Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby Artist Journey And Her Comeback

Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby’s art journey of becoming an artist is an unfamiliar one. Tiya started experimenting with creativity at the age of twelve as a hidden hobby until her father encouraged her to see her talent as more than just a past-time.

Her painting became a therapy which helped her blossom to one promising artist.  Her bright and bold colors, shapes, and curves have caught people’s attention in the Washington D.C. area. This gave her the opportunity to showcase her talent in venues such as   The Library of Congress (LOC)   and  The Wing Luke Museum. Her medium of choice is mostly acrylic paint on large canvasses using brushes, fingers, and different tools to give that 3D dimensional effect in all her art works.  

As she was thriving as an upcoming Filipino-American artist, an unspeakable tragedy happened to her father–a senseless act of violence.  Her colorful world became dark as she suffered insurmountable grief for a long period of time.  Her work as an artist and painter froze. 

And only now, is she beginning her journey to a new stage of her life. She plans for a comeback as an artist to paint more, have more shows, and share her stories through her art and writing. Her ultimate goal is to have her manuscript turned into a film so she can share her experiences and make others be more aware of these issues.

This Q&A shows how Tiya’s challenges of her art journey and comeback helped her become a better artist. Enjoy!

We will start the interview with who are you and what do you do as an artist?

I am……a young, free-spirited artist with hopes, dreams and ambition. When it comes to art I have no limitations and boundaries. I express my emotions and feelings through creative expressions, typically on canvas and on paper.

Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby, is Tiya DK your nickname?

“Marilyn” is my government name (lol) and “Tiya” is the nickname I got in middle school. “DK” stands for my middle and last names. It made sense to me to keep both and have a separate name for my art.

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What is your art style?

My art style is mostly abstract and it’s free flowing. I do as I feel and once I get into my zone that’s when I feel most free and untouchable. Most of my work is abstract and on large canvases with mostly acrylic paint. Some of the other media I use to give different textures are fabric paint, markers, glitter. I texturize with various paint brushes, finger tips and other tools to create 3-D effects. All art pieces have a story/theme behind the work or a symbolic meaning which makes it more real and fun to discuss.

Tell me about your most significant art exhibit at the LOC (Library of Congress)

In May of 2013, I was asked to display artwork for The Library of Congress, Washington, DC for the Asian Pacific Islander Art Exhibit Archive. The theme was adoption. I had the opportunity to showcase new artwork and I decided to paint a gay couple with an adopted child. Washington, D.C., had recently passed the law for same sex marriage, so I thought it would be a great idea to creatively express that gay couples should have the same equal rights as heterosexual’s to adopt children. It was a good conversation piece.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Original Artwork Exhibit, Submitted 2013

Earlier, in 2011, The Library of Congress asked me to be a featured guest to speak on a panel and display artwork in their showcase. The panel discussion included other adult adoptees and we discussed the different struggles of being adopted and what challenges we faced growing up. It was an honor to be a guest and it was an incredible and humbling experience to be part of the panel discussion.

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Original Artwork Exhibit, Submitted 2011 – Photograph by Byron Curry

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Original Artwork Exhibit, Submitted 2011 – Photograph by Byron Curry

You mentioned your art works were also showcased at the Wing Luke Museum, tell me about this experience?

Yes.  Lorial Crowder, who started the Filipino Adoptee Networks (FAN), advised that I try submitting my work for the exhibit and I was excited it was chosen. The Wing Luke Museum is located on the west coast in Seattle, WA. Staff was looking for various adoptees who are artists to showcase their artwork for their exhibit opening. The work had to be judged to be approved for the showcase. I was selected and had my artwork hang for a few months. This opportunity gave me good exposure and an opportunity to share artworks with other adoptees.

Looking at your previous works, I see a stage play, “Conversations About HER” – Is this based on a screenplay?

Tim Odom is an amazing writer (and entrepreneur) who wrote the book, “Conversations About HER” and then turned the book into a stage play. It was set in an art gallery and it had a very artistic approach with a musical flare. His production staff researched different artists and asked if I would be willing to hang some of my work on their set. The play took place at the George Washington University Theater in Washington, D.C.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Art, Art Journey, Art Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Arm Artist

Tiya DK had the opportunity to display original artwork to create the feeling of an art gallery in the stage play set, “Conversations About HER” a Tim O. Production Event.

You say a percentage of proceeds of art sales and art works are donated to various charities and venues. 1st, how much percentage do you give?

It varies depending on the Venue.

2nd, name a few artworks you have donated?

I have donated artworks to several entities over the years. A lot of my original sketch books have been donated to the Library of Congress for their research and studies (Archive Department) and they also have several original paintings.

I’ve also donated artwork to the Prince Georges County Department for Child Welfare in MD; their fund-raiser was a great opportunity to meet foster-care children and adopted children with their new families. It was an honor to do an art piece that displayed a theme about adoption because I am also a product of that.

In addition, I’ve donated artwork to the Komen Breast Cancer fund-raising event, Dress For Success, The Sasha Bruce Foundation, and more.

Last, what are the charities you donated to and why did you choose them?

All the charities I have donated art proceeds to are organizations that help people get back on their feet: Children in foster-care & adoption, Cancer Fund Raising Events (attached below), HIV/AIDS, and other humanitarian organizations.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby Artist Journey And Her Comeback

You have some of your artworks displayed in an independent film. Wow! Which are they and what film is this?

