Now’s your chance to get an exclusive 50% off on all Ferdinand merchandise at La Feria de Junio!
La Feria de Junio is a premier one-day event organized by Jonathan Apilado and Sindy Leoncio, at the Filipinas Heritage Library, Ayala Triangle in Makati on Friday, June 15th. It’s packed to the gills with a bunch of cool, unique items you can only find there, and a portion of all their profit goes to support Ferdinand! We’ll also have a booth, and as an email subscriber, you can get any of our goods at the generously discounted price of only 299php! That’s half off! All you need to do to qualify for the discount is give us your email address so we can make sure you’re signed up for our newsletter. We won’t use your email address for any nefarious purposes.
Check out that poster above. That was designed by one of our first one-on-one students, John Rey Canonio. I couldn’t be prouder. But we’d like to be able to teach many, many more artists, so all profits earned at the Ferdinand booth will go towards the construction of a school where we can teach full classrooms of students.
Hope to see you there!
We’re making big changes to our online store today. Our t-shirts are no longer priced at $29 USD (1,255 PHP), but at less than half that at only 599 PHP!
Notice I didn’t include a USD amount in the second price. In order to keep our prices low for the majority of our supporters, we’re only including shipping within the Philippines.
But we’ll still happily ship you our goods! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for our current international shipping rates, and to arrange your order!
When I was in the third grade in Alaska, I wanted to be a world famous cruise ship designer by day, and a taxi driver by night. I would lie in my bunk bed drawing elaborate floor plans for imaginary cruise ships. Cruise ships with three-story libraries in them. Cruise ships with large chimney standpipes à la Titanic, and cruise ships with large riverboat paddle wheels on the back. On nights I was feeling extra ambitious, I’d craft up a Frankenship with both chimney standpipes and paddle wheels, practicality be damned.
And I thought that by now, surely, taxi cabs would be able to fly.
But here I am, turning 29 this month, a graphic designer by trade. I no longer live in Alaska; I now call the Philippines my home. So what happened?
In cruise ship parlance, it’s called…
When I was twelve, my parents changed my life. For Christmas that year, they bought me my first computer. A Mac! This was a really big deal. My family had been going through a severe rough patch, both emotionally and financially. My brother had died a couple years earlier, and we had incurred lots of debt. We’d wake up in the mornings to garbage bags full of used clothes on our doorsteps left by generous neighbors. One Christmas, charitable strangers showed up to our house with bags of presents. My parents did a great job of shielding me from the knowledge we were poor, but I still knew they must have made large sacrifices and spent everything they had on that Mac.
Not long after getting the Mac, I started designing web sites. First for my middle school, then for some local small businesses. I quickly realized I could start making money at this, so with my parents’ help, I got a small business license and set up shop.
Ten years later, I was still running a small design shop (although it had evolved from its web design roots into a more full fledged identity design shop), when I came across one of the most stunning portraits I’d ever seen on Flickr. The photographer—Ralph, from the Philippines— had an incredible knack for capturing the soul of his subjects. When I saw that he wasn’t a Flickr Pro member and was nearing his 200-photo limit, I quickly gifted him a Pro membership and introduced myself. We became long distance friends.
I was getting bored with doing client projects day-in and day-out and wanted to start a project of my own that I could be proud of. I talked to Ralph about possibly collaborating on a documentary film project about the plight of the Filipino family. He was on board.
Some people wonder why we mention the sex industry in some of our marketing. The documentary was the reason why. Some of the youth who were to star in the documentary worked in the sex industry. They were friendly, loving people, and they accepted me into their homes as if I were just another member of their tight-knit families. Far from being “sluts,” they were good people with high morals, caught in a terrible situation.
A couple of them were also brilliant artists. Knowing I was a designer, they’d talk to me about art and design matters. It was obvious they wanted to become designers too, but there were no options for them. They couldn’t afford training.
My plan was to buy them both an iMac, and spend an extra year or two teaching them everything I know about graphic design, in hopes that they’d be able to get better jobs.
But then we cancelled the documentary before it even got off the ground. Why? Well, we didn’t want to hurt the families. Their neighbors didn’t know what they were doing, and if a documentary came out, their secret would be revealed. It wouldn’t matter if we portrayed them in a positive light, the film would hurt them—the opposite of what we wanted. I still hoped to teach graphic design, though, so I needed a reason to stay here in the Philippines.
