Graphika Manila 2013

I promised that I'd blog about Graphika Manila 2013, so here it is, fresh out of two weeks of memory. Haha.

Yeah! I actually made it to the start of Graphika Manila this year! Hahaha! Last year, I arrived late and I missed Create.PH's presentation.

Some weird organizing this time around. First, instead of SMX, they changed venue to the PICC. Bigger and with more comfortable seats, yes, but there were a number of inconveniences. One was how it took FOREVER to get inside before the first session and after lunch because of the security checks and I guess the flow of people. Another was how there was still only one caterer in the immediate vicinity. We had to walk to Harbour Square while others went to the Star City complex. A good thing about this is how (food and beverage) businesses boomed in the area for that day. They must have been pretty shocked to see hoards of mostly young people with funkily-dyed hair, unconventional shoes, and dSLR’s casually hanging from their necks wandering around. 

Graphika’s lineup this year didn’t have any local talents, which honestly disappointed me. I enjoy the showcase of local talents. Sure, there’re some brilliant works that were included in the booklet, but they didn’t get to speak or anything. Yes, Armand Serrano is Filipino, but he’s not based in the Philippines anymore.

Anyway, the 2013 lineup was composed of James White of Signalnoise, Koto & Shin of Devilrobots, Armand Serrano of Sony Pictures Animation, Jessica Walsh, Ryan Honey of Buck, Benjamin Seide of Pixomondo, and Benja Harney.

I looooved how they started off with James White. He was high energy and all sorts of fun. He told us who he was, how he started out, how he got some of the jobs he’s really proud of, and he even told us of some of his creative frustrations. He got how it wasn’t just an opportunity to showcase his work, but an opportunity to inspire people.

Koto and Shin of Devilrobots were next. Theirs was more of a showcase, but I loved how they thought on the spot, brought in a lot of humor, and carried over some of James White’s energy… And presentation. Hahaha. It was brilliant how they were like, (not exact words) “Since James White showed his Canadian flag, we wanted to show off ours, too.” And then they showed us a modified version of the Japanese flag, which they threw together literally right before their presentation. While they were switching windows in the middle of their talk, Illustrator popped up and the .AI file for the flag was still open. Loved it. I think they started the whole chain thing between the speakers. They also made a Naruto-fu! Then they multiplied him x100 or something. It was excellent. The audience went wild! Too bad they couldn’t bring their inflatables! NEXT TIME. YES.

Armand Serrano was up next. His portfolio’s amazing and I liked how he explained “Visual Development” and showed some of his process. I can’t say that Sony Pictures Animation is my favorite animation studio, though. Plus his website could use some redesigning.

Then there’s Jessica Walsh. I have never seen so many genitalia blown up in that scale ever before in my life. She was all sorts of beautiful, brilliant, and terrifying–in a Galadriel sort of way. But mellow and not afraid to show off her lady parts. So maybe Lady Godiva would be more apt? Maybe? Anyway. If I had the opportunity to, I’d love to have a beer (or 3) with her. Or cake. Or ice cream. Or all three.

And then there was Ryan Honey of Buck. Fucking balls brilliant. Passion projects, man. Genius. Buck's projects scream professional.  The one that I remembered the most was the carrot commercial, it was so CLEVER!

Benjamin Seide of Pixomondo: Massive portfolio. MASSIVE, I TELL YOU. It was hard to understand him because he talked softly and kind of just ran through things, but I’m pretty damn sure he knows his stuff. If you really listened or maybe really observed him at work, I bet he’s amazing. He showed so. Many. Things. He even showed a flow chart of a production. Crazy! Good thing he didn’t go through it in detail, though.

Last but not least was Benja Harney, a paper engineer from Australia. I was sold the second they introduced him as working on stuff for Kylie Minogue. He even had organizers put sheets of paper in the goodie bags so we could use them during his presentation. The first origami he had us do was uh… Well, very, very underwhelming. Haha. The second was fun because he had us do paper planes and launch them in the air at the end. He also did epic stuff for Herm├Ęs. Boom. I wish I could intern for him or be an apprentice or something.

I was really hesitating to go home after lunch because I have a fever that day and my head hurts really bad. But I'm glad I stayed. :)

Despite all the ups and downs of the event and the day itself, it was worth it. I learned a lot. The speakers were hilarious as hell. James White and Jessica Walsh proved that a designer’s sense of humor is golden.

There was supposed to be a Q&A after the show but they ran out of time so they just continued with the photo op. It was really nice meeting some of them! I wished there were more time so I could meet them all and take a picture with them. Below are pictures with some of the speakers:

with James White of Signalnoise
with Shin of Devil Robots
with Jessica Walsh of Sagmeister & Walsh
What a crappy picture.
Forever note-to-self: “Be a player.”