The digital artist is making a name for himself in the local gig poster-making scene.
In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, it’s so easy to get caught up in our own stresses that we fail to notice the serene moments our surroundings have to offer. Digital artist and budding gig poster designer Felix Taaka gives importance to these serene moments, and incorporates them into his art.
He considers his style to be heavily influenced by nature. “I try to look at certain principles of nature and compare them to the ethics of people,” he says. “People are nature, and I think they should be treated how we should treat nature’s simplest gifts, just like how plants are standing still on their ground cover and wither by the end of their cycle.”
Aside from the butterflies you’ll feel in your stomach, Felix’s art has a way of picturing youth that invites anyone who comes across them not just to reminisce the good ‘ol days, but to also relive them. Over email, Felix shares with us the driving forces behind his art and his career.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
YOUNG STAR: How does your creative process go?
Felix Taaka: I try to conceptualize by writing first, and then translating [my writing] into a sketch. My notes consist of how the lines would look like: movement, gravity and the composition. When transferring them to a sketch, I figure out the aspect ratio, layout, volume and other fundamentals. Geometry and relationship of action are very important to me when I’m trying to show the intention and the meaning behind each movement.
How would you describe your art style? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Felix: The technical side would [include] minimalism and simplicity. There are certain fundamentals applied on the illustrations such as anatomy, perspective, color theory and composition. I always try not to overdo them and just let it flow. For me, perfection doesn’t always mean putting too much detail and extensively following the fundamentals, though it’s always good when you’re experimenting!
I learned Photoshop and I developed a certain love for silk screen printing when I was eight years old. I just love how full colored images are made using three [or] four colors (CMYK and RGB). I [also] try to mimic those prints in my digital illustrations in a subtle way especially when it’s printed by inkjet, laser, uv, etc. I really love the rough feel of it when you run your fingers through the tones and when it shines after being directly hit by light.
I’m still learning and growing too and I always want to think and learn at my own pace. I’m just really taking my time on sculpting myself. I’m obsessed with Alphonse Mucha, Frank Frazetta and some mid-century artists. There are also lots of great local and international artist nowadays too, [whose] influence on me just keeps on growing. Even the artists [with] a small following — I look up to them!
How has the local gig scene shaped or influenced your art?
Felix: I’ve been observing the gig scene for some time now and have seen different climates and cycles. It’s always the space of learning with people and hoping to be influenced in the most harmless way possible. I’m no better than anybody but I just want to give back the same influence that these beautiful people have given me. I can only speak the language I speak but I do my best to learn with them and make my art an instrument of love just like these people. Seeing people doing their best to change for the better and just treating people right and reflect the same vibrations back to them [is what] keeps me going every time.
What would your dream line-up of musical artists include?
Felix: There are a lot of great artists sprouting each year in the local music scene! So this is very hard, I’ll just drop down some local and international artists that [have] influenced me, not just [with] my artworks but [with] the person I have become.
I am heavily influenced by Nujabes, [and] Shing02! More influences include Asian Kung Fu Generation, The Pillows, Death Cab For Cutie, Reverie Sound Revue, Eggboy, etc. [Also] classical music like Erik Satie, Maurice Ravel, JAPANESE FUNK artists and more!
Locally, I have my ears on Mellow Fellow & Ruru, Meh Shua, Andy Chlau, Pamcy, Bedspacers, Oh! Flamingo, The Buildings, Bird Dens, Breakfast Clouds, Sound Architects, Alisson Shore, Ourselves the Elves, Rusty Machines, The Gory Orgies, and Furiosa prod line ups! I apologise for not picking the dream line-up, but it’s really just that hard because there’s too many of them!
Can you show us your three favourite illustrations and the reasons behind them?
I wanted to show here that everyone has a choice to care and dance with you even [when you’re at] your lowest. I try to project a mindful perspective to things that have great value for me. I am so happy that Furiosa and The Strange Creatures gave me an opportunity to have my own interpretation and freedom [in making this] poster, and I admire these people for being very kind and supportive with musicians and artists alike.
“Mich and Bedspacer”
Mich was kind enough to give me the creative freedom to translate this however I wanted to, as long as it included Mich and Bedspacer herself. I am a big fan of Mich, and [her] taste of colors and geometry still blows my mind to this day so I was more than stoked to be able to design a poster for her birthday gig.
The concept I’ve made was Bedspacer riding on an alien looking paper fish, with more colorful paper fishes in the background. The composition was inspired by origami paper folds intersecting to the action of the subjects, using isosceles triangles to show the equal connection of Bedspacer and Mich. The movement is also predetermined; Bedspacer is about to pull Mich’s hand, Mich about to grab Bedspacer, and the bigger fish is about to catch Mich. I also included her Tamagotchi baby, Dimple, as she mentioned how it is a source of happiness to her.
This piece was a homage to Bedspacer’s and Mich’s love/hate relationship: a nod to her style, her hard work and efforts for inspiring a lot of artists too!
“JLE MUSIC Live #2”
There is a slight overtone to everything we do each day that we forget that we were once foolish and oblivious children. I wanted to show that feeling that even [when] things get tough over time, if pain and suffering happened, beautiful things and happiness also happened. [I think] our efforts of reminding ourselves of them should be in the middle.
Janlor Encarnacion and Mary Yeung approached me to make a poster for the second gig of JLE Music Live and it’s really an honor for me because I admire JLE for documenting gigs and acts in local music, bringing light to many emerging and well-known artists. [His] passion for it is just amazing to me.