That’s how Ferdinand was born.
The same way my life was completely changed when my parents bought me my first computer, I believe graphic design education can completely change the lives of young artists who are stuck in unfavorable situations. And by starting a center, we could help so many more people.
Ferdinand Center for the Creative hasn’t gotten off the ground yet, but today I’m thrilled to announce we’re accepting new student applications.
Are you interested in studying graphic design, but can’t afford the expensive art school tuition? Apply to be a student at Ferdinand Center for the Creative. We charge NO FEES to our students.
Or perhaps you know someone else who’d benefit from studying under us. Encourage them to apply!
We haven’t yet reached our fundraising goals in order to build our Center, but before we do, we’d like to get to know our future students better. (Also, it helps our fundraising efforts if potential donors can understand just who we’d like to help.)
We also have a few openings for one-on-one training, if you just can’t wait.
After completing your student application, we’ll give you a call to schedule a personal interview. Don’t be nervous, we’re excited to meet you!
Some important advice: be completely honest with your answers. Think of your application as a survey, not a test. Give your best answers, but don’t worry that any of your answers are going to disqualify you from becoming a student.
So what are you waiting for? Be one of the first to sign up for this life changing opportunity!
Lester Nelson, Executive Director
Check out the shirt after the break, and read an English translation of Rizal’s final poem, Mi Ultimo Adios (My Last Farewell).
by José Rizal, 1896, translated by Edwin Agustín Lozada
Farewell, beloved Country, treasured region of the sun,
Pearl of the sea of the Orient, our lost Eden!
To you eagerly I surrender this sad and gloomy life;
And were it brighter, fresher, more florid,
Even then I’d give it to you, for your sake alone.
In fields of battle, deliriously fighting,
Others give you their lives, without doubt, without regret;
The place matters not: where there’s cypress, laurel or lily,
On a plank or open field, in combat or cruel martyrdom,
It’s all the same if the home or country asks.
I die when I see the sky has unfurled its colors
And at last after a cloak of darkness announces the day;
If you need scarlet to tint your dawn,
Shed my blood, pour it as the moment comes,
And may it be gilded by a reflection of the heaven’s newly-born light.
My dreams, when scarcely an adolescent,
My dreams, when a young man already full of life,
Were to see you one day, jewel of the sea of the Orient,
Dry those eyes of black, that forehead high,
Without frown, without wrinkles, without stains of shame.
My lifelong dream, my deep burning desire,
This soul that will soon depart cries out: Salud!
To your health! Oh how beautiful to fall to give you flight,
To die to give you life, to die under your sky,
And in your enchanted land eternally sleep.
If upon my grave one day you see appear,
Amidst the dense grass, a simple humble flower,
Place it near your lips and my soul you’ll kiss,
And on my brow may I feel, under the cold tomb,
The gentle blow of your tenderness, the warmth of your breath.
Let the moon see me in a soft and tranquil light,
Let the dawn send its fleeting radiance,
Let the wind moan with its low murmur,
And should a bird descend and rest on my cross,
Let it sing its canticle of peace.
Let the burning sun evaporate the rains,
And with my clamor behind, towards the sky may they turn pure;
Let a friend mourn my early demise,
And in the serene afternoons, when someone prays for me,
O Country, pray to God also for my rest!
Pray for all the unfortunate ones who died,
For all who suffered torments unequaled,
For our poor mothers who in their grief and bitterness cry,
For orphans and widows, for prisoners in torture,
And for yourself pray that your final redemption you’ll see.
And when the cemetery is enveloped in dark night,
And there, alone, only those who have gone remain in vigil,
Disturb not their rest, nor the mystery,
And should you hear chords from a zither or psaltery,
It is I, beloved Country, singing to you.
And when my grave, then by all forgotten,
has not a cross nor stone to mark its place,
Let men plow and with a spade scatter it,
And before my ashes return to nothing,
May they be the dust that carpets your fields.
Then nothing matters, cast me in oblivion.
Your atmosphere, your space and valleys I’ll cross.
I will be a vibrant and clear note to your ears,
Aroma, light, colors, murmur, moan, and song,
Constantly repeating the essence of my faith.
My idolized country, sorrow of my sorrows,
Beloved Filipinas, hear my last good-bye.
There I leave you all, my parents, my loves.
