well for her, as she has collaborated with large, international companies.

Abbey also teaches calligraphy regularly, for both old and young, and has teamed up with groups like Fully Booked to promote her craft.

And people are definitely noticing her art: Her book, The ABCs of Hand Lettering, launched only this year, is a certified bestseller!


Spatial Artist

Martina has always known she would go into design, having styled sets and done interior design jobs since she was 12. Her first project: a production design for a magazine.

“I’ve been designing since seventh grade,” she says. “Anything that has to do with design, I do it. Like styling a prom or an event.”

At 24, Martina is well on her way to exploring the endless possibilities of designing a space. For her, it’s not just about making a room beautiful, it’s creating an experience—and making sure that her client’s personality is reflected.

"My design is more personal. I combine designs, it’s not so much that you have to be so original but that you want to get a little bit of everything and bring them together to make a solid design.”

Martina has worked with various artists, represented by her group, Substance, by collaborating with fellow artists on working with a concept. She keeps an Instagram and Behance account to showcase her work, but admits that Instagram is where she always posts.

“It makes me look more human. Apart from the designs I do, I get to showcase what I’m doing while doing it,” says the self-confessed workaholic.

A degree holder from the prestigious Philippine School Of Interior Design, Martina enjoys working on new projects such as styling shoots, baptisms, weddings, and birthday parties. She was recognized for a set-up she created for Alabang Town Center’s Salta Summer event, which won second prize in the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) awards.


Pop Artist

It’s hard to define what exactly it is that Toni Potenciano and her Sydney-based partner Gisella Velasco does with Fly Art. It seems like a really rad combination of classic art highlighted by an out-of-the box idea of putting text, more specifically, hip-hop lyrics, on a painting.

“It’s a reflection of this generation. We try to make the things that interest us and incorporate them into what we’ve learned. It’s very middle class, at the same time, very elite. It’s knowing what The Birth of Venus is, and at the same time liking Kanye West,” says Toni.

Simply put, Fly Art produces graphic art pieces of paintings with lyrics—and there’s a statement in that somewhere.

“As much as possible, we want to create an illustration that doesn’t ruin the painting and at the same time has a strong message to tell via lyrics. Fly Art is about juxtaposing R&B and Hip Hop lyrics onto classic art.”

Toni’s art movement is quite interesting, and in so many ways, it is a great takeaway of the whole meme-ness of Internet, and coming up with something beautiful and worth displaying.

The pop art appeal of their work obviously caught the attention of enthusiasts both old and young. Their Tumblr followers tripled almost the same time a French art company also licensed their designs and sold their works in the US and Europe. Fly Art’s IG has more than 10,000 followers.

The whole system of creating their art is interesting, and Toni and Gisella also grow alongside their partnership’s journey. “Our playlist has expanded. We are constantly on the lookout for lyrics that we can incorporate in our work. It can be from a hip-hop song, R&B, soul, but lately we’ve been going into pop. We used to listen to a very limited list of artists, but now we get to appreciate others as well.”

Fly Art chooses their lyrics well, but their greatest message is being able to combine high art with pop; to present the gilded, the golden framed artworks, and level it with the rough, provoking lyrics of the music of the streets.

[By Mae Lorraine Rafols Lorenzo] [Read More