#ArtdropSpotlight | Gabe Ferrer – Artdrop.shop

#ArtdropSpotlight | Gabe Ferrer

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It takes skill to make something ordinary look special, whether it be through a painting or a picture. When you see the work of Gabe Ferrer, you would say that most of the things he captures in his photos are quite familiar to all of us - city street life, rush hour, architectural landmarks and details. These are the things that make up the urban fabric and, more often than not, they go unnoticed - and yet,

when photographed by someone like Gabe, these same things not only grab your attention but, they're also able to hold it long enough for you to wonder how you ever missed that beautiful detail. 

Gabe is a multi-faceted creative so, his brilliant photography is only one part of the whole. He has delved into dance, videography, film and now works as a director. 

This week on #ArtdropSpotlight, we are proud to feature Gabe Ferrer. In this feature interview, he shares insights on being an employed creative, balancing personal projects with work, as well as moving forward despite the fears and uncertainties we all have during these times.
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Gabe's travel photos from his amazing Instagram feed.

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We know you to be an all-around creative: a dancer, photographer and videographer. How did these things come into your life? And how do all these aspects come into play with the work you do now?

My roots in film were established at an early age when my grandfather gave me my first camera. It was a small point and shoot camera which I used to make Steve Irwin style documentaries. My brother was the “wild animal” subject while my teddy bear, who I still have today, was the Australian host. For a long time after that my love for making films went dormant until dance brought me back. In my college dance organisation, I was elected promotions head so I felt that I needed to understand my responsibilities more. My dad helped buy my first DSLR and I’ve never looked back since.

Even if dance seems so far removed from film and photography, I still feel like the mentality of always being open to different artistic disciplines really helped me form myself as a creative. 

What's it like being both an employed creative and freelancer? How do you balance the different kinds of work you have?

Being on both sides of the coin definitely makes balancing both a little difficult. I certainly invested more time and leaned towards my work as an employed creative because I was required to come in during set hours before the whole pandemic. I would only freelance if I had the opportunity to on the weekends but I’m hoping that’ll change if my work hours become more flexible down the line.

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A glimpse of Gabe's work set up as a director. Photo from Gabe Ferrer.

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We asked all our artists this, as everyone has their own set of losses for 2020. What are some of the things that didn't happen for you because of the pandemic/lockdown? How has all of this affected your creativity?

My trips to Japan and Cebu were cancelled because of the pandemic. I love shooting the outdoors and sunny urban scenes so it was really a tough blow for me when I had to cancel the trips. The whole lockdown is driving me up the walls because I have all the time in the world I wish I used to have before the lockdown when I had set hours for the office but now that I have the time I can’t go out to shoot without feeling unsafe. I’ve been doing little film and photography projects at home and they’re going quite well but I’m still yearning for more. 

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A lovely pet turtle. Photo from Gabe Ferrer.
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The artist at home. Photo from Gabe Ferrer.
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How are you these days? Walk us through your general routine.

Being an extrovert, this lockdown has been especially tough for me but I’ve been getting by. I’ve gone back to a lot of things like drawing, reading, gaming and catching up on a lot of series. I usually get up around 11AM and feed my turtle (she likes to walk around the house) then start working at 1PM for days that I don’t have a shoot. My afternoons are filled with meetings and chores. During the evenings I usually use that time to relax and spend time with my girlfriend or work on my personal projects. 

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What are some guilty pleasures of yours this quarantine? What gives you peace/keeps you sane nowadays?

I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure but watching anime (Haikyuu, GetBackers, My Hero Academia, etc), working on personal projects and playing Animal Crossing has really kept me sane during the quarantine. There’s something about the emotional journeys that these characters go through that not only entertain me but inspire me as well. I’m usually the type to be out and about with friends but somehow these things have really brought peace in the absence of face to face interactions.

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Quick mirror 'selfie'. Photo from Gabe Ferrer.
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Tell us about some of the pieces on the platform. Why did you choose these ones? 

All the pieces are part of an ongoing series I call the World In Technicolor. It’s all about reframing the mundane world and making the viewer appreciate it in a different light. I usually look for scenes with a lot of sky and trees visible so that it’ll be easier in post to achieve visual contrast with the colors. The ones on Artdrop hold a special place in my heart as most of them were taken during my last family trip to Japan in 2016. Togetherness in particular is my favorite as it features my mother and late father in the lower left corner of the photo. 
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"Introspection" by Gabe Ferrer. Starts at Php 3,300.
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As with all our artists, we closed the interview by asking: what is this year teaching you? Here, we discovered that Gabe is a lot like the rest of us. He too has been learning difficult lessons these past months, as both a creative and an employee. He too experienced burnout at work - who hasn't, really? This feeling of stress and fatigue is something everyone goes through and it somehow seemed to collectively worsen during the pandemic.

"I just wanted to hole up and find myself as a creative again", Gabe said.

As he continued to express how uncertainty still weighs on him, it was quite refreshing to hear something so true and relatable from someone so admired. We're all human and we're all going through different versions of the same thing - and perhaps that may be enough to hold on to, at least for now.
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See more of Gabe's work on Artdrop here. To contact Gabe directly, visit her on Instagram.