Artsycraftsy interview: Wiji Lacsamana

Wiji, for me, will always be the quintessential Jill of all trades. She does graphic design, crafts, illustrates, and is a tattoo artist!

Her works are enchanting, whimsical and filled with good vibes.  They take me to a nice place, where bunnicorns live in perfect harmony with mermaids and llamas.

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1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your art/craft.

I am Wiji, I am technically a freelance illustrator and tattooer but honestly am a freelance dabbler–my studio/home is called The Curious Studio because I am very much curious.  I like learning and playing with many things; I currently illustrate, I embroider, I do calligraphy, I tattoo, I make accessories when the mood strikes, I try to do pottery too. Oh the possibilities.

2. What are your favorite tools in creating art and why do you love them?

I am in love with watercolor paints–there is always something quiet but whimsical about watercolored pieces.  Each accident is always magical.  I like needles and thread though, I currently am in love with embroidery but I am always looking into new things I can do with them. In terms of tattooing, I have recently explored the beauty of rotary machines and that I need to be investing in more.

3. Can you tell us about your daily routine or your artistic process?

I think I have finally reached the age where I wake up early (9am–a vast contrast to my early 20s, when I woke up around 3pm).  When I wake up I have coffee, it is imperative that I have coffee! Then I open my laptop and get inspired (aka browse blogs, pinterest, etc).  I have a notebook where I list most of the things I need to accomplish for the day and then I do so.  If the day’s task involves digital illustration or design, I of course keep my laptop open (and try to blog in between and send emails to clients, too).  Otherwise, I shut it off and illustrate/paint.  I realize that the mood of my work is often affected by the music I listen to.  Lately, I’ve been on a classical music binge. I work/paint until about 3 or 4pm then I try to do yoga or pilates in between and then after a quick shower, hopefully re-energized, I go back to what I was doing.  Two to three times a week I accept tattoo clients, and when I have tattoo clients for the day I usually schedule them after lunch.

4. What inspires you? What makes you excited?

Nature and travel excites and motivates me a lot.  Trips to the beach, most specially.  Or anywhere I get to clearly see the sky.  I love celestial things.  I love the moon! I love the stars! I get inspired when I see plants I’ve never seen before, I get inspired when the mood of the music I listen to coincides with the beauty of what I see in trips.  I always have to have music during trips as much as I have to have music when I draw or paint.

5. Who are the local and foreign artists you admire the most?

I’ve been in love with a lot of local painter’s Buen Calubayan’s work.  I also like Zeus Bascon’s stuff a lot! I was talking to my friend the other day about how maybe this could be another golden age of the Philippine art scene.  There are so many emerging great talents!  As for foreign artists, I’ve always been a big fan of Edward Gorey since I was about three, I think.  I love Craig Thompson, too.  And Jillian Tamaki and James Jean!

6. Most inspiring place in the Philippines?

Ahh, Batanes and Palawan. To think that there are so many more places I have to go to.

7. If you were stuck in an island and could only bring one art/craft tool with you, what would it be and why?

A pencil, I guess. Because it all began with that.

8. Favorite snack/s while creating art?

Pretzels!

9. Earliest childhood memory related to arts/crafts?

One of my earliest memories involve me and drawing on the back of the books I saw at home.  But I have a very fond memory of creating a zine with my then neighbor, Albert.  He would write stories, and I would draw and do the layout.  We called it RM: Reader’s Magazine! Haha, it was an ode to the Readers’ Digest ones we saw around our house.

10. As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be an astronaut! (But I found out that maybe you needed to be good at math to be one…). I always loved science, especially when it involved celestial stuff.

11. What’s your current job now?

I am a freelance illustrator and tattooer.

12. Favorite books and/or movies?

Books: The Catcher in the Rye, Blankets, Sputnik Sweetheart, Kitchen, Norwegian Wood, The Shrinking of Treehorn
Movies: Reality Bites, Dazed and Confused,  In the Mood for Love, Amelie, Midnight in Paris, The Royal Tenenbaums

13. What is your philosophy when creating/making art?

It has to be natural, it should be sincere.

BONUS question:

The Universe starts from scratch and you’re given the chance to be reincarnated as a famous artist. Which artist would you choose and why?

Tough, tough, tough question! Because I’ve been obsessed with Etienne Leopold Trouvelot lately, I’ll say him. (Although dammit, there are so many others I’d like to be too!) He was an entomologist and astronomer to begin with, and well I’ve always loved looking at the sky.  And then he began drawing the skies, and plants and animals. Did you know that a crater on the moon was named after him?

Where can we see your awesome work? (plug away!) What are you working on right now?

An organized compilation of my work can be found at http://cargocollective.com/TheCuriousStudio.  For my daily adventures, please feel free to visit http://thecuriousstudio.blogspot.com.  I just launched my new babies, which I call Radioactive Mushrooms in the Forest--these are wanderlust scarves, all designs printed on them are from photos I took on some of my travels. I am also currently working on concepts for my first solo exhibit!

Thanks, Wiji!

All images above were taken from The Curious Studio website.

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