Anina Rubio is a visual artist whose works and murals can be found in places like the Booth and Partners Office, Pink Manila store, Gourmet Farm, The Park at Shangrila Mall, the Robinsons Place Antique Expansion, and Greenbelt Mall. Anina has also done collaborative works and projects with brands like Bayani Brew, L’indochine, Toblerone, Wanderskye, Keds, Hallmark, and Moleskin. She was named one of Cosmo’s Fun and Fearless Females for 2018, and has some of her artworks featured as part of the indie film, Sakaling Hindi Makrating, which was part of the 2016 Cinefilipino Film Festival. She is a known advocate for earth conservation and sustainable living, and love water sports, traveling, and dancing. Currently, Anina has some installation art, and a mural festival both in the works. You find out more about Anina Rubio and her work on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Q: Everyone has an origin story. Could you share with us the exact moment (or moments) wherein you realized that you wanted to become an artist?
I was stressed out from work and I was looking for something new to learn. That was 2014, when I started doing calligraphy. After trying so many jobs (engineer, farmer, brand manager, entrepreneur…), I found comfort in doing art. So I said, “Why not turn it into a paid job?”
Q: From that moment, and throughout your journey as an artist, what has been your biggest struggle?
Biggest struggles (apart from financial independence) was finding an identity, and my own style.
When I was starting, I would always force myself to have outputs that looked like they were blueprints of a font from a computer, or that it should look like this or that.
Coming from a non-art related background, I knew no one. I had no connections. I had no formal training whatsoever. There was also so much social pressure that I put on myself to prove to everyone that art is sustainable and can be a good occupation, like every other job in the planet.
Q: How have you been able to cope with (or overcome) this struggle?
I started to build my skills. I learned and invested in classes (online, books, etc.). I made sure that my platform was all set to establish credibility (website, page, Instagram, etc.).
In term of finding a style, I just let go and experimented with styles until I became comfortable with doing something close to heart, and not because I wanted my artwork to look likes it was perfectly printed from a machine.
I partnered with brands and did collaborations. All of these helped me earn from my passion and grow as an artist.
Q: What would you consider is the ONE thing that REALLY helped you level up your skills?
Q: What is one thing you’d wish you’d known before you started your artistic career? Why?
Nothing, really. I think it was a fun adventure learning the ropes in the process of risking and transitioning from corporate to art.
Q: What drives or inspires you to continue making your art?
I am driven by the sense of living, and also by my goal to use art to promote awareness about environmental issues. I want the future generation to see the beauty of nature as I see it.
Q: What does your average day look like? (And when do you fit in the time to create art?)
I try to schedule everything accordingly. If there are meetings, I would schedule them all in one day if possible, to be more efficient in terms of transportation and time.
I spend an hour preparing social media postings and replying to emails.
On mural days, I paint the whole day.
Q: How do you deal with distractions or challenges that you encounter while you’re working on your art?
I meditate. I turn off my phone and laptop. I listen to classical music.
Q: What do you do when you feel just completely uninspired or burnt out? How do you motivate yourself to start working again?
I take breaks. Creativity doesn’t always flow smoothly so there are times when you need to pause, unwind, and seek inspiration. When I’m not traveling, I just go outside to my garden for a few minutes to breathe fresh inspiration.
Q: What would you say has been your most EPIC win so far?
Being able to share what I know to communities and cancer patients. Seeing them smile is priceless!
Q: What would you say has been your biggest failure?
Honestly, I am bad at finances and planning. So, for me, probably, what I consider a failure is not being able to invest (yet) in this architecture class that I have always wanted to take!
Q: What, for you, has been the best way to promote yourself and your work to potential fans, clients, or publishers?
Doing great work. I think when clients see your work online, it builds credibility that you can actually leverage on.
Q: What has been your game plan throughout your journey? What’s the BIG picture here? The ultimate dream? The end game?
The ultimate dream is to be able to influence and raise more awareness about how people can take the steps into a sustainable lifestyle through art. I want to build communities that embrace art – like a small residency place where people, even without formal art education, can create.
Q: What, for you personally, has been the source of your ideas, creativity and talent?
Nature. Adventures and misadventures.
Q: What is your big “WHY”? Why do you feel the need to make art? Who are you doing it for? What’s the hidden reason behind your big dream?
I’m using it as a tool to show my passion, not just for creating, but for sustainability and earth conservation.
Q: What 3 stories (comics, movies, documentaries, novels, etc.) would you say influenced and inspired your work the most?
Griffin and Sabine books, The Art of Tim Burton, Brandon Boyd’s books.
These three books were a feast for the eyes when I was in the corporate world. When I read them, I told myself, “I want to make these” – although, of course, it didn’t happen instantaneously.
Q: What are the top books, art books, blogs, podcasts, or workshops you’d recommend that helped you level up your skills?
Depends on which one you want to learn.
I have books on watercolor, calligraphy, typography, street art, architecture.
I watch videos on YouTube and SkillShare too.
I listen to podcasts too (TED talks, etc.)
There are numerous resources online and in print that we can take advantage of.
Q: If you could work remotely, from anywhere in the world, where would your office be? Why?
By the beach, in my future artist residency place (that’s the dream)
Q: Name ONE artist/writer that, if you could, you would pick their brain and find out all the hidden secrets behind their amazing work?
Leonardo Da Vinci.
Q: Who do you consider your biggest mentor that helped you improve your skills?
(Doesn’t have to be someone you’ve met personally. Can be someone you look up to, or someone whose art has inspired you to get better, over the years.)
To be honest, it was mostly self-help. The engineer in me is obsessed with research and experimentation, so I tried to learn whatever I could. I did get insights on big scale murals when I was partnered with an international artist during a mural festival. I think it helps to apprentice at one point in any artist’s career because experienced artists have so much insights that cannot be read in books.