CMCBJJ - Your Everday Dose of Martial Arts and the Arts

CMCBJJ - Your Everday Dose of Martial Arts and the Arts
Authored By David Tan

Name: Christopher Cortez

Location: Quezon City, Metro Manila

Filipino Artist Profile: Christopher Cortez

It’s not often you see two worlds so far apart come together in perfect unison. For Christopher Cortez, that’s what CMCBJJ is all about. This artist gets to fuse together two of the greatest things in his life - his love for the arts and passion for martial arts. Take a look down below to see how this artist managed to bring these two worlds together and create amazing artworks in the process.

How did your journey as an artist begin?
I took Fine Arts back in College, then Advertising. After that, I worked as a Graphic Designer, Video Editor, and as part of a 3D Game Development team, and other kinds of side projects.
Before those things, I started drawing in High School and I didn’t know if it was even art back then. As compared to the artists in school at that time, my work wasn’t as clean as theirs. In my mind, I was just drawing because I wanted to. I then tried Fine Arts, which I didn’t know was a real course before.

How did you come up with your brand name and what’s the reason behind it?
Well, it’s just my name. CMC, initials of my full name, then BJJ, which is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, because I’m into martial arts. I chose that name because I want to focus on my niche market, which is people who are into Jiu-Jitsu, or martial arts in general.

What is your favorite subject to create and why?
Well, I can consider Jiu-Jitsu as my favorite subject to create because I incorporate it in all aspects of my life. Since I’m an artist, I try to incorporate those things too. I also like fantasy-oriented topics that are found in comics. I incorporate those too.

How would you describe your style as an artist?
I’m not that specific when it comes to my art. There are times I only use a pencil and sometimes, I digitize it using a computer. I sometimes start with 2D then transition to 3D or the other way around. That’s why I can’t specify where I begin when it comes to style.

Every artist has that one creation they’re proud of the most. For you, what is that and why?
For me, there isn’t one yet. Every piece of art I do is not yet the best, in my perspective. When I finish a piece, it looks good. But at the back of my mind, there’s another idea that looks cooler. I can add something more to my existing work to make it that way. It can then become something new, which is more beautiful than my previous work. That’s why I can’t say which one of my creations is my favorite.

What are the common struggles you encounter as an artist?
When it comes to my personal work, I can’t say there are any struggles. On the other hand, when it comes to my professional work, there are some. For example, when a client wants something with a limited budget or resources or there’s something I can’t do creatively, I can consider that as a struggle.

What is the most important achievement you have attained as an artist?
Christopher: As of now, there isn’t one yet. I’m not really goal-oriented, which is both good and bad for my personal work. It’s bad because you don’t get to improve enough. It should be that way but I’m really not that big on goals when it comes to my personal work. Of course, it’s different when it comes to my professional work.

What are your strengths as an artist?
One of the first things that come into mind is flexibility. There are times when people need a specific kind of output, I will do my best to achieve it. I’m not married to one specific style of art. Flexibility to accomplishing the work, I can consider that as one of my main strengths.

When people see your work, what do they usually say about it?
Well, I don’t usually take to heart what people say about my work. Most of the people I talk to, though, have positive comments about what I do. But unless another artist talks to me about my work, I don’t normally give a lot of thought to what others say because I don’t want their opinion to affect me.

As an artist, how do you handle criticism about your work?
That depends on the kind of person giving the criticism. As an illustrator, my work tends to be done commercially. If someone credible comments, like my work lacks color, I’ll look and see for myself if that’s true. But if the criticism is from someone I don’t know or isn’t into the arts, I’m going to analyze first why they said that. What’s important is that you won’t be affected by criticism, especially those that really don’t have any weight.

Are you more comfortable working alone or collaborate with other artists in a group?
If it’s doing my personal work, of course, I prefer doing it alone. If it’s my professional work and there might be a need to work with others, I can. For example, when it comes to game development, projects under that kind of work require a group. But my preference is to do my personal work on my own.

What piece of advice can you give to people who want to embark on their journey towards becoming an artist like you?
Be brave and continue creating. There are times when you see other artists, then you see your work, you’ll feel how behind you are. You are overthinking when you do that. Don’t overthink and just continue working on your craft. One day, you’re going to find your style or you’re going to improve enough for you or other people to like your work. You also have to polish what needs to be polished, the practices that are not working anymore, to make some progress.   

How did you discover Merchiful and why did you choose it as the platform for your designs?
I started using other platforms before I went with Merchiful. The thing is, those platforms don’t have a local branch. A lot of people here in the Philippines are interested in ordering a t-shirt with my design on it but I can’t offer them any means. Those platforms are also expensive when compared to prices here in the country. I searched for a service that’s similar and Merchiful came up. I checked other local options but Merchiful offered the best service.

What can Merchiful customers expect from you in the coming months ahead?
They can expect me to continue making designs. If someone inquires about a certain design, I’ll try my best to accommodate them, as long as I don’t stray far away from the path I’m on right now.

In one word, how would you describe yourself as an artist?
It’s not really one word but what describes me is I’m not chained down to anything.

It’s not only Christopher who can showcase his love for Martial Arts in an artistic way. You can too by heading out to CMCBJJ’s Merchiful store. From there, you’ll have the chance to take home this artist’s wonderful merch for your personal use and enjoyment. You can also learn more about CMCBJJ from these different social media platforms.

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