The most anticipated international creatives rendezvous sparked artistic inspiration among aspiring Filipino artists yet again in February 1, 2014 at Mall of Asia’s SMX Convention Center. Aside from the insane roster of talented artists, here are 8 best things about Graphika Manila 2014 that are not related to multimedia arts:


It’s so refreshing to see our digital heroes make fun of themselves! Animation gods Teo Guillem and Carlos Pardo coined the term “son of a pitch” because they’re just hammered by the mind-numbing process of making weekly pitches.

Lettering artist Jessica Hische shared how New York blog Gawker described her wedding site: “it’s like two Wes Anderson movies started fucking each other.”

After customizing a shoe for Lebron James, Isabel Gatuslao truly deserves an Instagram-able photo with the basketball legend to immortalize the moment she meets him in person. But, her one and only picture with him ended up looking like this:

graphika-manila-no 8

She swears that that’s her back.


The conference is a gold mine of useless facts geeks love! For example, multimedia genius Ash Thorp is a huge fan of Radiohead. In fact, the graphics he developed for Prometheus are based on Radiohead’s House of Cards music video.

And then there’s texture scientist Sara Blake who had weak eyesight growing up, thus her collection of glasses. Her illustrations are rich in textures precisely because she’s used to zooming in her vision to get a clearer view of what’s she’s looking at.

Jessica Hische has a “TYPE” tattoo on her arms, and she thinks that it’s a sophomoric mistake. And, did you know that design goddess Isabel Gatuslao loves tinola over sinigang?


All the speakers talked about their epic journeys to awesomedom. Hearing their quirky personal anecdotes can really hit you to the core. “Kakaibang Tingin, Kakaibang Titig” author Javelyn Ramos admitted that Graphika Manila has always been an eyeopener because it proves that building a life out of doodles is possible. She really enjoys the career tips she picks up from the experience.

Here are some striking snippets of wisdom from this year’s speakers:

  • “If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.”

                               Ash Thorp

  • “We have no dream client. Just us.”

                               Teo Guillem and Carlos Pardo

  • “Figure out how to f*ck up more.”

                               Jessica Hische

  • “Obsession is the secret to an exciting life.”

                               Isabel Gatuslao

  • “Take your own weakness and make it a strength.”

                               Sara Blake

  • “Put your work out there. Don’t be apprehensive about showing it. Don’t be shy because someone’s always watching.”

                               Eugene Gauran  


It’s only in Graphika Manila that you will hear people talk about how having long term goals doesn’t always work, that obsessing is the key to success, or finding who you are is just knowing how to be a “snortvart”—knowing how to be a kid again.

Plus, it’s just so cool to hear a globally respected professional saying the F word a lot in a large-scale international convention like this.

There’s something so hypnotic about the way the guests tell their stories in a no-bullshit language with fresh metaphors that only our generation can fully understand.


As always, the attendees are so diverse and unpretentious. There are some who look like they just got out of class and seem to have slept over their readings, there are those who look classy and corporate, a few look like cosplayer hippies and the rest have an I-just-played-an-hour-of-Grand-Theft-Auto-V-from-my-couch laidback vibe.

You can say that it’s a geeky bunch only if you mean that they’re people who are genuinely crazy about art and science and aren’t shy to show this sick fascination.

Some creatives sightings: Culture artisan Niña Terol-Zialcita, Philippine Star contributor Thysz Estrada, design guru C.J. Urquico, published author Javelyn Ramos, and Point Bee Multimedia creative director and Hidden Nikki’s lead vocalist Aaron Gonzales.


If heaven had an amusement park, the snack they would be serving is Muscle Beach. Their hot dog and cheese on sticks are dipped in a special cornmeal batter and fried to perfection such that when you bite into it the outer crust will be golden and crispy while the inner layer will have the consistency of a moist pancake.

Ugh. Just. Delicious. And have you ever tried their world famous lemonade? No words! One of the best grub in the planet was just a stride away from the venue!


Pinoys are not only badass in boxing, singing and beauty pageants; we’re also fantastic in digital art. Graphika Manila featured two living proofs of the Filipino’s digital awesomeness.

On the one hand, we have world-renowned visual effects master Eugene Gauran who spoke about how his humble Filipino origins shaped him as a professional artist. He also shared his plans of setting up a technical school here in the Philippines.

On the other hand, we have Isabel Gatuslao who shared how her obsession with identity and illustration made her known across the globe.


Yes, there was a virus plaguing the event. You can see it. Hear it. Smell it. It’s alive and highly contagious. People call it by different names: drive, thirst, passion, heart, childhood, soul, snortvart.

Whatever name you call it, everyone wants to be infected. Everyone wants death by hunger.


How was your Graphika Manila experience this year? Share your highlights in the Comments Section.

Daniel Gonzales

Related Posts