Artsycraftsy interview: Andrea Cervantes of Berunagirl

I first saw the lovely artwork of Andrea in a Heima design talk event, a long time ago. Artists were tasked to create artworks using MT washi tape and her papercut art was one of my faves. Since I couldn’t forget it, I tracked her down and discovered how talented and creative she is (she’s also super nice in person, btw!). It’s also interesting how she is able to incorporate her fave shows/movies into her artworks–She makes quirky notebooks called Fandom Jots (I have my eye on that one featuring Tolkien, heh).

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

I’m Andrea, and I love creating things with paper and pixels. Right now I work as a packaging designer during the day and starting as a freelance artist/designer/crafter/notebook maker at night.

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

I’ve been cutting things with X-acto knives since I was in grade school, and I’ve never been able to put them down! I can’t explain why I like them – my dad bought a set for himself but I ended up using them on paper like pencils.

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

I go to work in the morning – my job at the packaging factory is more engineering than design, and it enables the logical side of my brain to work. It helps a lot because I can approach a freelance design work at a different angle. I walk home during the afternoons, and this is where I get inspired the most – I work at one of the industrial zones near Mt. Makiling, and it’s SUPER refreshing to be in an environment with less pollution and more nature. I work on design things at night, and although there are disadvantages (I can’t take pretty pics of my work, and sometimes I fall asleep on the job) I get things done.

I learned having a design workflow in college (brief, research, studies, critique, approval, execution, feedback); I like spending more time in research though.

4. What inspires you? What makes you excited?

I’ve missed out a lot on most things – I rarely go to design events because I don’t live in the city – so what inspires me is catching up on all the things I’ve missed.

I have lots of things to learn about crafting, graphic design, typography, and figure drawing, because until recently I was very hesitant to develop my skills. I’ve been drawing, crafting, and doing these kinds of work ever since I can remember, but I stopped doing all these when I forced myself into industrial design for the sake of “deserving” a degree in it… so it’s about catching up, skills-wise, too. I have a list of things that I’d like to try out – treatments, styles, or a new technique from Pinterest, tumblr, Behance, and the blogs I follow – and those drive me a lot.

Catching up on all those things is very frustrating at times but I get so happy when I finally try things out.

I also love reading things, watching movies and documentaries, and following TV series. I like narratives. I can spend my whole day in a library or in front of my laptop, reading and watching random things, and some of the things I read and watch go into what I make. Some of my works are fanart because I’m so inspired by the show/movie and fascinated by the community/fandom interaction in general.

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

Right now? There are lots of design studios opening in the Philippines now and I’m so excited for them, you have no idea. I’ve been following studios like And A Half Design Studio, Plus63 Design Co., Heima Home and Lifestyle, and VGrafiks Design. I love what they do to Filipino design as a contribution to global design, and I love that the Pinoy thing comes out naturally and not overtly expressed. I love collaborations with small groups. They’re doing things I wanted to do since college.

I love the new crop of Filipino graphic designers and illustrators – those I meet in tumblr and Behance, and the self-taught ones. Suddenly, I want to call myself a graphic designer. If I had tumblr and Behance back in the day and met friends like these online when I was unsure and starting out, things might have been clearer for me.

I’ll always be awed by Art Nouveau, and I’m not afraid to share that to anyone.

6. Most inspiring place in the Philippines?

Walking around the UP Diliman and UPLB campuses inspires me a lot. I see these students walking under huge, decades-old trees, and I tell myself that the world is OK.

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

Definitely my X-acto knife.

8. Favorite snack/s while creating art?

Agh, my mom trained us not to eat while working on our desks since we were kids so I don’t eat while I work and I take breaks in the kitchen instead! (I like drinking milk during breaks though.)

9. Earliest childhood memory related to arts/crafts?

My relatives exposing me to church and folk art in Malolos, Bulacan, where my mom grew up. I loved going to old houses and churches and looking at local paintings and old furniture, although I didn’t understand why I was fascinated by all of it until I went to college.

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

Never answered this question when I was a kid! When asked, I’d look up at my teacher and say “shh, wait, can’t you see I’m drawing?”

11. What’s your current job now?

Still drawing while making boxes. CONSISTENCY hahahaha!

12. Favorite books and/or movies?

I CAN’T LIST EVERYTHING, I AM SORRY. But: I credit Jessica Zafra and Kurt Vonnegut for my absurd outlook in life, Terry Gilliam for challenging me to make impossible leaps, and C. S. Lewis for my imagination.

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

The constant thing that happens in life (especially in mine) is mistakes. Never forget that most of them can be undone, and can be improved. Don’t be afraid of “panget,” things will sort itself out accordingly.

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?

I’ve been thinking about a lot of painters and illustrators whose skills I want to have, but I have to say I’d want to be filmmaker/artist/designer/Python Terry Gilliam. He does everything and he’s not afraid of anything.

Where can we see your awesome work? What are you working on right now?

I am rebuilding my site at berunagirl.net, so you can add me at berunagirl.tumblr.com for some updates. I also sell handmade notebooks at etsy.com/shop/berunagirlpapers.

Recently, I made some wall prints for Heima’s Brixton store, you can check them out there or in their website. 🙂

Thanks Andrea! 🙂

All images are from Andrea’s site.

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