April 24, 2010

Rah! Rah! Rah! IRA!

We really like the summer, but this scorching heat is unbearable... and one hot moma is making a heat wave in the street art scene.  Boyagimat recently talked to one of the most promising female street artists in the Metro- teaching kids and the kid-at heart how to appreciate art in a different perspective... meet Ira...

BA- Boyagimat

BA:. When & how did you start doing graffiti/street art?

IR: I did my first piece late in 2008 in my hometown (Zamboanga City). I continued painting when I came back here in Manila. I started really with stickers. I was chatting with Whooop once and he told me he had made stickers that day. I've never tried making my own stickers, so I asked him how, and tried making my own. It's always exciting to do something new. Although I’m still not that used to sticker-bombing. I always get guilty. Then Exld invited me to some paint productions and introduced me to some artists. Then everything just went on from there.

BA: For you what is street art/graffiti? And why are you doing these practice

IR: for me, street art is...art on the streets. it doesn't just mean paintings on the wall..it can be something as random as a red tree in the middle of the road. :)

I've loved drawing and painting ever since I was a kid. My mom would let me paint on the bathroom tiles and her pots and vases. Painting “outside my house” was something new and exciting. I do street art for a number of reasons. I like to give people something they could interact with. Sometimes I like to bring out a message. Sometimes I just like to add color someplace. Sometimes I like to do something for my kids. Sometimes I just like to add more turtles on the streets. Painting outside is so much fun because you get to meet new people and have some fun time with the children who stop by and watch. I think street art can inspire people in a number of ways..I just hope to inspire people in a good way.

BA: Who are your influences?

IR: Banksy, Blu, Roa, Invader mga malulupit. I think they are pure genius. mga UBEC artists. I don't really remember most names..pero yung mga pieces na nakikita ko sa internet. I also like getting ideas from kids.

BA:  What can you say about “graffiti & street art” as a male dominated arena?

IR: ayus lang. hehehe. mahirap lang pag yung ibang tao masama agad iniisip pag mga kasama mo puro lalaki. but there are a lot of really good female graff artists. I especially like MAD C. I think it's the same as like breakdancing. It used to be considered male-dominated, but when you see girls who could do headstands, handstands, and breakdance like crazy, malupit di ba? Or driving a trike. Tricycle drivers are males. But when you see a female trike driver. WOW. malupit! hahahaha!

BA:  Is there a disadvantage and advantage of being a female in this kind of artistic line?

IR: wala naman disadvantage. advantage siguro madali lang magpaalam ng spot. chaka people think right away you're going to paint something beautiful kahit nagpapaalam ka pa lang.

  Have you ever been caught?

IR: nope. i don't like to do anything illegal. i like to be a responsible artist.

BA:  What is your memorable experience in doing this kind of stuff? Or memorable piece?

lahat naman ata memorable sakin kasi each comes with a different experience and new set of people you meet. yung sa Zamboanga memorable syempre kasi first piece ko yun. Yung ginagawa ko ngayon sa tapat namin sa St. Joseph Compound, memorable kasi kung di dahil sa pagpaint ko, di ko makikilala lahat ng mga neighbors ko sa compound na yun. Chaka di ko matitikman yung masarap na avocado ice candy dun. hehe :)

BA:  You seem to be one of the only few active female graffiti/street artist in Manila, or even in the Philippines- what keeps you moving?

it's my playtime. pag hilig mo talaga, at enjoy ka dun, walang makakapigil sayo. It’s always an adventure. My passion, my fellow artists, my students, the children I see and meet, and the endless messages of inspiration all keep me moving. Plus the exciting reality that there’s always something new and better and fresh you can do.

  Who do you usually tag with? Crew? Etc?

IR: i write my name (Ira) sometimes, yung crew ko...Pilipinas Street Children. hahaha! inde. I don't belong to any crew. sometimes I go paint by myself, sometimes with different artists.

BA: What can you say about the street art / graffiti art scene in Manila and the Philippines in general?

IR: Dope! Sick! Ill! Canz up! Hehehe. Joke lang. dumadami mga artists at crews. Dumadami din mga lumalaki ulo at nanggugulo. Dumadami din ang patuloy na dinedevelop ang craft nila. Yung iba di ko alam kung nakikisabay o nakiki-“uso”. Akala ko dati lahat ng street artists masaya at mabait…me mga magulo din pala. Hehehe. Sa streets naman…more new things pa…bigger, better, fresher things :)

BA:  What are your future plans as a street artist?

IR: madami…nagpapapigil lang talaga oras at pera. Hehe. Gusto ko talaga gumawa ng giant piece. Yung parang buong building. Gusto ko din gumawa ng piece na lapis lang gagamitin ko. I also want to learn how to make stencils. I also want to write bible verses (or inspiring quotes) on the streets. Iniimagine ko isang tao na naglalakad lang, tapos bigla nya makita yung verse, tapos mapapareflect siya. Or yung taong laging dumadaan sa overpass, tapos gagawin niyang daily prayer yung verse na andun. Dami ko naiimagine. Hehe. Gusto ko din gumawa ng mga silhouettes lang tlg ng real people. Yung halimbawa me dumaan na tao/stranger/new friend, tapos trace mo katawan niya sa wall tapos kulayan lang 1 color. Gusto ko din gumawa ng parang treasure hunt. Halimbawa pili ako ng isang poem tapos sulat ko yung mga stanza sa iba’t ibang lugar. Parang maze. Hehehe. Hanapin mo yung sunod na linya. Or pwede din comics type..hanapin mo yung next episode sa ibang lugar para malaman ano mangyayari next. Gusto ko din makahanap ng magsosponsor ng lahat ng paints ko. Hahaha!

BA: Can you give some advice to aspiring female graffiti artists out there? Looks like female artists are too shy to go out and do their thing…

IR: don’t stop learning. And if you’re happy doing it, as long as you’re not hurting anybody or doing anybody any wrong, I think it’s ok that you go out and do it. Sabi din sa More Than A Game, “If you want something you’ve never had…you must be willing to do something you’ve never done.” (Go Lebron! Hehe) Keep smiling and spread more love and happiness with your art. We need that. The world needs that. :) and just love art. i think that is most important. you gotta love everything about art.

BA: Any shoutouts?

my family, highschool and college classmates, CLAYSHOP, Singles for Christ
-to all PSP, M69, UBEC, ICG, PSI, KST and all artists
-Gloc9, Wentworth Miller, Ellen Degeneres, Johnny Depp, Channing Tatum, Lebron James, Manny Pacquiao, at marami pang iba. Haha! Mababasa kaya nila to?

you can check most of her stuff at her FB account - http://www.facebook.com/iratan13?v=photos&sb=0#!/iratan13