[ Note : reposted with permission from the Pinoy Ata Yan section of KABAYAN Wellington News Magazine’s Christmas ish, published by Ms Didith Tayawa-Figuracion and edited by Ms Meia Lopez. Pictured above is a mixed media work of Chia using acrylic, jute string and newspaper. The other pic is that of Chia with husband John and son Ryu. Thanks guys for allowing me to repost! ]
PART OF the migration equation is in many cases, out of need or out of speed, you leave a little of your career behind. Lucky of course are those who get called overseas because of their vocation, but a lot of us either make the lateral move to become a more desirable migrant candidate, upskill to take jobs our hosts no longer want, or in extreme cases start a whole new career much like the whole new world that we migrate to.
This neither-here-nor-there duality was the dilemma of our kabayan Chia Rodriguez-Rubio, who coincidentally has been part of the Wellington (New Zealand) KABAYAN family from the very start, giving her whole heart and mind to every KABAYAN issue she has been involved in.
Sure, as a fine arts graduate from one of the best universities back home (University of Santo Tomas), she had a ticket to more than a few choice jobs in Wellington: graphic designer, creative department staffer, and advertising artist, which is incidentally three jobs that she’s combined in one for Indpendent Herald, an overachieving small-town newspaper for Wellington’s premier suburb.
But what Chia really wanted to be, and what she wants to be to this day, is to be a free-wheeling, unrestricted artist, in the most general sense of the word.
She feels most at home with strong colors, textures, and expressions in her paintings, which by the way you can check out in artflakes.com. What she doesn’t feel at home with, ironically, is the term artist especially when it’s fixed next to her name. Despite her obvious talent.
“I’m scared to call myself an artist. It’s like claiming a title that you’re not even sure you deserve,” claims Chia.
This comes as a surprise to this interviewer, since a lot of her works are aesthetically pleasing, visually arresting, and to be frank about it, vividly expressive, almost like a prism of the painter’s colourful emotions.
Chia draws from a gamut of inspiration for her art, ranging from the classic approach of her grandfather who was an artist himself, to the sleek, ultramodern approach of anime and comics art, inspirations that cover at least part of two generations (the previous and the present) as well as her own.
The result is a style one can call Chia’s personal signature defying classification but at the same time universally compelling.
For now though, what occupies Chia’s time is her job as graphic designer at the Independent Herald and her family, specifically her baby son.
When asked if she would be an artist for a living, she says yes! without batting an eyelash, but only if allowed her as much time with her family and if it paid the bills.
Which as what she would’ve said whether she was back home in the Philippines or in New Zealand.
*Kinoy, a contraction for Kiwi Pinoy, is a non-racial term for Filipinoswho’ve either been born or have migrated to New Zealand