Meet Geraldine Sy, an editorial and freelance illustrator living and working in Cebu, Philippines. Geraldine studied graphics and media at a local Cebu college, and currently works as an illustrator at Weekend Magazine. Her artwork is known for its gorgeous and vibrant color palettes, well-integrated narrative, and playful environments!
Geraldine's work has been featured by clients such as Wineist and Tesco One Magazine and displayed in DesignUbec's Art + Design Exhibit 2014 and 2015. Last year she was also selected as one of Photoshop's 25 Under 25 artists for Photoshop's 25th anniversary.
We also had the pleasure of working with Geraldine in our current exhibition Botanica. Below you can get some insight into her process and inspirations! Also, be sure to look here for a ton more of her work!
What is your studio/workspace like? Do you have any objects or collections that are always around while you're working that you feel are important to your practice?
My 'studio' is really just a corner of my apartment where my computer and art supplies are, but In my desk I keep this small frog sculpture that creates a croaking sound when you run a stick through its ridged back. I stumbled across it at a shop and just knew that I had to have it.
A lot of your work seems to explore landscapes and the interactions that we as people have with them. Is that a large interest to you? Was there a specific moment where it became a subject of interest for you to explore in your artwork?
I have always been in awe of nature and the beauty of nature! Most of the literature and art that I admire has a direct connection to nature, it's an inescapable part of being human. The natural world and our interaction with it was a subject that came up again and again when I created work, and now it has become a big part of my work. I believe that our habitat and its health are things that should be taken seriously.
What is your process typically like for creating your artwork? How do you handle your work flow from ideation, to image, to final piece of artwork?
All of my work starts as a sketch on paper, I've never been able to draw properly directly on a screen or tablet. Usually when an idea erupts from my head, I write it down on a small notebook and sketch it when I have time. Then, I scan and use the computer to color and finalize the artwork. My favorite part of creating is drawing on paper when an idea is very malleable and there are offshoots of one idea that I can eventually expand and work on.
Can you tell me a bit more about your piece for the Botanica exhibition? The lore that you incorporated into the piece is incredibly interesting, what made you want to illustrate the subject that you chose? Does the subject hold any weight with you personally?
When I was growing up, we had a large tree in our yard and all the old folks say that the tree was haunted -- that other beings lived there. There were stories that some of my relatives actually saw these beings in the flesh! I personally take these stories with a grain of salt, but this myth made the idea of a relationship between the paranormal and trees as something natural to me. As a Filipino, these kinds of folklore are very common, and trees become revered beings that deserved respect. Superstitious people would say 'tabi-tabi po' (pardon me or please let me pass) when passing by an eerie tree or place as a way of seeking passage from any paranormal entities that live there. I decided to illustrate the concept because I think that it is an fascinating aspect of my culture.
Were there any significant moments while creating the piece for the show?
I don't know if you could call this a challenge, probably not, but deciding on a color palette for a piece is an endless process for me. I could be coloring for hours and still not be satisfied. So I think it's really helpful when you have an external source that could look at your work and tell you if it's ok or not. My boyfriend is this person for me, so I ask his opinion a dozen times before I turn my work in.
What are some of your favorite hobbies outside of art making? Do they influence your artistic practice? What is your artistic community like?
I have always loved to read. I have a growing library at home, and most of the books I read are adult literary fiction. I think reading has helped me tremendously as an artist – it makes for some mental exercise – and, I like drawing about the books and articles that I have read. Most of the artwork I do actually ties in with a piece of writing.
What's your favorite project that you've had the chance to be a part of?
There's a lot of projects that were really fun for me, like the Photoshop feature and Behance reviews, and also this great honor of being a part of Botanica! But really, just being around creative people and interacting with them is very exciting for me.