By Hardy Araza, Graphic Designer
Art lives. Art lives in me. It is my hunger for beauty and character that makes me a restless soul of boundless vision.
It seemed like a hobby, but it had eventually become a part of my personal growth as my mind continues to sprout ideas that bring more color to my quirky world.
My first medium was on paper with a pencil or pen. I would usually lock myself at home, with art becoming my form of travel to a far-fetched place in the universe. During class, I would escape to medieval and fantasy worlds by drawing monsters and knights at the back of my notebook.
And so I kept drawing and creating until I entered the college publication as a cartoonist. Then they wanted me to add colors to my comic strips using Adobe Photoshop, a computer program for editing and creating visuals digitally.
Eventually, I was tasked to do layout and graphics for newspapers and magazines and learned graphic design. It was really fun and it became a lot easier to give color to my sketches, put effects that I couldn’t do on paper, and cheaper too, since I don’t have to keep purchasing materials for it. Thanks to the internet, I can upload my work online where it also serves as my portfolio (link: http://soda-kid.tumblr.com)
My passion for design is driven by my passion for expression and individuality. Since I love mixing and matching colors, it became more prominent when I started loving fashion—another channel of expression for me. Moreover, my love for Japanese culture led me to discover their Harajuku fashion scene. I love that they’re very bold and experimental in their clothes, representing the otherworldly nature I had always been drawn to. In 2015, I met a group of of friends who were into streetwear, which I evolved into my own version where I could still play up the loud colors or crazy style but I would make it more contemporary for everyday wear. It broadens my creative vision, adds to my persona as an artist, to get to play this way. It’s not just style—it’s a culture that I embrace; an ever-changing one representing the new age.
But how do I keep up with artistic trends? I don’t exactly follow what’s popular, but rather what’s new to the scene. Popular doesn’t always translate to new. For example, the gesture called “dab” (which is originally a dance move that started from the hip-hop scene) is popular but it’s no longer a new thing. Taking photos in “flat lay” is popular but it’s not new either. What I’ve noticed from people who start trends, especially in art, is that they create something new out of the conventional or take inspiration from it. That way, they are able to innovate. Keeping up with trends is not really hard since the internet is there but the challenge is in keeping it classy and cool.
One of the artistic trends I have grown to appreciate is “Vaporwave.” I never knew of the term until roughly eight months ago, when a friend mentioned it. But unknowingly, I have been embracing almost the same art style which consists of neons, pink colors and pixels since I have been into Japanese culture for years. I fell in love with it in no time.
Vaporwave came from the term “vaporware” which means software. It is an internet subculture and music genre of lo-fi computer sounds and retro-futuristic vibe. And like any other subculture, it has a visual form. Its visual style commonly consists of old school Windows 95 and Mac graphics meshed with shades of pink, screen glitches, Greek sculptures and Japanese elements, forming a specific aesthetic. I have not fully immersed myself in the Vaporwave subculture but I’m still able to express my love for it by using contrasting colors in my artworks and even in my day-to-day outfits.
Samples of the Vaporwave aesthetic:
I always try to express myself in my work for TeamAsia, where we are always excited for creative ideas and executions. I’ve been able to incorporate my love for the art of Vaporwave through the 3D pixel text and the use of bright pink and blue bubble gum colors for key visuals like this one:
Together, all these art forms, namely street fashion, Japanese culture, and Vaporwave, greatly inspire my creative vision. It has influenced my art style which I’m able to alter to fit the client’s requirements. It has also affected my view of the world; the constant digitalization of a growing age and the nonstop flow of ideas, opinions, and information through the internet space. Because of this, it has driven me to love my field more. Studying behavior in the digital market and applying it in concept creation for brands to engage its customers through visuals has been my interest. My creative process also influences my work culture. I’ve been able to fuse ideas to form concepts with the way I integrate my interests together.
My best tip is this: surround yourself with artistic people of good taste. They don’t have to be of the same taste as yours but they have enough credibility and personality to inspire you and your visual aesthetic. But don’t just rely on them! You should also be able to create for your own, or at least make something out of what inspires you. Stay fresh and think new. But most importantly, you have to be yourself and not pretend. Never, ever pretend. You must embrace what you express–what you believe in.
Thanks to the diverse culture we have, we are able to find different ways to appreciate each other’s uniqueness. This gave value to self-expression and the celebration of individuality, which has saved many lives. My passion for it saves me everyday by giving me purpose.