#ArtdropSpotlight | Louise Saputil
There’s always a lot of talk when young people find success right away or early on in their careers. Stories like that easily attract attention. People wonder how someone can achieve the impossible at 15 or move mountains before they hit 30. Somehow, these exceptions become the standard and that causes a little trouble for so many others whose journeys look a little different. No two journeys are alike. We tend to forget that simple fact.
Today on #ArtdropSpotlight, we celebrate the journey of someone who has been in the creative industry for seventeen years. Louise Valdivia-Saputil is a Fine Arts graduate from UST, a former designer for publishing & printing companies, a wife, a mom and a talented illustrator – who takes pride in her wealth of experiences and constantly adapts to the ever-changing industry she has evolved with through the years.
This is a journey we're sure many people out there can resonate with. Louise's story is one of hard work, transitions, and constant growth. It's one we can definitely learn a thing or two from.
In her interview, she shared her story with us so freely. And we learned about her previous work experience, creative process and how she balances her freelance career with her family life.
"I can sum up my freelance artist–family life in three words: momentum, limitations, and balance."
"My momentum started in my childhood, when I had a vision that I will be taking the creative path professionally. My interests and activities were mostly art-related," Louise shared. As with many other artists, her creative dreams were returned with comments like, “There’s no money in fine arts," but she was one of the lucky ones who had the support of her family and loved ones as she pursued her path of choice. She was also lucky to even know what she wanted in the first place, as not many do.
"However, reality bites and bites hard. Obtaining a degree was not an assurance of a high-paying career." Eventually, she found her niche in publishing and printing companies and landing that job allowed her to find some balance and structure at least in her work life. Later on, her life made a 360-degree turn when she decided to start her own family and have a child. She experienced several challenges like having to live far from her professional network. Travel time was an issue. Despite being a freelancer, time management was still an issue. Having to split her time between her work and the needs of her son was also, obviously, a huge challenge in itself. Consequently, she couldn't accept more jobs despite being able to work from home.
"Again, the reality is that I can’t just wear my headphones and listen to relaxing music, not get distracted, and gain momentum for a productive work day. I learned to find my balance not by multitasking because I honestly couldn’t do everything simultaneously. To keep my sanity and have a semblance of control, I’m exerting effort at time management, writing the never-ending “to do lists,” and, of course, sharing my passion for art with my son—a great way to bond with him."
What is your usual creative process for creating personal pieces? Do you plan them in advance and then create later on or is it more spontaneous?
"I always consider that art and emotions are interconnected. Personal challenges, experiences, and reality itself become more interesting when combined with science, surrealism, and dream interpretations."
Artworks like in Artdrop and the ones I’m selling in Vizual Pop are usually planned. I would often think of a concept and then listen to music, read books, watch movies, and check out Pinterest to find inspiration. Then, I would choose a color palette that would go well with the artwork. I also do thumbnail sketches before I start with the actual work. Sometimes, I have this weird habit of staring at a blank white wall when I’m trying to come up with ideas. Haha!"
"I used to ask this question to myself: Is it okay to be a jack of all trades, master of none?"
We asked Louise about her biggest challenge in her journey so far, and she shared the question she poses to herself. She enjoys learning various art forms and constantly develops her versatility. Despite having been in the industry for seventeen years, she still doesn't consider herself an expert - perhaps wrestling with this thought is a challenge in itself? But her mindset is strong when it comes to adapting and evolving. She shared how the 'competition' is tight right now, especially since many young people that come into the industry are equipped not only with talent but also with an inclination towards business - an extremely valuable skill today - but to Louise, it's always humbling to be alongside those who are better than you.
"I like using different media and style, and I also want to mix traditional with digital art. Recently, I found myself using a certain style I am comfortable with. I eventually realized that I don’t have to be a 'master of none' if I’m a 'jack of all trades' Learning and experimenting is okay, and I can always use and choose whatever makes me work comfortably."
How are you these days? Walk us through your general routine.
"While I’m a typical homebody, I can’t believe that I haven’t been out of our house for seven months and I’m getting tired of it! Haha! I’m okay now compared with the Q1-3 of 2020. I started accepting new projects and I must admit that October is quite hectic.
I usually wake up at 6:30 am on weekdays, do quick morning exercises, take a bath, eat breakfast, water my succulents and do chores while assisting my son in his online classes until noon. In the afternoon, before I do my work, I’d start by drinking tea while reading emails, writing my to-do list and listening to music to be inspired or get me in the zone. I draw or do a quick sketch of random stuff. At night, if I’m lucky to have 30 minutes to 2 hours of me-time, I watch Netflix, Viu, or YouTube, read a few pages of books, paint, do digital collage or write on my journal. I do a few minutes of meditation before going to bed. There are also days when my son and I would do artworks or learn playing the Ukulele together. On weekends, I try to wake up late and not work but sometimes, I really can’t get away with it.
I hope that when everything returns to normal, our family can jog again at Tagaytay City Track Oval and take a quick ride around Tagaytay for some fresh air. It was part of our weekly routine that I miss the most."
Lastly, what is this year teaching you? What are some of your notes to self for the rest of the year?
The year 2020 has enabled us to focus on what matters most. Uncertainty would make us question even our purpose in life and why we make or engage in art. I wanted to share the book titled Failed It!: How to turn mistakes into ideas and other advice for successfully screwing up by Erik Kessels because whenever I feel down, stuck, or not doing enough, I instinctively read this book and it’ll make me feel better. It presents many insights and I’ll always be reminded that: “Brilliance begins at rock bottom.”
Let me end this with another quote from Hugo movie:
“Everything has a purpose, clocks tell you the time, trains take you to places. I'd imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need.”