I’ll go where there are no slaves, hangmen nor oppressors,
Where faith doesn’t kill, where the one who reigns is God.
Goodbye, dear parents, brother and sisters, fragments of my soul,
Childhood friends in the home now lost,
Give thanks that I rest from this wearisome day;
Goodbye, sweet foreigner, my friend, my joy;
Farewell, loved ones, to die is to rest.
It’s my great pleasure to announce the launch of our online store! Currently we’ve got t-shirts up for sale, all lovingly designed and hand silkscreened in the Philippines. This has been a much greater undertaking than I originally imagined. Shipping products from the Philippines to other countries is more expensive than we’d like, but we’ve worked out a solution so that you can get our products at a reasonable price with the cost of shipping included. I’ll say that again: free international shipping on all items in the store!
To celebrate the launch of our online store, we created a little video with the help of some of our supporters and future students. Check it out, and then head to our store and buy some merch!
All proceeds will go towards the construction of our Center, to help artists who can’t afford college, and to feed and educate street children.
I’d like to thank Daemon Becker, of Pioneer Studios, for being our wonderful Director of Photography and the photographer for our product pages. Nick Marcelo for doing a great job of turning my design into a working online store. And last but not least, a big Thank You goes out to all our supporters who came out to the film shoot. I had a blast with you guys.
Kristy Anne Ligones, also known as KDLIG, is a master of vectors. When I first came upon her work, it was hard to believe that she didn’t just run her photos through an automatic vector tool. Except they were too good to have been created by a machine, too much care had been put into crafting portraits that accurately captured the personality of the subject. We’re pleased she took the time to answer some of our questions.
You’re originally from Cagayan de Oro, right? What were some of your favorite things about CDO?
Yup, CDO is my hometown. My favorite things would be the simplicity of the place; not that much garbage or traffic, and not too crowded either, unlike the giant cities. Though I consider Cebu as my second home and the city I love the most, CDO is still my comfort zone.
You currently live in Dubai. What made you leave the Philippines?
In the Philippines, I was struggling with freelance jobs. I’d become a full-time freelancer and had some mishaps working with some big-name companies in Cebu, wasn’t lucky enough to land at the right place to work, and graphic artists in the area were only getting paid minimum wage at the time. When the opportunity came, a friend in Dubai sent me a facebook message that there’s an ad agency hiring an illustrator, so I sent my CV immediately, and quickly got a response back that they wanted to hire me right away.
How do your roots influence your work?
Maybe our culture on believing in superstitions and enchanted creatures led me to create my own imaginative characters as well. My grandma and older cousins used to tell my sister and I strange stories, and we used to beg them to tell us more.
What led to your original interest in art and illustration?
When I was young, I was very much alone and the neighborhood kids didn’t want me around, so I was left with some paper, pencils and crayons, and I started trying to copy illustrations from my sister’s textbooks. As far as I can remember, my drawings were still crappy during my younger years, but it didn’t stop me from continuing on achieving my goals of being an illustrator. During my high school years, I got more interested, and took some summer art workshops.
How’d you get so good?
Practice and Patience, the two P’s I’m proud to have. Without them, who knows where I’d be right now.
What were some obstacles you faced along the way?
Dealing with unpaid jobs, and trying to confront the clients who didn’t pay me. Also juggling jobs with a personal life. There was a time I got hospitalized; numerous sicknesses, dengue fever, other stuff, and the doctors advised me not to overwork myself. I’m trying to be more careful with my health now, because I hate hospitals.
What’s the best gig you’ve had? Any work you’re particularly proud of?
Although today it wouldn’t be as big a deal since it’s easier, and more online competitions have been popping up, winning threadless was probably my proudest moment, since I really wasn’t expecting it and don’t consider myself the winning kind. The latest project I’m most proud of was being chosen to create the Manny Pacquiao poster for the launch of the Nike Trainer 1.2, which was displayed at Niketown New York.
What other illustrators inspire you?
I’m a big fan of pop surrealism, and even the surrealism paintings of Dali and Kahlo. Illustrators from that area are very influential to me, like Tara McPherson, Alex Pardee, James Jean, Amy Sol, Audrey Kawasaki, Sylvia Ji, and more. They have so much freedom in their work. It brings joy to my heart to see the works of these artists.
What inspires you outside the design world?
