#GM2015: Ten Years of Graphika Manila!

Yes, Graphika is now on its 10th year and it's bigger and better! My first Graphika was on 2007 held at the Centerstage Cinema of SM Mall of Asia. There were only about a couple of hundred of participants and it was so cool being with the people in the industry which as not that big at that time. I attended 5 out of 9 Graphikas before and this year I made sure that i won't miss the event. Because it's a milestone, they expanded the conference into two-days with double the number of speakers, too. Together with me were my college mates Tennyl, Jane, Joseph and Lej. My blog entry for this year came late because I had a lot of travels recently. I'll feature here photos from our instagram account and some anecdotes a.k.a. live tweets that day.

A photo posted by Ced Zabala (@cedzabala) on

Jan 31, 2015 - Day 1. I went 3 hours early as usual, and was one of the first few people in line outside SMX. The waiting paid off and we got great seats! There's nothing really new worth saying about the conference, but i applaud the organizers for the good control of the crowd. The conference kit was nice. When I got the GM Book, i was happy to see my artwork :) Tennyl and I bought the limited edition T-shirt with a free GM2013 Book. When we browsed the book, i was totally surprised to see again one of my artworks. I forgot that I submitted that year because i wasn't able to attend due to the change of schedule from August to February. These are the two artworks that got included in the GM Books.

Day 1 started with a throwback. The first presenter was also the speaker on the first Graphika that i attended. The Asylum, a Design studio based on Singapore, takes a multi-disciplinary creative approach by integrating branding and spatial design. Represented by Chris Lee, he showed great humor with their process and outputs and proved that being a designer is a lot of fun. Here's my favorite lines from his talk: Design is Global. Design is Multidisciplinary. Design is Collaborative. Design is Adaptive. With my 8 years of experience in design, i truly believe in that visuals are a universal language. It adapts with new technology and inspires and in return be inspired by different cultures and nations.

The second speaker came also from Singapore, Machineast. The team is an awesome duo of Reza and Fizah (Malaysian) who created this year's visual identity for Graphika. They showed us how they came up with the concept, like how they were inspired by their visit here in the Philippines last year and discovered Halo-Halo. Check out the creative process of their work in their Behance page. I love the contrast between the two which, when combined, has a lovely combination. Reza is into the black and gold metallic sharp and clean style while Fiza is more into the light pastel, girlish style. Both worlds collided with the Graphika Manila project and it inspired me to learn more 3D in the future.

They also expressed the importance of Collaboration and Sharing your work to others because you'll never know where it will lead you. I'm a testimony to that. I started with nothing and now I can't believe i'm working for the City Mayor's office. This pushes me to accept more opportunities so i can expand my network, and who knows what type of projects awaits me in the future.

After their talk, it was time for a lunch break. It has been my tradition to have my Graphika Lunch at Tokyo-Tokyo, so we ate there. After our quick break, we have to rush back so we can have good seats.

A photo posted by Tennyl Dehm Canlas (@tennyldehm) on

Kicking off the afternoon session is Pomme Chan, a Thai Graphic designer / Illustrator who studied and worked in London. Returning back Bangkok, she pursued illustrative works for big companies like Sony, MTV, Volkswagen, and Mercedes-Benz. I really love her hand-drawn, feminine style which reminded me of last year's speaker Hello Zso. Her style is organic and simply eye-candy. She ventured into package design and fashion too. She's a quirky girl and was a lot of fun.

During the question and answer portion, she was asked how to find your own art style. She said that style is overrated. Try drawing everyday and when you look back at the pages, you will discover your own style. I realized that whatever we draw, it's never the same with others because we have our own set of inspirations and ideas and the mere stokes of the pen or brush and colour choice will reflect our own artistic identity. You just have to practice and soon you'll develop your own style.

The next speaker said he was the odd one out of all the speakers coz he's not a designer. Leeroy New, an Installation artist, really stood out for me. I've been following his works since his early years and i just loved him! He's also a Mindanaoan like me, too! He shared his childhood stories like his fondness in weird alien-looking figures. Now, he's famous with his artworks featuring blobs, drips, spikes, and extra-terrestrial-inspired configurations.

His art tends to start with a small concept and he allows it to develop into a bigger form. He creates accessories with toys he bought in Divisoria, then it would evolve into head dresses, costumes, and furniture, performance art until it expands to architectural installations. He's loyal to his materials and he really shows great determination in his craft. He's a smart dude and I was really starstruck when i met him in person ^_^ Btw, he also did some costumes for Lady Gaga.

The next speaker is Sid Medrazo of 88 Storey films, a videography and Production studio who is famous for advertisements like the "Coke Beat" which was very popular during our high school days. Sid talked about the "Art of 30 seconds". He's got mad skills in his discipline f'sho. And the last speaker for Day 1 was London-based typographer and calligrapher, Seb Lester. His works includes the design of typefaces for Intel, British Airways and H&M. We're in awe when he showed his stacks of moleskins filled with doodles and calligraphy. His instagram account @seblester is famous for recreating famous logos and titles such as Harry Potter, Coca Cola, and Game of Thrones using pen and ink on paper. I love his dedication to letterforms and in my part, i would like to explore more with different letter styles and do it myself. I'll buy myself a fountain pen soon. During the meet and greet, he signed my name in script style which was awesome!

A video posted by Seb Lester (@seblester) on

And that wraps day 1 of Graphika Manila 2015! I had inspiration overload and the next day surely gave me more! You can post some comments below or read about my previous Graphika experience with the links after the comment box. Click here for Day 2!

Edit: Check out my buddy, Tennyl's video of our trip :)

Graphika Manila 2015 Experience Part 1 from TDC Prod House on Vimeo.

Powered by Blogger.