Riza Padolina always loved art from the youngest age that she can remember; but over the years, this passion got swept to the sidelines...
Still and the same, some twist of fate put art to the forefront of her life, and today, it is a career that helps keep the balance and peace that she needs.
Likhaan spoke to this young budding Filipino artist and we have learned that this motivation is further fueled by a worthy cause that Riza supports and holds dearly to her heart.
Find out more about her story and initiative through this in-depth interview.
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How did your love for art begin?
My appreciation for art began at a young age when I found joy in drawing, coloring, and reading story books. As I grew older, my love for art still grew, and yet... it remained a personal experience given that I shied away from participating in any art activities. I felt that I wasn't good enough at it, nor would it be a career I could pursue. So, in some way, I set art aside for a time.
After I graduated from college, I went through a lot of hardships. I had serious health issues that greatly affected my future plans and though I tried with all my might to pursue the career that I wanted, it was just not possible. Letting go at that time definitely felt like I gave up a part of myself and I never felt the same afterward.
Nevertheless, I ended up taking a vocational course and this was the time that I got back into art. Nowadays, I'm a full-time graphic designer and I have also just started a small business of my own selling my art.
One of the things that I appreciate the most about art is on how it provides me the balance that I need in my life. I’m an over-thinker, and it can be really hard to deal with sometimes. Most days I feel like I’m treading in rough waters, but whenever I paint, I feel like I’m cruising calmly and softly. It is when my mind feels most at peace.
Art also helped me acknowledge and accept my demons — it has also helped me to try and live my best life despite the fact that the former exist.
Ultimately, it became a healthy outlet of expressing myself: how I feel and what I think of. In a nutshell: the words I find hard to express at times just turn into art.
When did you first start selling your work?
I just started recently. Although I did accept some freelance projects before — from small-scale to big-scale projects such as murals and digital art — the decision to finally sell my work is mainly due to how I have found a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. It's actually one of my primary motivations and inspirations.
It's called The Chosen Children Village Foundation (CCVF) and I am continuously awed and inspired by the work of this incredible foundation. It basically provides a safe haven and home for the lives of abandoned children who are physically and mentally challenged. I want to pay things forward and help support the goals of this venture as I make my art.
What has been the most challenging aspect when it comes to selling your art?
I still have a regular job as a graphic designer, and as I’m just starting out selling my paintings, I do pretty much everything by myself. As such, managing my time has been definitely challenging.
But I don’t mind it, because I value and enjoy doing both so much! I also don't have much experience in running my own business, but I have learned so much since I started, and I’m excited and hopeful to learn more in the days to come.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I try to practice mindfulness. Sometimes life can get too busy and it truly helps to take a step back and be mindful of ourselves and everything that surrounds us. In fact, being mindful is like catching up with yourself. I know it may sound off like you’re talking to yourself, but knowing and accepting how you feel mentally, emotionally and physically is very important.
Personally, it helps me determine when to stop and rest, and when to push forward and work hard. Besides, it’s a given fact that it's always going to be difficult to deal with creative blocks and what makes it more difficult is determining why it happens and what we can do to surpass them.
So over time, I find it best not to fixate on it — to acknowledge and accept that it just happens. In this case, I allow myself to let it go for a certain amount of time, and try to focus on different aspects of my life.
And with the belief in my heart that art has always been and always will be part of me, eventually these blocks pass and I become a lot more motivated and passionate about my art more than ever.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring or new creators, what would it be?
Never forget. Never lose that love, passion, and enthusiasm you have for art.
Yes, we have to make a living, we have to earn money, and we have to be responsible adults — but that doesn’t mean that we have to forget and let go of the things we love or the things that make us happy.
We’re only here for a short time so we have to aim to have balance in our lives, to be be both responsible and fun-loving at the same time.
Practical and ambitious. Realistic and imaginative.
And what advice would you give to your younger self?
Be unapologetically you. As long as you are not hurting anyone, go and do things that make you happy.
Why did you decide to join Likhaan? What are some goals you’d like to achieve with the platform?
I love the mission of the platform and at the same time, I want to raise awareness of the plight of the children in CCVF — to help spread the word and to encourage more people to be a part of CCVF’s wonderful work of giving hope to help these children.
Truth be told, for every purchase of any artwork from my 'Shay Art', a percentage will be donated to CCVF.
In these ways, I know that I am able to take part in something bigger than myself. And through my art, leave a legacy in the world, in my own personal way!