Threadless Abmassador Tom interviews the wonderful and talented, multi-tasking Jerry Maninang aka dzeri29.
Howdy Jerry! What's it like living in The Philippines?
It’s fun, The Philippines is a wonderful place to live in. Filipinos are generally friendly and accommodating, we can be over friendly but in a cool and humble way. Living here is good fun, but life can be tough, you have to be hard-working and versatile in so many different ways just to survive.
What would be a typical day for you?
My everyday life is simple, I always wake up late in the morning! I drink milk or coffee, thanks to my wife who always prepares my breakfast. Then I check all of my emails before I start my work. I take a break at lunchtime, rest and then spend some time bonding with my wife and daughter (I always make sure that I have time for them) then I go back to work again. I sometimes stay up up â€˜til midnight.
How would you describe your work?
Since I have different styles, I would say a bit surreal, artistic, imaginative and fun.
Could you tell us about some of the techniques that you use? I manually draw all of my work using a light table, it makes it easy to re-sketch my work. I also create my own Photoshop brushes for my watercolor stuff, so that it is much easier for me to color my artwork in a watercolor style.
You have quite an eclectic style, do you think that you will ever 'settle down' to one particular style only?
I think I have my own style but I haven’t tried it yet for a t-shirt design, sometimes it doesn’t suit a particular idea or concept. I believe that it’s good to have your own style because as an artist it helps us to keep our own identity or individuality. I think in my case, I will keep on exploring new and different styles of design. Using this kind of approach helps me enhance and develop my own personal style.
Who are some of your favourite Threadless artists?
How do you plan a new piece of artwork?
I start off my concept with a rough sketch, then I turn to reference photographs, mainly for inspiration. Then I compose everything in Photoshop. After that, I start work on my final sketch, paying attention to the outlines and detailing for aclean look, then I ink the artwork. Next, I scan the design sketch and finalize it using Photoshop.
Are you formally trained or are you self-taught?
I’m a Fine Arts graduate, and a self-taught artist when it comes to digital software. I learned a lot from the internet bywatching tutorials on Youtube. I still continue to educate myself and I make sure that I'm up to date with the latest trends and designs.
How much of your work is digital? 60% of my work is digital, and 40% is traditional media via sketching, inks and watercolors.
Could you tell us about some of the reactions from your t-shirts from the general public?
They are all amazed with my work! Everybody says that all of my designs are totally worth buying.
One of your prints 'Mo' Deer Nature' is a very peaceful design, do you have time to relax or do you lead a busy life?
Thanks. I think I lead a very busy life as a freelancer. Currently, I still have artwork to finish for some of my local design projects and of course I spend time making designs for t-shirts. I try to take breaks to keep me refreshed though.
Your other print 'Wishful thinking' has a dreamlike quality to it, how much inspiration do you draw from your dreams?
Never, really. My designs are more about a creative way of imagining things rather than what’s in a dream or a fantasy world.
“Wishful Thinking" is available as a tee!
Could you explain the thought process behind your Peace One Day Causes design 'Peace Within'?
I thought about the symbols for Peace, which are a dove and an olive branch. Since the design challenge was about global ceasefire and non-violence, I thought of using an ArmaLite gun where the mouth of the gun is buried under the ground. I gave the soldier’s helmet a world map and the dove a white band. All of this combined symbolizes ceasefire, the end of war and world peace throughout the human race.
“Peace Within" is available as a tee!
'Ramen'ses Return is about a mummy made from noodles, how would you react if that really happened?
I think it would look weirder and more abnormal than a regular mummy, but I hope that it wouldn't ever happen because a mummy made from noodles could easily break apart.
“Ramen’ses Return" is available as tees and kids tees!
What is the most important thing that you have learned about Art?
The most important thing that I’ve learned is just do what you love and this will make it more meaningful. It’s good to express our emotions through art. Art touches our souls and it can save the souls of others in their lives as well.
If the world was going to end in seven days, how would you live your last week on Earth?
As a person with strong religious beliefs, I would spend time with my family, pray with them and I would strengthen my faith with God. I believe that he alone knows when will be the right time, the end of time. I’ll continue to pray that this will not happen, but if it does, I want to be with my family 'til the end.
Thanks for taking part in the interview! As Albert Einstein said, 'Rejoice with your family in the beautiful land of life!'
Interview by Ambassador Tom Bryce