Redefining the Introvert Artist In and Out of CIIT
Days before their graduation, the thought of going up on stage and wearing a medal did not cross Audrey’s mind. She hoped for one but has never gotten any so she decided to dismiss it already since the preparation for graduation had begun. During the final rehearsal and recollection day, the vibe of the CIIT staff and professors she ran into felt a bit different. She thought that perhaps they were ecstatic because their batch was about to graduate. Before that day ended however, she received the best news and graduation gift - becoming CIIT Batch 2018’s Cum Laude.
Audrelene Janille Paez, an alumna of CIIT, was a student in the Bachelor of Arts in Multimedia Arts program. A month before her graduation, she started working as a Graphic Designer in one of the country’s top cosmetic brands, BLK. During the graduation rites of Batch 2018, she gave the Valedictory Speech, as the top student of her batch.
While, Audrey comes of as very ladylike and introverted, a different side of “Auds” flourished during her time at CIIT. As she puts it, “I never expected to do things I’ve never done before. I am that girl who cringes in the spotlight.” During her graduation speech, however, her positive aura and charming smile stole the spotlight.
Unknown to many this cream of the crop made this day not just special for her but more so for her parents. On a video she posted right after her graduation, her parents can be seen overwhelmingly surprised the moment Audrelene was called on stage for her Valedictory Speech. Before listening to that heartwarming story, let us look back at Audrey’s journey at CIIT as a Multimedia Arts student:
First and foremost, we would like to know, why you chose Multimedia Arts as a degree?
I have always been into [the] arts. Scattered pieces of my artworks and craft would always fill our house. In High School, I joined several poster-making contests. But, probably, the most evident proof of my fascination with arts is my affinity for vibrant colours. My eyes sparkle at the sight of colourful surroundings. Also, my Father is an industrial designer so I think my fascination with art was primarily his influence.
When the time came for me to choose my career, I initially thought of becoming a Nurse or a Teacher but when I considered certain factors in my options, I realised that my heart is into making designs. There was a little doubt in me though, if I would make a profession out of this field. Eventually, I convinced myself that since this is my passion and that one thing I am really into, I’ll take the risk. Thanks as well to Oliver Santiago, a CIIT alumnus, for encouraging me to pursue Multimedia Arts and the seminars and workshops that I attended, through them I have gotten to know Multimedia Artists who are now successful in the design industry. Those actually helped a lot to reaffirm my career choice.
Why did you choose CIIT to take Multimedia Arts? Is this school your first choice?
One of the three choices, I must say. I took an exam with two other Universities. I failed the drawing test with the first one while I passed the second but I did not like the atmosphere of the second school. By the time I took the exam at CIIT, however, I felt that sense of community and joy. When I learned that I passed the exams, I looked no further and chose CIIT as my school.
Most memorable experience/s as a Multimedia Arts Student in CIIT? Oh, there were too many, honestly but I have three most unforgettable experiences at CIIT. One, the experience with Fantasia 5, an annual competition of students. It was memorable because that was the first time I walked in a ramp to model the dress of one of the designers. I am not an extroverted type but because the class assigned me to the task I had nothing to do but to honour their choice. Eventually, I gained a bunch of friends and acquaintances through that experience. Secondly, the opportunity to do a workshop in Typography. Lettering is the field of art I enjoy the most. I discovered my fascination with artsy and creative lettering by attending workshops around, and through my Father at the same time. Watching others doing it made me say to myself, “I think I can do it” and so I pursued to learn, then practice to the point where every project of mine would always have a touch of Typography. In one of the Student Council’s activities, they chose three students to do a workshop in three different categories: Digital Painting, Traditional Painting, and Typography. It was so humbling to gain their trust in teaching the students the form of art I am really into. Lastly, and probably the experience I am most proud of was the opportunity to be the person behind the Library Mural. The moment I was invited to submit design studies, I went for it without any doubt and hesitation. It was a passing dream to see my artwork on the walls of our new building, eventually, it did happen! I must say, I really had the best time at CIIT.
That artwork is awesome! Can you share with us, how you worked on that one?
CIIT gave me their idea for the wall - left and right brain. Using the techniques I learned in Typography and with the help of Ms. Gillian Tribiana, I conceptualized different study designs that would work for that particular wall in the library. As initial steps, I do the artwork traditionally, using a sketchpad, then later scan or take a picture of it so I can transfer them to digital format. While working on it digitally, I apply design concepts and elements.
Let’s go to your story of becoming Cum Laude, can you share with us the secret of becoming the cream of the crop?
My Parents. Each and every enrollment period, I see the burden of preparing funds and paying for my tuition. I admire and honour them for pulling through so I can finish my education so I realised that the only thing I can give back to them is to let them see that I became successful. I want them to see that bit by bit my art is improving, and in time I can be the successful artist that I would be. I said to myself, “I’ll do my best. I’m not going to aim for the top but I’ll make every effort to receive an award so I can bring Mama and Papa to that stage during graduation day.” And again, that wishful thinking happened, but far beyond what I hoped for. Not only was I given the chance to make them come on stage but I had the opportunity to honour my parents through my graduation speech.
We saw the video of your parents’ reaction by the time you were called for the Valedictory speech, what was the story behind that? I kept it as a secret from my parents until that day. I planned not to let them know about it. Beforehand, I approached the staff, friends, and classmates not to mention anything to my parents. On the day of my graduation, I asked my boyfriend to film them once I was called on stage. I won’t be able to see their reaction since my seat was far from them. It was so fulfilling to watch the reaction of my parents on that video. By the way, that day was also my Mother’s birthday so I intended to gift her that award. After all, they deserve that recognition more than I do.
We truly admire your act of giving your medal to your Mom. Kudos! What would be your advice to current MMA students in our school?
FIGHT! There will be a ton of sleepless nights because of the projects and the concept designs you have to do. Trust yourself, trust your abilities. “Laban lang. Hindi mo malalagpasan kung hindi mo pagdadaanan.”
You started working at BLK even though you are a month away from your graduation, how did you get to be a Graphic Designer in one of the country’s top cosmetic companies?
I never expected to be part of the cosmetics industry. First and foremost, I am not into cosmetics, secondly, I always feel shy around people. Thanks to my internship! That was actually the door that opened for me to become a graphic designer at BLK. I had three choices for my internship but my first choice was not available at the time so I chose to do my internship with BLK. Thankfully, that choice did me good. Out of the three designing interns, I was offered to work full-time as a Graphic Designer. And, guess what? BLK is in partnership with the studio I look up to (the one I intended for internship) and now I get to work with them. We are working on a project of creating GIFs for BLK. I designed the GIFs while that studio will animate them for BLK.
More than that, I am so happy to create something that people can use on social media such as IG, Facebook, etc.
How do you see yourself as an artist in the future?
For now, I am enjoying my time with BLK. I get to use the techniques I learned in school and my style, which is Typography. I do hope to do commissions in the near future so I can expand my skill as an artist. Years from now, I am looking forward to being a successful artist not just here in the country but also abroad.