Art has always been a part of my life ever since I was a little girl growing up in Manila. Like Rapunzel in Disney’s “Tangled”, I was an only child that found art as a means of comfort and adventure to express one’s emotions and imagination. I have always loved watching animated films, and cartoons of both past and present. It was not until I saw Pixar’s “Toy Story” in the theater that I set myself to pursue art as a career goal.
The Road to a Career in Art
Though the road to pursuing an art career was not always easy, I persevered in pushing through in obtaining an art degree despite hesitance from my family who sought stability in choosing a different path such as in business or medicine. Regardless of how good their intentions were, my passion for creativity was strong that I went ahead that path even if I initially lacked support.
“My passion for creativity was strong”
After graduating with a BFA in Art with an emphasis in Entertainment Art and Animation from the California State University Fullerton in 2014, I worked briefly as a storyboard artist and colorist at Crusty Beach, an independent studio in Culver City. During that time, I was also expecting my first born whilst also prepping for my first convention, which was WonderCon.
As many already know, I actually never attended that convention. However, I was able to do the set up of my side of the table that I shared with my dear friend and fellow artist, Annathalia Nalapraya, the day before the event.
Technically, I was a week away from my due date, but my son had other plans since I went into labor the night before, and gave birth on opening day of WonderCon. It may have also been from my insistence of walking around the hallways at the convention center after setting up, so that I could get a glimpse of the event before it opened that weekend.
Becoming a Freelance Artist and Illustrator
From then on, I dove right into the illustration world by becoming a freelance artist, and continued to grow my artistic style by constantly learning from great artists (i.e. Edgar Degas, Mary Blair, Lorelay Bové, Pernille Orum, and Lianna Hee) while being a full time stay at home mom to my son.
My artwork has always been inspired by all things cute, but it was only recently that I realized that I should include a more of my Filipino culture into my art especially when society wants more inclusiveness from all cultures.
“I grew up at a time where there was a lack of diversity in art and film, and I want to be able to inspire the next generation to learn about different cultures as well as embracing one’s own culture/s.”
I grew up at a time where there was a lack of diversity in art and film, and I want to be able to inspire the next generation to learn about different cultures as well as embracing one’s own culture/s. This is why I am hard at work in creating new artwork that embodies this idea. I will be debuting new artwork at DesignerCon 2018 as well as my second solo exhibit this December at Kape Republik.
Paola Oliveras is a freelance artist and illustrator. For the past 4 years, she has been tabling at conventions such as WonderCon and DesignerCon under her business name, “Art of Pao”, as well as exhibiting at various art shows from fan*alley’s “Artist Lodge”, Leanna Lin’s Wonderland, and The Perky Nerd. In addition, she has been growing her art business by selling her art online through her Etsy shop.
Thank you to Paola of Art of Pao for sharing her story of achieving her dream. Be sure to visit her Etsy store for lots of cute things on display and follow her on Instagram!
What are your thoughts on being a Filipino American? Have you had a similar experience? If you liked this story, please share with someone who might be interested!
Do you have your own story to share? Contact: info [at] halohalomixmix.com or add a comment below.