Filipina Art in Perspective

Filipina Art in Perspective

Alexandra Durrschnabel is a good friend of mine who continues to inspire me with her artistic ability, and more importantly, her heart. If you’d like to learn more about a Filipina’s perspective as an artist, please enjoy my interview with her below.

Alexandra Durrschnabel’s depiction of me, Riana Torrejon. This was taken from her Instagram account, @durrschydraws.

Could you tell me about yourself?
I am a 19-year-old artist who currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta. I grew up in a biracial family. My mother immigrated from the Philippines and my dad grew up on a farm in northern Alberta. I am currently a student at the University of Alberta pursuing a degree in secondary education. Art is my passion and I draw almost every single day. One day, I hope to see that same passion in the classrooms I teach in. Last but not least, my biggest dream is to create a graphic novel. Even if I am the only person who reads it, I want to be able to read it and see my growth as an artist throughout the chapters.

What does your work aim to say?
Personally, I believe that my work displays development more than a particular voice. As a 19-year-old artist, I find myself pushing to create art that feels authentic and fresh. Growing up in a time when artists are everywhere online, it is hard for me to feel original. It is difficult creating a voice when you feel like it has been done better by others before you. To fully enjoy my art, I believe one must see my process and the pieces that lead up to my finished work.

But my biggest inspiration is drawing people around me. I’m sure many people have experienced a weird surge of motivation to create or pursue something that is their own. I have ventured into displaying my perspective. My family and friends have become the things that inspire, and from that, I have been faced with an urgency to draw their charms. I’ve recently made the decision that for my personal art, and the art I use to represent my style, I want to try my best to use models and muses that are a part of my life. Through this process, I want people to see the same individuals that make me want to linger. As I analyze every line or see these people living their day to day lives, I get this feeling of adrenaline that I cannot describe other than an urgency to draw. Drawing portraits is a very intimate process for me due to the fact that I try to capture the brightness of every personality I draw. I’ve drawn some of my friends over and over again like a mad man trying to get the colours right. I’ll do rough sketches on paper and then do a few more on procreate (the application/program I use to draw). I hope people feel the smile I make when I draw or when I admire my muses. I want my art to represent how privileged I am to be surrounded by people who fuel my creativity and the people who cause me to sit in bed drawing all night.

A piece of artwork found on Alexandra Durrschnabel’s Instagram account, @durrschydraws.

Who are your biggest influences?
On my father’s side of the family, my cousin Barrie used to draw in front of me and my sister. I remember trying to imitate the sketches and doodles she would leave on scrap pieces of paper. I don’t think she knows how deeply she has influenced my art. Without her, I wouldn’t have started drawing. I also strongly believe that my mother’s culture is what made me appreciate colour and brightness. Without my mom, I would not have been exposed to colourful Filipiniana dresses and the brightness of the Philippines’ traditional clothes. Growing up with a headstrong and sometimes stubborn immigrant mother, I find that her personality often rubs off on my own and into the process of my art.

Some of my favourite artists/influences/influences on Instagram in no particular order include:
@jamesjeanart, @littlethunder, @nevahosking, @soeymilk, @audkawa, @hanachatani, @alexis_art

What was something surprising you found as you were learning to draw and create art?
When learning to draw, especially when I was just beginning, I would have an image in my head of what I wanted to create. Unfortunately, at the time, I did not have the technical ability to create what I was picturing in my head. With a lack of skill, I’m sure many people can relate to the immense amount of frustration and anger that comes with failing to put an idea into works. Learning the basics is key when doing art and it is hard to get around it.

Which current art world trends are you following?
I think recently there has been a huge pull towards vintage style photography, especially photography that mimics the colours and flashiness of the 80s and 90s. I find that the iridescence and contrast have definitely intrigued me and sneaked its way into my art.

Where can people find your work?
I have an art account on Instagram @durrschydraws. I usually post work in progress posts and my current projects. I occasionally post self-reflections in my captions to document how I feel about my progress. My Instagram includes art dating back a few years and I hope to be posting some more of my new work soon.

Is there anything additional you’d like to say for the readers today?
I feel as though I must mention that I am only 19. I have a ton of stuff to learn and I feel like many young artists can relate to my uncertainty. Currently, I am in a state of self-discovery and I find my skills being humbled on a daily basis. Right now, I know most of my techniques, ideas and skills are subject to change but for now, the best thing I can do for myself is to keep making art. I hope to use this interview as a time capsule to look back on in the future. But to conclude my thoughts, I would like to say thank you to the art community for pushing my ideas of what art can be. Art truly is my backbone.

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