Art + Illustration

Forever Flowers at Prism Gallery

Added on by Arlene Sy.

I'm happy to share that two of my botanical watercolor artworks are currently up at Prism Gallery for the Forever Flowers group show, which will run for the whole month of February. The exhibition features various floral and flower-themed art, rendered and interpreted through various media by a big and diverse group of artists and illustrators. My two contributions (as you can see above) are titled "Hydrangea I" and "Hydrangea II," respectively. They're inspired by my recent love for plants with dense blooms, such as hydrangea and lilac flowers.

Prism is a relatively new gallery tucked in the heart of Legaspi Village in Makati. Aside from exhibitions, they host regular art events and craft workshops, through which they actively promote young and up-and-coming talent. Stepping through the door, you are immediately greeted by a nice yet reasonably priced selection of local art merchandise (mostly prints and paper goods). Afterwards, taking everything in, you'll notice that the gallery is modestly-sized yet able to pack a lot of art in its space.

One thing I especially love about Prism is how visually appealing, vibrant, and yet highly accessible their curations are (nothing too conceptual or high-brow), and with a very distinct Filipino vibe. The way the gallery is constructed--with its clean white walls, well-placed windows and warm lights--gives you the right motivation and curiosity to check out the space, even if you just happened to pass by the neighborhood. But more importantly, you just wouldn't be able to ignore how warm, cheerful, and accommodating the staff are! If you're lucky, you might even get the chance to chat with Gold Tantoco, who runs the space with a very hands-on approach.

I'm so honored to have my work featured alongside other extremely talented artists, especially my co-members from Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK), such as Mickey Velarde, Angela Taguiang, Abi Dayacap, Abigail Santillan, Bleps Dapo, Rex Aguilar, and Kevin Roque, to name a few!

Prism Gallery is located at the ground floor of Island Tower Condominium, 239 Salcedo corner Benavides Streets, Legaspi Village, Makati City, Philippines. To know more and get updates on art and craft events, visit For inquiries, get in touch with Prism at (02) 886-3947 or send them an email via

Artis-Artisan Bazaar 2016

Added on by Arlene Sy.

Hello, everyone! You're all invited to the Artis-Artisan Bazaar hosted by my friend Marie Gutierrez, who is opening her lovely home to the public for this intimate one-day affair! This will be held on Sunday, February 7, 2016, at Beverly Hills Subdivision, Antipolo, Rizal.

Coming from a successful first run back in December 2014, the event hopes "to bring together artists and 'artis-artisans'--those who are longtime artists alongside those who are just beginning their craft. It is a day meant to inspire, provide an intimate venue in Antipolo for people to meet, mingle and learn," Marie says. The day will have various art and craft demonstrations, mini workshops, as well as goods and food for sale.

For those interested, I am scheduled for a watercolor demo from 11 AM to 12 NN on this day! Instead of my usual floral and botanical work, I will be painting a scene this time around.

If you're looking for a unique, cozy, and art-filled experience set against the backdrop of nature (and a gorgeous, inspiring home to boot); or if you're simply looking for a slow, refreshing weekend experience away from Metro Manila (but still not too far from it), then this one's definitely for you!

Alongside the lineup of art/craft/music demos (plus an all-day pottery party!), here's a list of artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives who'll be selling their goods on this day:

And finally, here's the map to the venue (click here for a bigger version):

To register for any of the events, or for any inquiries, do feel free to get in touch with Marie via mobile: 0917-6229795. You can also confirm your attendance via the event page on Facebook, here. There will be a minimal entrance fee of Php 50, which is consumable for any of the food and activities during the day.

Do let me know if you're coming! Hope to see you there!

*All posters and promotional materials designed by Marie Gutierrez.

A home-made affair in Antipolo

Added on by Arlene Sy.

I'll always remember the latter part of 2014 (yup, a couple years ago) as a busy and exciting time for me. It was then that I first ventured into producing a small line of paper goods. Not only were they received so well by the general public, but I got the chance to open up to the bigger local art scene, and I met so many incredibly kind, talented, likeminded people in the process. 

Among the events I was fortunate to participate in was the Artis-Artisan Bazaar, which was held in December that year. It was a unique, intimate, art-filled affair, and unlike any other bazaar I'd attended.

Marie, a graphic designer by profession and one of my friends from high school, was back in Manila after having lived and worked abroad for several years. (We worked together on our high school yearbook--she's one of the most creative people I know!) We reconnected when I found out she and her family would be making the Philippines their permanent home. Likewise, she learned that I'd been doing art on a full-time basis for a few years now. Since I'd started selling paper goods that time, she wondered if I'd be open to participating in an Antipolo-based bazaar she was organizing. I immediately said yes, but I got even more excited when I discovered how beautiful the venue was--and to know that this gorgeous home was hers!

