#ArtistSpotlight | Ivy Pangilinan
2020 has been a whirlwind of events that no one could have expected. With digital shifts and economic turns happening all at the same time, we can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of fear and helplessness. Our featured artist for today experiences the same anxieties, yet seeks to overcome these in the same intuitive way she approaches her art.
Ivy Pangilinan’s pieces are a fluid combination of lines and shapes, color and contrast which command presence — by allowing an absence for something deeper and more personal to exist. They convey a key aspect of her constantly evolving perspective which she has opened up to a plethora of living and learning experiences.
For Ivy, everyday is a chance to discover new things and today, at #ArtistSpotlight, we discover her wonderful outlook on the vibrancy of life and art.
How are you these days? Walk us through your general routine.
“These days, I am well; I feel balanced, light, joyful, at peace. Especially these last few months, I find there’s some kind of guilt that comes with saying that — with owning joy. I realize not everyone is fortunate enough to be in as comfortable of a situation given everything that’s happened. But I also know it’s not healthy to deny it if that really is my reality now.
And it’s also not to say that things have been smooth sailing for me. In fact, these past 6 months I’ve had my life change pretty drastically [between the ending of my long-term relationship in the middle of the lockdown, having to move out of my home back to my parents’ and dealing with the logistics of that, and all the other changes the world went through this year — it’s been a whirlwind haha!]. It was all quite overwhelming [a major understatement], but over time it was actually through the forced groundlessness that I learned how to come to terms and find peace amidst the uncertainty.”
“Learning what it means to TRULY surrender to the present moment has been so liberating and everyday I continue to deepen my understanding of this... It’s active healing work.”
Could you tell us more about your passion for the ocean and nature? How did you build this interest and how does it come into play with your creative work?
“I grew up as the outdoorsy one in a non-outdoorsy family. So it was really only a bit later in life when I gained more independence and was actually able to fully explore this side of me. I got into free-diving in 2012, a year after finishing college, through a diving org in Ateneo called ISDA... I think it was here, cultivating a passion for nature and the country’s rich marine resources [as well as seeing all the problems that we have in regards to this], when my world really started opening up, and I became inspired to pursue more alternative choices in life.
With my design work, I make it a point to intentionally seek out work with conservation groups and contribute my skills to their causes. Some of the organizations I’ve worked with over the years are Balyena.org, Green Fins, Reef-World Foundation, Save Philippine Seas, LAMAVE Project, Reef Nomads/Batang VIP (Verde Island Passage). I still work with more corporate clients [because ya girl’s gotta make a living], but it’s nice to balance that with non-profit work too.
With my painting practice — I always try to channel that feeling of freedom that nature gives me into my art. I think that’s one of the themes you’ll notice when you look at my body of work. I don’t like rules; rather, I’m more drawn to organic shapes, free-flowing lines, crazy colors. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense, and that’s what I like about it. That’s actually what drew me to abstract painting in the first place. It’s in my art practice where I allow myself to get loose, in contrast to design work where things always need to have order and make sense.”
I relish in my painting process which is very non-linear — when I paint, I just flow with wherever I am guided, like how one flows with the sea. I think of this quote whenever I paint: “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” — Lao Tzu
Could you share with us your favorite project to date?
“My favorite projects are the ones that allow me to merge both my disciplines of art and design. Recently, I was lucky enough to work on a project with some like-minded clients who really knew the value of the creative process, and trusted me enough to do my own thing with it. It was a branding project for a co-creative digital space. The project still actually hasn’t launched, so I can’t reveal much details yet, but what I loved about it is the fact that they allowed me the space to be as non-linear with the process as I needed to be.”
What are you most grateful for this year? And what do you miss the most about 'the old normal'?
“I’m grateful for the time and opportunity that 2020 has allowed me to look within myself. [Of course, I say this with a certain amount of privilege, given that I’ve been working online or remotely for years now so my projects were not really affected much by the pandemic and I didn’t need to worry about this aspect of my life much. I recognize not everyone is in the same boat.]
But in my own experience of how 2020 has played out, I can definitely say that this year has been my most transformative year to date. I am not the same person that I once was...yet I’ve never felt more me. And I found this by learning how to stay quiet and listening to the inner voice within, that voice that asks me to show up as my highest expression, everyday. It’s not always successful... But still I try everyday. And I learn.
What I miss the most about the old normal… I miss freedom. But I’m also learning that you can find freedom even in little moments in your everyday. Though maybe even more than freedom, I miss connecting with people face-to-face. Seeing friends and family and being able to hug them without worry. I can’t wait for the day when we can all do this again soon.”
Having been a designer and artist for so long, Ivy shares that her biggest lesson in her journey was the “illusion” of control, that it’s simply an illusion that leads to anxiety. According to Ivy, “letting go can actually do wonders… when things fall apart, and you have nothing left to hold on to but yourself, you find liberation. You find yourself.” This rings true for we can never know what the future holds. “Life is both joy and suffering, you can’t experience one without the other,” she says. She assures us that...