Skills can be learned. This has been proven true by one of our CIIT Instructors from the School of Arts, Kathryn Barredo. She is currently teaching History of Graphics Design, Elements of Graphic Design and Advertising Design. Kathryn is a graduate of Far Eastern University, Manila with a degree in Fine Arts Major in Advertising Arts. After graduating from College, she worked at an interior design firm as a Graphic Designer/Photographer during weekdays. On weekends, she dedicated her time to doing commissions and community work such as Mural Painting at Ninoy Aquino Wildlife and Photography Workshops on Sundays in Manila and Quezon City.
Her diverse work experience paved the way for other career opportunities. After receiving an offer to become an instructor in Photography at FEU Manila, Kathryn ended her design stint with her previous employer. The experience of teaching and being part of the educational system encouraged her to take her educational attainment to the next level. Eventually, Kathryn would go on to pursue an MA in Multimedia Arts at MAPUA University. Now at the youthful age of 23, Kathryn is not only an artist or designer but a college instructor as well. When asked how she deals with her students, who are almost the same age as her, she quipped that their classroom has become a venue where the teacher and the students both learn from each other.
Photography By Kathryn Barredo
Are you more of a traditional artist or a digital one?
Since I’m really into photography, I would say digital but I’m also doing canvas. In fact, I also do exhibits.
Wow, that’s great. May we know all about these exhibits?
Those are for aesthetic purposes. They are flexible for interior designs, rooms and such. It has leaf or watercolor effects. Something that can create beauty in a space.
Awesome! By the way, how did you get into the field of Arts and Design?
Before going to college, I was actually eyeing international studies, because I like to watch European films which interest me to explore different languages. Also, I like to talk a lot but when I told my Dad about my plan, he encouraged me to do something that came natural to me, something comfortable that I didn’t mind doing everyday and something I loved. I followed his advice because even when I was in High School, I usually get selected to compete with other schools [in categories related to the Arts. It [Arts and design] was merely a hobby back then. I only did it for fun because I didn’t want to be stressed out by the pressure of being required to do work involving art projects. Initially, I thought that this field was designed to push you [to your limits] to become the best and I didn’t want that for myself. Anyway, I considered their suggestion and indeed, I’ve had no regrets ever since.
Since you graduated, what do you consider as the highlights of your career?
Being introduced to the academe and eventually being part of it. I truly believe that I’m on the career path that was meant for me. This is where I found what I love (doing). Personally, it was a huge step for me to take a Masteral degree at a young age. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any of my peers do the same.
What did you find in teaching that dramatically changed your mindset?
The fact that teaching is a dynamic process. I don’t only impart knowledge but I also learn from my students because of the differences in culture and opinion. Teaching has changed me. Back then, I was impatient but eventually, I’ve learned to understand and respect the thoughts and ideas of others.
You mentioned that while you were in the corporate world, you chose to do volunteer activities. May we know what convinced you to go into volunteering?
[Honestly], I got bored with my work and the daily routine that came with it. I was doing the same thing every day. I didn’t want to arrive to a point where I would be numbed by the repetitiveness of the job I was doing back then..I truly believed that there was a better alternative out there for me. [Since my work back then was mostly digital art,] the creative process becomes limited. You don’t get to practice the traditional approach such as sketching. Being confined by these restrictions was something I wanted to avoid. That is why I sought a way that would allow me to still practice Traditional Arts (which happened to be volunteering for mural art).
Are there people you look up to? Or those that you can say influenced your work?
[I would say] Martine Cajucom. Today, she is considered as one of the youngest successful designers in the Philippines. Currently, Martine is the Creative Director of Sunnies Studios. [I like her] because of her mindset and attitude that both echo the idea of continuous learning. She keeps on improving herself and won’t stop until she’s learned something new.
She used to reside in the US, and worked as an Art Director for a known brand. Eventually, her friend Georgina Wilson invited her to brand Sunnies and become part of it to help the struggling business. She accepted the offer and became the Art Director of the brand. Despite achieving this, she still keeps on challenging herself to do better. Others usually frown upon the idea of learning something new after achieving a certain position. [Martine is different] so I consider her my influencer and inspiration for having this kind of mindset as an artist.
How did you develop your skill?
When I was in High School, I was already into designing. I started by helping out with our school bulletin. Back then, I wasn’t good with sketching but I knew how to compose elements in a visual composition. My teachers observed this so they invited me to attend various arts and design workshops offered at the time in Ateneo, UP, and St. Mary’s College. I think it was during my undergraduate studies that I was further able to develop my craft. [The motivation came] during my first year. [In one of our subjects] I saw the [lovely] artwork of my seatmate and asked myself, “How was she able to create such good artworks?” Since I am a Fine Arts, Advertising [student], I don’t like to feel embarrassed with my work [once compared to the output of my classmates].
So, on our 2nd plate or activity, I told myself that I would do better and that I’d be able to match her skill. Hence, I practiced and practiced. [The moment I started], I did not stop until I was satisfied with the exact form that our professor wanted us to recreate . I kept repeating the artwork until I finally got it right! After a week had passed and the day of submission came, my classmates were surprised with my progress upon seeing my final artwork. Some even doubted and asked if that was really my work.
It’s inspiring that you have zero knowledge on sketching and painting yet today you do mural work. What is the secret?
[The secret is] continuous practice until you’ve finally got [the image you’ve envisioned!]
Illustration By Kathryn Barredo
What would you like your students to learn from you ?
I’d like to impart to them the teaching, “It’s all about the process”. [Actually], that’s what I always tell them. One doesn’t have to be an expert as he/she starts. It is okay to fail. It’s alright if it looks hideous, at first, as long as you’ll see progress. Work until you finally achieve the image or idea you want. [It is important] to excel in what you do. In school, I tell them that I don’t need them to be perfect, because the reason why they are here in school is to learn and improve themselves further.
Why are you aiming for in your career in the next few years?
I’d like to be more flexible [with what I can do]. Not only to be able to excel in photography, editing and teaching but also at the same time expand my skills. Besides those I currently have, I wish to try my hand at research. In the long run, the goal is about continuous learning and improving one’s self.
Embrace your love for the arts like our Featured Faculty, Kathryn Barredo, by enrolling in one of the best schools in the country offering Digital Arts and Information Technology—CIIT College of Arts and Technology. Visit our website www.ciit.edu.ph or call (02) 441 0737 or 441 1816 for more information.