Riza Padolina has 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 more and more to the forefront of her life, and today, it is a career that helps keep the balance and peace that Riza needs.
This motivation is further fueled by a worthy cause that she supports and holds dearly to her heart, and this interview delves into the details of Riza’s artistic drive and journey as a painter.
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Shop for Riza Padolina’s Art
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Can you describe your creative journey so far?
My appreciation of art began at a young age. Ever since, I found joy in drawing, coloring, and reading storybooks with colorful artworks.
As I grew older, my appreciation for art grew even more and it became a private way to engage my shy and timid self with my environment — it was a personal experience.
But I wasn’t really the type to participate in school activities that involved art. Looking back, I don’t really regret it though because maybe that’s just how I wanted it at that time. I did try to participate in creative activities, but I always thought that I wasn’t good enough to actually pursue it as a career in the future. So, in some way, I set aside art for a time.
After I graduated from college and entered my 20’s, I went through a lot of personal hardships. I had serious health issues that greatly affected my future plans and I could not have imagined going through that without the support and love of my family as well as all the amazing people in my life…
Little did I know, everything that happened would lead me to where I am now. I realized that life is too short to take things for granted, especially the things that are close to your heart. So after I recovered from my health issues, I fought for the career that I wanted to pursue for years and I went for it because I’m not the type to just let go of something that is important to me unless I know that I’ve done everything I could.
But despite all that, I was still unable to pursue my dream. It was then that I knew it was time to give it up. I knew then that it wasn’t for me. So, I decided to start over.
It wasn’t easy letting go of a dream that you wanted for so long — that very same dream that consumed all of your waking moments. Letting go was like giving up a part of yourself as well. You’re never the same afterward.
After that phase, I took a vocational course that led to an entirely new career. This was the time I felt like I got back into art. Although in many ways, Design and Art are as different as they are the same, I found joy in pursuing both. And now, I’m a full-time graphic designer and I also just started a small business of my own as I sell my art.
What is your relationship with art?
For starters, art helps me in a lot of ways. One of the things that I appreciate about it the most is that it provides me with the balance that I need in my life.
I’m an over-thinker, and it can be really hard to deal with my thoughts sometimes. Most days I feel like I’m treading in rough waters; but whenever I paint, I feel like I’m cruising in calm and smooth flowing waters — it is when my mind feels most at peace.
Art also helped me not only to acknowledge and accept my demons but also on how to try and live my best life despite the fact of their existence. It became a healthy outlet for expressing myself, how I feel and what I think about. It’s like the words I find hard to express at times turn into art.
How did you arrive at your current art style?
I don’t think I have my own art style, or maybe I haven’t discovered it yet. Either way, I’m okay with it.
I used to be bothered by the fact that I don’t know what it is, but now I just enjoy being able to express myself through art in any and every way I want.
What’s your favorite piece of artwork that you’ve created?
I don’t really have a specific piece in mind. I like everything I’m able to create — not just because of what the finished product looks like, but also of how much I enjoyed the experience while creating it.
When did you first start selling your work?
Actually, just recently. Although I did accept some freelance projects before: from small-scale to big projects like murals, and also some digital art.
The decision to sell my work is something I have been pondering on for so long. It’s only just recently that I have decided to push through with it because I finally found a cause that’s very dear to my heart. I consider myself blessed despite everything I have been through over the years — I’ve been surrounded by wonderful people who are selfless and are willing to help and this is my way of paying it forward.
What has been the most challenging aspect when it comes to selling your art?
I have a regular job as a graphic designer and since I’m just starting to sell my paintings, I do pretty much everything by myself.
Managing my time is definitely challenging. But I don’t mind it, because I value and enjoy doing both of them. Another challenging aspect for me is that I don’t have much experience in running my own business, but I have learned so much since I started, and I’m excited to learn more in the days to come.
What’s your most important or indispensable art tool or supplies?
I consider all the art tools that I use as important, so it’s quite hard to pick just one.
But if there is something I consider that I definitely need when painting (although this is not considered a tool or supply) is that I have enough space. Everything should be clean and organized before I start to work (which, ironically, eventually ends up messy).
As such, a spacious room is important because I move a lot when I paint. In fact, I would start from one side of the room and end up on the other side by the time I finish a piece.
Who are your biggest art influences?
