Hi! I am Saira Lo, a multidisciplinary designer with a great interest in 3D illustration. I am a 2016 Multimedia Arts graduate from De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. Recently, my work made it into the Graphika Manila book, 2019. In October 2018, I was one of the featured local artists of Pixelworx Exhibition curated by Power Mac. Some of my works have also been published in Adobo and Class A magazine. I am usually a homebody, but I started participating in art conventions, such as Komikon and Stickercon, not too long ago. You can follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Behance .
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?
When I was in elementary, I wanted to become a Pediatrician, and then Business Ad in high school. After not getting accepted into my dream university, narealize ko na baka hindi talaga para sa akin ang business [I realized that maybe business wasn’t really meant for me].
Although I have always been involved in the arts when I was growing up. If you see my notebooks, puro paper cutouts, sequins at kahit anong pwedeng i-recycle ang naka dikit [and anything and everything that could be recycled was attached]. Kahit yung pinto ng bahay namin nilalagyan ko ng border [I even put a border on the door of our house]! I believe it’s a skill that I got from my father. Hindi siya [He’s not an] artist by profession but he’s capable.
Q: From that moment, and throughout your journey as an artist, what has been your biggest struggle?
I felt a little lost during college. I did a bit of everything, but I wasn’t sure kung ano ang [what was my] forte ko. Sinubukan kong kumuha ng 3D classes [I tried taking 3D classes]. It wasn’t easy.
As an artist, sometimes you feel insecure about your work. You compare yourself to other creatives. It’s inevitable but that is normal.
Akala ko dati kapag 3D artist ka marunong ka dapat gumawa ng realistic monsters, characters, yung tipong pang movies, mala-Pixar dapat. Sinubukan ko yung ganun pero at the end of the day, hindi nag work for me.[I used to think that if you were a 3D artist, you should know how to create realistic monsters, characters, the kind made for movies, Pixar-type supposedly. I tried that but at the end of the day it didn’t work for me.]
Q: How have you been able to cope with (or overcome) this struggle?
After graduation, I continued learning about graphic design and 3D. I expose myself to other people’s work every day.
Q: What would you consider is the ONE thing that REALLY helped you level up your skills?
A lot of browsing on interweb. Research, research lalo na kapag may [especially whenever I have] free time! Mag observe at mag experiment [Observe and experiment]! When I run out of ideas, I brainstorm by writing down things that ‘spark joy’ to me. Kahit yung mga pinaka random na bagay [Even the most random things].
Q: What is one thing you’d wish you’d known before you started your artistic career? Why?
I wish I’d known how meaningful it is to share your work. Being confident kahit [even though] work in progress pa lang ‘yan.
Q: What drives or inspires you to continue making your art?
We live in a learning process and thus grow. Hangga’t may pwede pang aralin [As long as there’s still something to learn, I’ll continue pursuing my passion.
Q: What does your average day look like? (And when do you fit in the time to create art?)
My everyday life is monotonous, haha. I wake up at 10 in the morning. By afternoon, I go to the gym. Best ideas and work come at night. Kapag 3D illustration ang ginagawa ko, matagal mag render kaya tinutulugan ko na lang [Whenever I’m making 3D illustrations, it takes a while to render and so I sleep it over].
Q: How do you deal with distractions or challenges that you encounter while you’re working on your art?
I stay away from any work-related things for a moment. Iniiwan ko muna [I leave it alone first] and then I come back when I feel better.
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 a break. I watch movies, or watch my favorite K-pop groups. When I’m stuck, either I’m rushing the process, or I don’t have any idea at all. Kaya, the day after ko na lang tinutuloy [And so I just continue it the day after].
Q: What would you say has been your most EPIC win so far?
Noong Komikon! Kapag natatawa yung mga dumadaan sa ginawa kong stickers. It’s a relief na hindi lang pala ako yung natatawa. Haha![During Komikon! Whenever the people that pass by laugh over the stickers I’d made. It’s a relief that I wasn’t the only one that found them funny. Haha!]
Q: What would you say has been your biggest failure?
Managing self-doubt. I tend to worry about whether I’m going to do well on a project. But surely, I’m making progress. 🙂
Q: What, for you, has been the best way to promote yourself and your work to potential fans, clients, or publishers?
I post my works on social media, mainly Instagram. Pero eventually na-realize ko na importante talaga ang human interaction kaya sumasali na rin ako sa conventions. [But eventually I realized that human interaction is really important, and so I started joining conventions.]
Q: What has been your game plan throughout your journey? What’s the BIG picture here? The ultimate dream? The end game?
Hopefully, to land a solo exhibition in the future. Yung digital artworks ko gusto kong gawing [I want to turn into] live art installations. 🙂
Q: What, for you personally, has been the source of your ideas, creativity and talent?
The environment where I am in! Pati na rin ang [And also the] Internet.
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?
Napakaraming graphic designers pero napansin kong kaunti lang dito sa Pinas ang nag pa-practice ng 3D na babae. Nastart ko siya manotice noong college sa 3d classes. May mga nakausap ako na ang sabi ay gusto naman talaga nila ituloy pero nagiging intimidating and overwhelming midway. Ayun, sana, somehow, maencourage ko rin sila na subukan ulit. Girls fighting! 🙂[There are a lot of graphic designers, but I noticed that there are only a few here in the Philippines that practice 3D, that are girls. I started noticing this in college 3D class. I spoke to someone who said that she really wanted to pursue it further but it became intimidating and overwhelming midway. So hopefully, somehow, I could encourage them to try it again. Girls fighting!]
Q: What 3 stories (comics, movies, documentaries, novels, etc.) would you say influenced and inspired your work the most?
Q: What are the top books, art books, blogs, podcasts, or workshops you’d recommend that helped you level up your skills? (Feel free to plug in as many as you’d like)
Check out It’s Nice That and Medium! They have it all! Ang daming topics at sobrang [There are a lot of topics that are super] informative. These sites also cover topics on culture, health, politics, and more.
For daily art/design inspiration, my go-to has always been Behance.
For technical, YouTube is my best friend!
Q: If you could work remotely, from anywhere in the world, where would your office be? Why?
Sa rural area. Basta malayo sa [As long as it’s far from the] city. Mas nakakainspire mag work kung may magandang view at tahimik [It’s more inspiring to work when there’s a great view and silence].
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?
Mike Winkelmann aka Beeple. He is incredible!
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.)
Si Tito Frey Cabading 🙂