During this event, I had the pleasure of setting up a small table with some of my paper goods alongside Lorra and Elbert's (whom I'd also invited to join), as well as a handful of artists, entrepreneurs, and creatives who were invited for the occasion. Among those who set up shop was Marie herself, who collaborates with her cousin on a lifestyle concept called Luona Concept Store.

Throughout the day, Marie, her husband Vitty, and the rest of their family graciously welcomed visitors to mingle and participate in the various scheduled activities--a soapmaking workshop, watercolor demos, calligraphy demo, free yoga session, and cozy outdoor film-viewing, to name a few!

The central part of Marie and Vitty's home--a beautiful dining area with a gorgeous ten-seater table--became the main workshop/demo space for the day. In the morning, Marie's sister-in-law Ana, who makes lovely handmade soaps via Bodyfood All-Natural, ran a soapmaking workshop (photo above). In the afternoon, Marie demonstrated her skill and passion for calligraphy, including her inspirations, resources, and process, in an intimate one-hour session where participants got to try their hand at the craft (unfortunately, I failed to take photos during this time!).

I was absolutely charmed and inspired by Marie and Vitty's home (which they fondly call the "Bee House"). Their unique style and personality shines through in every single space and corner. I learned that Vitty, a mechanical engineer by profession, had recently nurtured a passion for home design and architecture, which helped while the couple planned and conceptualized the look of this home. (You can view more of Vitty's work here.)

Their home had been featured as the cover story of Real Living Magazine's October 2014 issue--and it's no wonder! All day, I swooned over all the beautiful rustic details, noticed how each nook exuded a warm, personal vibe, and ogled at how every space effortlessly let nature in. Despite the drizzly weather that day, the sun never failed to make an appearance, even indoors. It was an absolute joy being surrounded by all the greenery and foliage, away from the hustle and bustle of Manila.

Apart from selling goods, reconnecting with old friends and making new ones, and enjoying Marie and Vitty's gorgeous home, what I also looked forward to was watching Marie's amazingly talented mom-in-law, Emma Gutierrez, work her watercolor magic in person! I started following Tita Emma online when Marie informed me about her work. (If you're not familiar with her art yet, do check out her work on her Instagram account.) When I met Tita Emma for the first time earlier that day, I was probably grinning like a deliriously happy fangirl; and I must have had my eyes glued to what she was doing during her demo. (I was also invited by Marie to conduct a watercolor demo later that day, but my session probably paled in comparison!)

So... I was clearly excited when Marie informed me that they were organizing a second run of the bazaar this February! As in the first time, it'll be held in the same cozy home and outdoor space, and will feature an even more exciting roster of sellers and activities--including art, craft, and typography demos, mini workshops, a free yoga session, and an all-day pottery party!

All the details in my next post!

Birthday giveaway!

Added on by Arlene Sy.

Three days ago, I turned another year older (time just fliiies!), and I'd like to celebrate by giving away a very special package of art+paper goodies! Yay! There will be TWO winners of this package, which includes: two floral notecard sets; five assorted art prints; a Sunday Paper kraft notebook; and a calligraphy print by Lorra Elena Angbue-Te!

I'm running this giveaway on Instagram, so if you have an IG account, you're absolutely welcome to join! (For your reference, this is the official post on Instagram.)

To join this giveaway:

  1. On the app, follow my Instagram account (@arlenesy).
  2. Repost the photo as it appears on Instagram (only once) with #arlenesybday2015 and tag @arlenesy.
  3. Tag two of your friends in the caption of your post (or directly on the photo).

Do take note:

  • This contest is open to Philippine residents only.
  • Make sure your account is public so I can see your entry.
  • This giveaway will run until Sunday, March 8.

On Monday, March 9, I'll be picking two winners at random, which I'll likewise announce on IG. Good luck, everyone!

January, February, lately

Added on by Arlene Sy.
blog Photo 1-31-15, 11 13 49 AM.jpg

January moved along at a snail's pace. Things were happy and pleasant for the most part, then--just as soon as people were getting back to their workdesks--we had another long vacation, thanks to Pope Francis' Philippine visit, which also came right before a scheduled family trip. Not complaining there, but it definitely slowed things down.

I had some time to evaluate myself, and I struggled, coming from a period of very little work activity from December all the way to the end of January. I barely promoted my work during this time, nor did I actively seek out clients. On a personal level, I knew something was up--I still hadn't started creating for my own pleasure. So a few days ago, while waiting for a friend at the mall, I forced myself to whip out my watercolor pad and portable paints.

The spring couture shows in Europe had just trickled through social media, and I had the chance to get glimpses of the Chanel, Dior, and Giambattista Valli shows. Just a few photos mostly, but it was enough to ignite that little spark for the two things I hadn't done in such a long time: portraiture and fashion illustration.

Back in 2010, one of the things that really set me on track to moving full-time into art, was getting exposed to (and trying my hand at) fashion illustration. I know I can't complain, as it's partly my fault for not producing more of this kind of work, which could possibly lead to projects of this sort. It's been too long that I've stuck to flowers and botanicals. Time to make other things happen.