Affordable Filipino Art Gifts for Balikbayans

If you’re looking for unique, non-mass-produced & affordable Filipino gifts for your balikbayan relatives & friends, may I suggest checking out some items from my shop? 🙂 I admit that in my early years as a graphic designer, it was always a struggle for me to create work that was distinctly Pinoy (unlike my husband Arnold who is an expert at it — it was all over his TEDx talk too). When I started drawing though, the Filipino themes in my mostly pop culture themed work came out naturally. Whodathunkit? So here’s a list of the stuff I have that I believe would make nice gifts for relatives & friends based abroad who may be missing the Philippines. 🙂

Philippine Fruits and Flowers Note Card Set

 

The design for this note card set is a pattern composed of Philippine fruits that I remember eating as a kid – atis, macopa, rambutan, chesa, duhat, mabolo, santol, sinigwelas, calamansi, etc. It’s sad that most of these fruits are not commonly found in grocery stores so I felt I had to pay tribute to and raise some awareness for them somehow by way of these drawings. A Pinoy Fruits sticker set (below) is also available at the shop.

The Passenger Series Watercolor Art Postcard Set

As you know the traffic situation in our country is ~ horrible ~ so I tried to find some positive in it and ended up drawing fictitious love stories emerging from random commuting encounters. The paintings are done in watercolor and the cards are available in the shop (Jeepney / Bus / MRT). You may also find them at Hey Kessy UP Town Center and Common Room in Katipunan & Alabang Town Center.

Philippine Food Sticker Sets

filipino food stickers

My Pinoy Food stickers were born out of a love for eating! Hehe. Seriously, I grew up eating good Filipino comfort food everyday as my mom is Kapampangan and, to me, she cooks the best Pinoy meals on the planet. <3  I made these just for fun over a year ago but I’m happy to see that others have enjoyed these sets as well. There are five sets all in all – Almusal, Kakanin, Merienda, Ulam, and Panghimagas. Available in my shop and also at Hey Kessy UP Town Center and Common Room in Katipunan & Alabang Town Center.

The Local Music and Indie Films Art Postcard Series

This print series features illustrations inspired by local films “Ang Nawawala” and “Rakenrol” (by my friends, filmmakers Marie Jamora and Quark Henares, respectively) and music (by my ’90s rocker pals & collaborators the Eraserheads).  You can find the postcards and art prints at the webshop and, again, at Hey Kessy UP Town Center and Common Room in Katipunan & Alabang Town Center. Incidentally, you guys should also pick up DVDs of the films as they will make wonderful gifts!

Hey Kessy Filipino Food Fiesta Washi Tape

And finally, how can I not include this washi tape! I was very excited when Hey Kessy approached me & fellow Filipino artist Megan Dino (you guys should check out her portraits & merch) to collaborate on a special washi design featuring Filipino fiesta food! Meg & I coordinated via Viber and drew Pinoy food commonly eaten at fiestas — lechon, sisig, kare-kare, pancit palabok, sapin-sapin, halo-halo, bar-b-q, etc — and submitted them to Hey Kessy who turned it into a washi tape for us. It turned out really cute, right? I will stock them in the shop soon but for now they are available at Hey Kessy branches at UP Town Center and Alabang Town Center.

Our Coloring Books – Local Color and Flutterby

Local Color is a coloring book with Philippine fantasy-themed drawings (diwatas, engkantos, etc) by my husband Arnold, and Flutterby contains my drawings culled from childhood daydreams. You may order these online from our publisher, Chamber Shell Publishing via their website and FB page. (While you’re at it, please also check out my husband’s graphic novels over there!)

Hope you guys are able to find a Pinoy pasalubong gift idea in this list. I am in the process of brainstorming for more items to design and draw so please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section. 😀

 

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My first solo exhibit – “Girl Jam” at Pablo Gallery BGC

Girl Jam exhibit Cynthia Bauzon Arre Pablo Gallery

Happy New Year! I know this is late but I wanted to tell you a bit about my first solo exhibit, “Girl Jam” which is still on display at Pablo Galleries Fort but only until Saturday, January 6. If you were to tell my 18-year-old Fine Arts student self that I will be having my own show some years — okay, decades — later, I wouldn’t have been able to believe it because back then I wasn’t really serious about pursuing painting. I mean, I drew and painted a lot for school but my heart was bent on working in the advertising industry. Which was exactly what happened, but I digress…

A few years ago, when I started revisiting watercolors, I posted these practice sketches on Instagram —

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A friend from the music scene days, Indi, wrote me privately to say that she would love to see me paint local female musicians. I loved the idea but I wasn’t confident enough at the time so I said to her (and apparently to the Universe?), “maybe someday.” I forgot about it but somehow I got obsessed with drawing portraits and capturing accurate likenesses, as you will see if you scroll down to around 2-3 years ago on my IG.

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Drawing and painting everyday I really did improve. By late 2016, when I had already been selling art prints online for a year I was trying to think of what series to draw next and then I remembered that conversation with Indi. So I asked a female musician friend, Myrene of Sandwich, if I could paint her and she said yes which was awesome. <3 When I had lunch with my friends, writer Chinggay Labrador & artist Christina Dy, I mentioned that I was going to make a postcard series starring female musicians but then CDy said, “postcards? Why not have an exhibit instead?” I was surprised because it was an idea playing in my head too but I guess I needed a boost from someone else? She encouraged me to contact a gallery then & there. Pablo was top of mind since I had already taken part in two group shows at their Cubao X gallery years ago and I also remember promising the owners, Yo & Osie that I will have my first ever show with them. So when I texted them, it was an instant yes and my show was almost immediately scheduled! No turning back anymore.

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That was in December 2016. I had, roughly, a year to prepare but I still had to figure out what style to do and what materials to use. I practiced with different mediums and decided to use Turner Acryl Gouache since the bright opaque colors suited the look I had in mind. I purchased my initial Acryl Gouache set from ArtWhale 2 or so years ago but they were almost used up so I decided to buy big tubes of White, Perm. Red, Perm. Yellow, and Ultramarine Blue plus a couple of small tubes of Burnt Umber. All the colors I used are mixes of those colors. (Btw All the canvases were purchased from ArtWhale as well. They were a great big help to me. <3)

Once I had the look figured out it was time to decide on my muses. I made a list but I also asked my friends Buddy & Raymund (formerly of the Eheads) for suggestions on who else to draw — particularly from the younger set — since I wasn’t that immersed in the local scene anymore. After finalizing my list I finally got to work. This was in July 2017.

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I have to be honest, I was thrilled to be working on a personal passion project but there were also times when I would cry out of frustration & exhaustion. Sometimes I felt like giving up, but it was the thought of making my family & also Arnold proud that pushed me to go on. In the end I decided to just let go because I know that I gave it my all.

Since the show is still up I would like to invite you to check out the paintings in person over at Pablo Gallery, South of Market Residences, 11th Avenue, Bonifacio Global City, which is just a couple of blocks away from BHS and Serendra. 🙂

But if you can’t make it, you can view my IG for a few photos plus more backstories. Also, here’s a quick peek via this Twitter thread. 🙂

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I'm Cynthia Bauzon-Arre, a Filipino watercolor artist & graphic designer. I live in QC with my graphic novelist husband Arnold and our friendly marmalade tabby Abbas. This blog has been chronicling my life, likes, and loves since 2001. [ more ]

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