I’m totally into graphic novels these days; other people’s stories and illustrations inspire me and keep my imagination flowing. Random everyday things I see on my travels, every song in my playlist, these things inspire me. Visiting bookstores, exploring indie music and films.
What’s your creative process like?
Stewie Griffin’s semi-realistic illustration vector process from Kristy Anne Ligones on Vimeo.
How do you avoid creative block?
I always have books and graphic novels around me, music to listen to, some feel-good movies and videos to watch. Walking is also a good thing when I need to think, it just makes my ideas flow. Dreaming as well. I need to record these things on my mind or list them in case I need them later in times of a creative crisis. Even if they’re nowhere near what I was aiming for, at least from these things I can create a connection to the idea I’ve been wanting to fill the void.
Anyone you’d like to collaborate with?
I’ve done a lot of collaborations, and there are a lot of artists I’d love to collaborate with. It would be nice to work alongside some of the artists that were featured along with me in Rogue Magazine. I’m open to anyone who’s interested.
What’s next for you? Anything cool in the pipeline?
I’ll be part of an exhibit here in Dubai at one of their prestigious universities, the American University of Dubai. It’s an exhibition of illustrators for future illustrators. I’m also taking part of the first Comicon event here in the middle east. I’ll be at the artist alley, probably selling some stuff, showing my portfolio, and might launch my first online comics there as well.
What are your goals for the future?
I don’t have any definite goals exactly. Come what may, as long as I’m still making art and sharing them for the whole world to see, and representing my country well.
Happy Holidays! Starting today, until the end of January, we’re running a very special deal. If you donate $100 or more, you’ll get your name (or someone’s name of your choosing) on a wall of our finished building in 3D letters for everyone to see! That’s a savings of $150, but it’s for a limited time only. This is the perfect gift for the person in your life who has everything, or if you’re that person, it’s the perfect last-minute gift recommendation to ask for from family and friends.
If you’re like 99% of our supporters, you (a) realize the importance of what we’re doing, and (b) haven’t donated yet. Well, now’s the perfect time. You might think, this project is great, but enough other people will support it that it’ll launch without my help. But that’s what the others are thinking as well, and I’m here to tell you, without your help, it’s not possible. So please, donate today and you’ll help countless creative Filipinos achieve their dreams, get jobs, and escape poverty. You’ll also be helping homeless children living on the street get an education and a good meal. We can’t do it without your help.
I post here far too seldom, but I had planned a happy, funny post for today.
This isn’t that post.
I just heard that Alwyn, our head of Kalye Ferdinand—our street child outreach program—died last night. Alwyn wasn’t just the head of Kalye Ferdinand—he was Kalye Ferdinand, through and through. And Kalye Ferdinand was him.
You may remember a previous post about Alwyn, when he first celebrated his birthday by throwing a party at Jollibee for children living on the streets.
Nothing made him happier than making street children happy. His whole life he had been poor, scraping by and trying to survive, so his heart was with the poor. Street children weren’t looked down upon by him, he didn’t serve up morality lessons or lecture them. They weren’t his subjects. They were his equals. And they loved him like nobody else. When Alwyn walked down the street, crowds of children would flock to him like he was a pop sensation. They idolized him.
Yesterday, I got an email from Alwyn, and in the deluge of messages that fill my inbox, I deemed it least important and didn’t reply to it in time. Sometime late last night, he was stabbed on the street in an apparent hold up.
God, I should have sent that email.
I can’t state how greatly I miss Alwyn. And I know he’s equally missed by every life he’s touched. All further progress by Kalye Ferdinand will be dedicated to the memory and honor of Alwyn V. Cortez.
I had the good fortune to be interviewed by the incredibly astute Niña Terol-Zialcita for ProPinoy. Her questions were great, and I’m proud of how the interview went. In fact, I think this interview may perhaps describe what Ferdinand is all about even better than our own website does.
Check it out to find out our views on education, the importance of design, and more!
Remember, you can help this project get off the ground by making a donation!]]>
Months ago, we didn’t reach our goal on our Kickstarter fundraising campaign. It goes without saying that we want to succeed from here on out, but we realized something: we don’t know nearly enough about our supporters. What makes you guys tick? What do you want from us? What issues are important to you, and how can we become the kind of organization you find worth supporting?
Please fill out our survey, so we can know more about you. Our supporters are our most cherished asset—you guys rock—and we want to get to know you better. It’s only ten questions long, but it’ll help us a lot.