Reg Silva Art - A Deep Dive Into The Cute and Whimsical

Reg Silva Art - A Deep Dive Into The Cute and Whimsical
Authored By David Tan

Name: Reg Silva

Location: Manila, Philippines

Filipino Artist Profile: Reg Silva

A journey to becoming an artist isn’t for the faint of heart. You have to not only face your fears, but you have to go out there and do the dirty work every single day. For Reg Silva, that journey has brought her to where she is now - a brand that comes up with lovely and quirky art that gives life to your faith as well. Learn the process and motivation behind this artist’s work below and be inspired by it.

How did your journey as an artist begin?
I was four years old when I first wanted to become a “drawer.” My parents were very supportive— there were no visual artists in our family but they indulged me in summer art lessons in my childhood. Later, I studied Multimedia Arts in college and learned digital skills to add to my drawing skills. After college, I took on jobs as a graphic designer but found that what I really loved was illustration. I built up an illustration portfolio, got international representation from an art agency for a few years, then branched out into painting and making comics just a couple of years ago. All in all, I’ve been a professional artist for 16 years now.

How did you come up with Reg Silva Art for your brand name and what is the reason behind it?
I used to go by the name “Wedgienet” (from my college days) on my online spaces but I had to ease out of it— I outgrew it. My natural inclination is to just use my name, Reg Silva Art, so as not to stress myself out thinking of a new online handle. It’s been a few years of me using Reg Silva Art although I foresee another name change or name expansion happening soon. Now that I’m starting to make merch, I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable at the thought of my name being a “brand,” so I recently registered a business name that doesn’t have my name in it. I’m keeping that under wraps for now, but it will happen.

What is your favorite subject to create, and why?
Cats, Jesus, Mama Mary, and other scenes and figures from my Catholic faith. These are the things closest to my heart so they just flow out of me naturally onto my canvas.

How would you describe your style?
Cute, round, sweet, playful, whimsical, irreverent, and full of color.

What are the influences that shaped your style?
Early on, my illustration style was strongly influenced by Japanese kawaii graphics— I used to go to Japan every now and then for leisure and to find kawaii inspiration. Disney’s Lilo and Stitch is an inspiration as well. I remember studying the way the characters are rendered and they’re drawn with no sharp edges or corners in their body, so I apply that in my drawings as well to get a soft, gentle look.

Every artist has that one creation they're proud of the most. For you, what is that piece, and why?
I don’t think I’ve found it yet! Nothing really stands out to me from my work so far, but I am fond of a couple of recent paintings I did— Painting Tomorrow (Jesus looking over an artist painting away in a house in the woods) and Our Father who Art in Heaven (Jesus painting in front of an easel up in heaven). They’re the first personal paintings I made for myself in mind, my little escape to a place where it’s just me and the Lord.

What are the struggles you encounter as an artist?
It changes as I change and grow in my journey as an artist— the struggles evolve as well. I used to struggle with gaining acceptance among my local artist peers, because it seemed cartoony art was overlooked and not considered art. Right now though, my current struggle is trying to balance the work that comes with expanding as an artist. 

What is the most important achievement you've accomplished as an artist? 
After having already found my visual style through years of experimentation and hard work, I am now just starting to find and explore my artist’s voice— what I want to say and communicate through my work. I think that’s important because you can have a very strong visual style but your art can end up not communicating any significant message at all. I’m still on the journey to discover what mine will say— especially since I also want my art to be an instrument of God’s message to the people He sends my way.

What are the strengths you possess as an artist and as an entrepreneur running the business side of things?
I know myself well and my strengths and weaknesses as an artist and therefore, I know what work to avoid and what to focus on. I realized early on I don’t do well with numbers and pricing, so I found an art agency to represent me in the past and do the dirty work (accounting, invoicing, talking to clients, etc.) for me. 

Lately, I’m realizing I’m terrible at sales and marketing and I HATE social media, so I’ve been thinking of eventually getting someone to handle those things for me. That way I can just concentrate on churning out the art itself, which I’m good at. Merchiful is also a godsend because while I wanted merch for my art, I knew I’m not going to be able to have the time to actually produce merch AND do art at the same time, so that’s where Merchiful comes in. It’s knowing what to focus on that keeps you running in step and not flailing about all over the place.

What do people usually say about your designs?
With my recent work, people usually say that my art brings peace and joy, or sometimes people message me with a very specific message they’ve gotten from the Lord from looking at my art. I am humbled! For my comics, some have sent heartwarming messages saying the work gives them comfort and helps ease their stresses, especially in this pandemic.

How do you handle criticism directed towards your work?
I don’t, maybe? I just shrug them off. Art is very personal and subjective, and I understand what appeals to some might not appeal to others. I’m also very lighthearted about my art— if others don’t like it or don’t see the value in it, then okay. It makes ME happy first and foremost.

Are you more comfortable working alone, or do you prefer being a part of a group?
Does an artist ever really work with a group? We’re mostly solitary creatures, us artists, and while I do get together with art friends every now and then for “artambays,” I still am more comfortable and at ease working alone.

Do you have any advice for talented individuals who are about to start their artistic journeys?
Talent isn’t everything; you have to work hard, too. And it’s difficult having your talent and passion be your career, too— you will burn out, you will fail, you’ll be frustrated… but if it’s something you really love doing, you can’t walk away from it, no matter how hard you try. If you keep at it, one day everything you’ve planted will bloom and bear fruit.

How did you know about Merchiful, and why did you choose it as the platform of your designs?
I was looking for a local alternative to Society6, a US-based print-on-demand company which I’ve been selling on since 2012, and Merchiful came up! I don’t advertise my Society6 shop very often because the prices are expensive when converted to Pesos, and I was happy to discover Merchiful as a great alternative— and even better that it’s Filipino-run and owned. I’m quite pleased with the quality of its products, too.

What can Merchiful customers expect from you in the coming months ahead?
More designs and new products! I’m working to come up with new ones and make existing ones better.

In one word, how would you describe yourself as an artist?

One look at Reg’s art and you’ll be taken for an incredible ride into her playful and endearing take on things. If this is how you want to feel every day, you can express yourself by taking a look at this artist’s Merchiful store for the perfect merch to suit your mood. You can also check her out on these different social platforms.

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