The COVID-19 pandemic has possibly been one of the most difficult situations the entire world has ever gone through. As we have experienced crawling weeks of lockdown, we realize that the crisis is not only health-related, but also economic, and the tourism industry took one of its hardest hits.
Travelling is restricted for almost all of us. While it’s difficult that our #wanderlust fantasies are temporarily postponed, the travel bans have affected the travel and events industry most of all. Artists and photographers have no gigs and events to cover while the communities managing the tourist sites, especially in provinces that heavily rely on tourism such as Palawan, are denied of any source of income. Because of this, the crisis is even more apparent when daily wage workers struggle to place food on the table and to survive such difficult times. Iconik Travels and Events understand this deeply and we are one with the communities during this uncertainty. By partnering with three talented artists, we are launching Padayon.
There are currently 28 Community-based Sustainable Tourism (CBST) sites in Palawan, and we have selected the five (5) communities that we work with as Padayon’s beneficiaries. Sabang Falls, Sabang Jungle Trail, Batak Center and Cultural Village, Olangoan Falls, and Hundred Caves are located in four (4) different barangays and are comprised of 164 daily wage workers and families.
Every purchase of portraits and art bundles will allow us to provide a small income to the artists and relief food packs of rice and vegetables to 164 families of 5 tourist sites in the city of Puerto Princesa, Palawan. Sourcing and distribution will be facilitated by our partner, Go Palengke.
Dubbed as a “nostalgic photographer”, JL is known for her dreamy portrait photoshoots and crisp picture-perfect shots of couples and families. Her style often invokes feelings and memories that somehow brings you back to a different place and time.
JL recalls, however, that this hasn’t always been how things were. Her journey as a photographer started from experimenting with tissue rolls as fisheye lenses and feeling ecstatic with her first Kodak digital camera in high school. She used to play around with her study lamp at home and worn-out stockings to get various effects as she taught herself photography, all while using it as her emotional outlet growing up. Memories flood in as JL remembers what a crazy journey it has been before becoming one of Palawan’s go-to photographers. She got into multiple jobs — an admin staff, a teacher — until she realized that her heart is enlivened by the way the lens is able to capture ideas and emotions, allowing people to feel connected.
As JL continues to journey through every place and time with multiple bags of equipment and her time-travel device, she hopes that her art connects and motivates people, especially during this time of social isolation and disconnection. Her collection, “Love Kite”, is her offering to remind people that despite seemingly dark times, there exists hope, love, and light.
Fritz is not your typical artist. He may draw portraits and caricatures, and render some digital art, but he is also a soon-to-be architect. His bold and colorful artworks draw inspiration from his childhood, where he would often watch cartoons all day and try to mimic the characters he has seen. He used to want to be an animator because of his fascination for anime, but ended up taking a course in architecture to practice art in a different way.
Fritz, while often timid and reserved in person, is such a contrast to the art that he creates. The playfulness in his style choices and color preferences would often feel like cartoons coming to life on paper. He attributes much inspiration from his idol, Akira Toriyama, a Japanese manga artist and cartoonist, popular for his work and character designs like Dragonball Z. Like Toriyama, Fritz hopes to make people smile with his art and serve as an inspiration to other artists like him.
Whether it’s creating portraits or intricate blueprints, Fritz is an artist through and through, and he only wishes that like him, more artists get into the craft and are not discriminated against or looked down upon. For him, being an artist is both a passion and a profession.
Mia is a calligrapher, portrait artist, watercolor illustrator, and a newbie digital artist. Every type of art Mia creates adds a chapter into her — as her wittingly coined Instagram handle reveals — miamorphosis.
Mia’s beginning was as crude as that of a calligrapher on her first day — unsure and all over the place. At that time, she was uncertain about which path to take, and she deeply struggled in identifying what passion makes her come alive. Like calligraphy, it took lots of practice and much more convincing for her to get her parents and family onboard. Right then, she knew that she had found the purpose she wants to fulfill for the rest of her life.
Being a portrait artist, Mia finds great inspiration in people and emotions. After having pursued a life in the arts, she has vowed to make the faces of her parents happy and proud. Whenever she feels that her growth is stunting, she reminds herself of what a fellow calligrapher and artist named Abbey Sy once prescribed — “[to not merely] sit here [and wait] for something to arrive”. Because of this, Mia continues to press on.
Mia’s artistic journey tells a tale of discovery and experiment, much like watercolor illustration. She continuously tries different styles and explores various techniques to truly find the mixes and blends that suit her work. She sometimes paints picturesque sunsets or ethereal, mythical women that often push her imagination.
Most recently, Mia delved into the world of digital art. While still new to the craft, she is challenged by this unfamiliar style and how technology could greatly be used to impact and inspire others. You would often find her uploading videos and behind the scenes of the art she creates because every canvas represents a story she constantly wants to share.
As Mia pursues to learn and refine her style, this young artist’s journey embodies the mantra she always strives to live by — “progress, not perfection” — and that’s what narrates her continuous miamorphosis.
Should you be interested to know more about Iconik Travels and Events or Padayon, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org