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Meet Chikuwii

Meet Chikuwii, one of our first featured artists. Born and raised in the Philippines, she has a distinctive art style that is modern, youthful and utterly adorable. Read more about her here!

Could you give us a brief introduction to yourself and who you are as an artist?

Hi I’m Chiqui and I’m a freelance graphic artist from the Philippines! I like drawing faces a lot and I love using a lot of color!

What’s your background and what is something that you’d like to share with people about your culture?

I’m Filipino born and raised. Growing up in Pampanga province, our youth are making big efforts towards making local art known and spread to a larger audience. We didn’t get much support and appreciation from the generations before us but now I’m really happy to see it thriving because of our passion.

How did your journey as an artist start and how has it progressed?

I’ve always loved art ever since I was a kid. I would mostly draw girls in pretty clothes! I think it started from there. I got frustrated doing art in high school but eventually took an art-related major in college—which is when I thought about doing it seriously. I was surrounded by inspiring, passionate friends. Currently, I’m still learning and growing—and there’s still a lot I need to know but I’m trying to do it one day at a time! 😊

Who are your creative influences?

I have a lot actually but these days I take inspiration from both musical and visual artists. When I started taking art seriously, I was influenced most by Helen Mingjue Chen’s work! I love how fluid and natural her works feel. These days, I am leaning towards creating art with a lot of bright colors and I admire Lucia Pham’s bright and loud illustration works!

What sort of themes or stories do you like to tell? Or is there a specific style that you gravitate towards?

I think the art I create is what I would want to be as a person. I use a lot of bright colors because I want to give off that feel when people look at them. I hope they do notice that part! 

Do you ever find yourself stuck for inspiration and what do you do to overcome that?

When I’m stuck I usually watch a favorite movie, or read a new book—a genre I haven’t tried before so I could freshen up my senses in a way. Most times it makes me feel excited to create again.

Can you talk about the artworks that you have done for Exit 9 and what your inspiration was?

Female pop! Growing up as a kid in the 2000s, most people would make fun of my musical interests which were often described too “girly”. We’re not having any of that negativity this time! That’s why I created these artworks heavily inspired by female pop. I actually listened to a lot of Rina Sawayama’s music when I was working on them!

What do you think is an artist’ role in shaping society and culture?

Amplifying voices would definitely be one of those roles. The ability to create something that represents a certain idea—then use it to influence others is what I admire most from artists.

Where do you want to take your art in the future?

I want to keep doing art for a long time but someday I would like to use it as a tool for something that represents my ideals and beliefs. I’ll try and work hard for my art to be a reflection of things I stand for.

If you could give any advice to your younger self (and other aspiring artists out there), what would it be?

Keep creating! Some days there will be doubts about doing art but still do it. There are people rooting for you so root for yourself, too!

Explore Chikuwii's Exit 9 collection, available for a limited time only. Don't forget to also give her a follow on Instagram @chikuwii

This interview has been edited for readability and formatting.

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