I like a wide variety of art styles, from the most simple to the most complex, abstract, and realistic. They are all great in their own ways and because of this, I also have a long list of people who I consider as art influences. Each of them inspires my work in many different ways — some you can’t even see in my work, but in my process.
To name a few; I have always admired Mr. Fernando Amorsolo and how he depicts Filipino life which is most of the time rural. Seeing his works makes me feel like I’ve been taken back in time and the rural paintings of landscapes and people are my most favorite of all his works.
Another amazing artist is Banksy. It’s not always easy to create art that is political and somehow depicts the hard-to-swallow realities about our society or just life in general.
And of course, my biggest art influence, and who I consider the greatest artist: God. I admit, I may not be a person you might perceive as religious, but I do believe in the existence of one great creator. I’m reminded of this every time I look up at the sky, the beautiful sunrise and sunset, the ocean, the ever colorful wide variety of species — everything is just so amazing. Nature is amazing and it’s the most beautiful artwork ever.
What are your main sources of inspiration? Within the realm of art or even elsewhere.
For me, inspiration can come in different forms and at different places and times. It depends on how I see or perceive things. Also, in my entire life, the one constant thing that keeps me inspired are the people I love and care for. Especially my sister, Riva Shay to whom I dedicate all my work.
When do you feel most creative?
When I’m well-rested and have a healthy well-being overall. My mental, emotional and physical health definitely has a big impact on my creativity.
How do you overcome creative blocks?
I try to practice mindfulness. Sometimes life can be too busy, and it helps to take a step back and be mindful of ourselves and everything that surrounds us.
It’s really hard to deal with creative blocks though and what makes it more difficult is determining why it happens and what we can do to surpass it.
I find it best not to fixate on it, acknowledging and accepting that it’s a phase that happens to help too — in that 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 will always be part of me, eventually, it passes, and I become a lot more motivated and passionate about it more than ever.
Do you have any tips for other artists to stay productive/motivated?
It is quite hard to give advice on this matter given that we are all different — what may motivate each of us can be pretty different too.
Before I decided to sell my work, I thought about a lot of things and this is definitely one of the most important: how will I maintain being productive and motivated. It may depend on a lot of things, how I am feeling, the people around me, and pretty much every aspect of my life.
Through time, I found it helpful to sit back, have a quiet time on my own to assess where I’m at the moment — it’s the same way I deal with creative blocks. Besides, 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. As such, our all-around well-being affects our productivity and motivation, so we should never forget to take care of ourselves too.
What do you think is the most challenging aspect of being an artist?
Because like everyone else, we grow old, have more responsibilities and priorities. Sometimes we reach the point when we forget what art really meant to us and how it made us feel — this has always been my fear.
That’s why I promised myself before I decided to push through in selling my artworks that if I reach the point that I’m only doing this just for profit or for the business aspect of it, I’ll stop, and try to regain or remember why I’m doing this in the first place, why it’s important to me, and why I love it so much.
If you could give one piece of advice to aspiring or new artists, what would it be?
Never forget. Never lose that love, passion, and enthusiasm you have for art.
Yes, we have to make a living, earn money, and be responsible adults; but that doesn’t mean that we have to forget and let go of the things we love and the things that made us happy ever since we were young.
We’re only here for a short time so we have to aim for balance in our lives: to be both responsible and fun-loving at the same time, practical and ambitious, realistic and imaginative.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Be unapologetically you. As long as you are not hurting anyone, do things that make you happy.
Do you have any exciting new projects that you’re planning to launch in the near future?
Yes, I’m exploring possibilities to also offer hand-painted bags, plant pots, and many more.
Why did you decide to join Likhaan? What are some goals you’d like to achieve with the platform?
Likhaan is a great platform for all types of artists and I’m grateful for how open, welcoming, as well as encouraging they are, even to new artists like myself.
One of my main goals and main motivation in this venture is to be able to give more support to The Chosen Children Village Foundation (CCVF). I am continuously awed and inspired by the work of this incredible foundation that provides a safe haven and home for abandoned children who are physically and mentally challenged.
Another reason I’m excited about joining the platform is that hopefully, somehow, I will also be able to raise awareness of the plight of these children, to help spread the word, and encourage more people to be a part of CCVF’s wonderful work of giving hope.
In fact, for every purchase of any artwork from Shay Art, a percentage will be donated to CCVF. In this little way, 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.