Juggling priorities and hobbies is something that could be difficult to do, but when you are truly passionate about what you do, you will manage to find the perfect balance and dedicate time for the things that matter to you.
Rafy’s enthusiasm and dedication truly shines, as her work continues to be recognized. She was also one of the volunteers who lent her artistic talents during The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf®’s Giving Journal 2017 launch, and we couldn’t be more proud and thankful!
Read all about her story as an artist and as a community member of Brew Your Best Year below!
WHO IS SHE? Rafy Cabrera, 20 years old
WHAT DOES SHE DO? Rafy is an advertising student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines by day, and a part-time artist by night. She provides calligraphy and design services mostly for weddings, birthdays and events. Whenever she’s free from work and school, she takes photos and writes literary pieces.
- Tell us about your story as an artist. How did you discover your love for art?
I started practicing calligraphy just last year, May 2016, a few months after our department held a seminar about Art and Copywriting. John Ed de Vera, a designer and illustrator from Manila was invited to talk about lettering and typography. I got interested with his works, so I started searching about the craft online and practiced on my own.
But that wasn’t the first time I encountered someone who did calligraphy. I remember an old man from our neighborhood who visits our store to buy some pens. He once asked for my name and showed me how he could write it in the most beautiful way possible! He wrote my name in gothic and I could still recall keeping that piece of paper, and how I tried copying the style.
- What kind of artist are you? Describe your style/niche and how has this changed through the years.
I’ve always loved calligraphy, be it in brush or using nib and pen, but I don’t think I already have a specific or own style when it comes to creating. I let my mind, my heart and my hands do whatever they want, whenever they feel like creating. I’ve been trying out gothic, traditional calligraphy and painting but it requires A LOT of time. I’m still exploring the world of art up until now and hopefully soon, I’ll be able to discover my own style.
- What is the highlight of your practice so far?
I have to consider two highlights for last year. First was when I had a client who gave me freedom while working on a few creative materials and decorations for their wedding. I guess the trust they gave me motivated me to work better than before and to give my very best on each project that I worked on.
The second one was when I got the invitation from my Brew Your Best Year family to be part of their Giving Town launch for the Giving Journal 2017 by having my own art booth. One of my greatest fears is to meet and to speak in front of many people I barely know. But The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf® gave me an experience I will surely treasure forever. I’ve learned that it’s not too scary to face others and to share your knowledge, but rather fulfilling that you get to inspire other people with your craft.
- Where do you get inspiration?
Everything around me inspires me–the traffic, sunsets, morning walks, a poem from the book I borrowed from a friend, kitchen interiors, the sky at night, fireworks, other people’s stories, the most random things.
Pinterest, Instagram, and Behance have been very helpful too. I would look through tags to find inspirations or discover helpful calligraphy tips and techniques.
- What is your creative process like?
I create whenever I’m in the mood to create. I don’t force myself to produce artworks when I’m tired, or when I’m just bored. I like working on a clean and organized workplace, with all the materials that I need beside me. Good music and enough natural light is a must for me because it affects my mood and my output positively.
Mornings, for me, are made for practicing calligraphy and creating drafts. And I would usually work on the final output at midnight—12am to 4am to be exact. When it comes to rushed projects, my routine is to start creating drafts right after I accept the project. Then I would rest and sleep the following days, working really hard three or four days before the deadline.
- Do you experience creative blocks? What do you do when this happens?
Yes! I guess, everyone does. This is a big problem for me especially when I have deadlines, both in school and at work. I usually get very exhausted after class or whenever I have loads of school requirements to finish that I won’t be able to come up with ideas for a layout or design. Whenever this happens, you’ll find me inside a mall, strolling or in my apartment, sleeping! Both going out alone for a walk and sleeping relaxes and refreshes my mind and body. Coffee and a book helps too.
- How do you choose what artwork/photo to create?
The artworks that I usually post on Instagram are part of my daily practice. I find inspiration in a quote that lifts my mood, or motivates me to create. Sometimes, I would write bible verses from my devotional books a little after I reflect and pray.
- Who are some of the individuals you look up to in line with your craft?
Alexis Ventura aka Ink Scribbler is someone I look up to. I admire how fearless she was when she left the corporate world and started working full–time on her craft. Working with her as an intern was also one of the memories I would treasure forever. Imagine working with the people you admire in line with the same craft? Priceless! I also admire local artists such as Patrick Cabral, John Ed de Vera, and Gail Madalag.
My father, however, is on top of the list of the many individuals I look up to. We’re not in the same line but I admire his patience, his passion in everything he does, and his determination. He never stopped learning and discovering new things. He’s the best, for me, in any way possible.
- What’s your favorite artwork that you’ve created?
Everything! But my favorite was the two embossed artworks that I created for Cancervants PH. Nothing beats creating with a purpose and helping other people!
- What kinds of challenges are an associated with your craft/job and how do you overcome them?
I’m already on my fourth year in college and I’m currently working part-time. Managing my time wisely is one of the biggest challenges for me, especially now that I need to focus more on my studies so I can finally graduate on time. There are times when I find it hard to balance studies and work, especially when it’s midterms and finals week. To graduate is my top priority but I’m also responsible for meeting the deadlines at work and on my special projects.
- What are your biggest lessons as an artist?
Learn and Discover. Aspire and Inspire. Accept and Trust. Be Humble and Thankful.
Never stop learning and discovering new things. Aspire to be someone better than who you are today and inspire other people. Accept criticisms for it will help you grow—and trust that you can. Always, always keep your feet on the ground and thank the Lord for the gift of art. The people around you, those who inspire you and those who adore you—thank them for believing in you and your skills.
- What do you believe is an important factor in creating a good piece of art?
I think creating good art is all about being true to yourself—your heart and your purpose. When you let your art speak about your true self, it can inspire other people.
- What advice can you give the community, especially emerging artists?
Start today, not tomorrow or the next day. Make time for practice, meet other people and learn from them. Seek ways to improve and never stop creating. You can do it!
- What is Brew Your Best Year to you and how has it inspired you as an artist
Calligraphy made me discover Brew Your Best Year last year and I must say that the community has become a huge part of my journey. This is where I first started sharing and contributing my artworks. This is where I first felt that ‘skipping a heartbeat feeling’ when I received an email asking if they could feature my artworks. This is where I discovered ways to give back and to share my skills to other people. The community encouraged me to improve my skills, to be the best version of myself. Thank you Brew Your Best Year community for a wonderful journey!