A friend of mine who is a screenwriter and an independent film producer, Angel Sepulveda (Sepulveda Films), wrote a manuscript and shot the movie. He needed artwork for the set and reached out to me. I was honored to have some of my work hang in his production. I had three of my large paintings hanging on his walls (Artwork Used: Intertwined Lovers, Writer’s Block, and Rainy Miami). The film has not been released yet.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

Sepulveda Films, Setting for College Park Film

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

Featured Artist at The Washington Hilton Hotel, DC.

Looking at your Facebook page, art resume, and website, I noticed they were not updated for quite some time. Is this related to the tragedy of your father? (So sorry for your loss.)

Thank you. Yes, it’s been a very difficult struggle to accept the unexpected loss of my father. You never get over it, you slowly just learn to get used to it, which is an excruciating pain I live with every day. My life has changed dramatically…it will never be the same…so it has definitely set me back; however, I’m slowly bouncing back, and when I do, I’m going to come back even harder! The depth of this tragic experience will definitely affect my work.

Despite your loss, it must be hard for you to create again. How did you pull through? Did you paint during this period or was your painting much darker than you’re colorful bright art pieces?

I thought that was it! I was done because I really thought I had literally lost my mind!!!  I was extremely close to my father (I was daddy’s little girl and we also had a common interest through our work in transportation and construction, which made our relationship even richer), so losing him so tragically and unexpectedly tore my world apart and I became depressed. I had no motivation to paint or do anything for a while.

However, with time and also having such a great support team with my friends, family and even my job, I was able to slowly pull myself back together. I found myself getting back into doing some art pieces and actually shocked myself. I think my art now is deeper, more mature, more emotional, and richer. Attached is one of the new pieces I did for the one-year anniversary of his death.

Getting back to doing some art has been very therapeutic for me and it has helped me express my loss. I don’t think my work is as colorful (vibrant) and happy, but I still use bright colors…just in a different manner. Is it darker? Mmmmm…Yes, I would say so. I guess you could call it the “Dark Period”.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

New Artwork 2015, Medium: Acrylic | Title: “Fallen Hero Down Under”
(One Year Anniversary Tribute Artwork in Honor of my father, Dr. Ronald F. Kirby)

Reading the article, it was stated your parents adopted you and your brother in the Philippines. Has this influenced your creative style? At what age did you discover and started exploring your creativity?

Yes. My brother and I were and still are very blessed we were chosen. I think being chosen aka “adopted” has influenced me to be expressive and feel super fortunate, which gives me the motivation to express my gratitude, experiences, emotions, and who I am creatively on canvas.

Some of my pieces illustrate a lot of where I come from and who I am. I discovered art at a fairly young age and started pursuing it as a hidden hobby at 12 years old. I was shy and didn’t want anyone to know I enjoyed painting.  Being an artist and painting was considered lame and not cool (lol), I also really didn’t think I was that good. It was just a hobby and also a way to avoid getting in trouble. I would paint for hours and lock myself up in my room, but I never saw it being worth showing or talking about until my father found a painting behind my dresser ready to go to the trash. He absolutely refused to throw it away. Instead, he framed my artwork and after that…well, art became more than just a hobby.  It was a talent (that my dad helped me feel worthy of my niche, as he would call it). Eventually it became a passion that I cannot live without!

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

This was the first artwork created (at 12 years old) that was ready to go to trash and later it was framed.
Title: “Secure Comfort” | Photo was taken at The Library of Congress Art Exhibit, Washington, D.C.
(Photograph by Byron Curry)

I see that you are a member at Filipino Adoptee Networks

Yes. As I mentioned earlier, Lorial is a phenomenal Filipina who created FAN and has helped me and many other Filipinos network with appropriate people. She has a great vision to bring people together and help connect you with others.

FAN had a panel discussion on this topic. ( In this panel, Psychologist Amanda Baden discussed identity crisis in teen years among the adoptees.

Yes, Amanda Baden is a great psychologist and I had the opportunity to listen to her discuss identity crises that typically start at a very young age and eventually can manifest to depression and other issues. We talked about our own struggles and discussed different scenarios, situations, how to possibly recognize children and youth who struggle with identity issues and to suggest ­­­tips to help minimize and possibly prevent them. It was a very interesting group and I felt extremely honored to be part of the panel.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

“Celebration of Champions” with the 10th Annual Academy Awards celebration of adoption banquet, hosted by the Coalition of Adoption Programs, Inc. Walk the red carpet, experience all the lights, camera, and action as they honor deserving families.

Tell me about your identity crisis as an adoptee and mixing it with your creativity. Did you ever connect with your biological parents as I can see longing in some of your paintings?

Growing up was a challenge because I faced racial discrimination, abandonment issues, and not feeling wanted or accepted.  As a child, it was very hard to understand why you were given up, why your adopted parents don’t look like you, and also to deal with a lot of negativity as an orphan, etc. I definitely struggled with identity at a young age…I think we all do at one point or another, so being adopted (in my opinion) just makes it even more intense, strange and complicated, especially as a child.

It was my art that helped me evolve, gain confidence and see my self-worth. Art helped me forget my worries because I stopped sweating the small stuff that I couldn’t control and I started utilizing the things I could appreciate, value and control: my creativity. Art was the one thing I didn’t fear. I realized no one can take it from me and that’s what helped me gain confidence.

Some of my artwork definitely reflects my inner emotions and feelings of being given up as well as longing to meet my biological family, which I did. I did some of my artwork before I met my family (in the summer of 2005) and I have other artwork illustrating my experiences after I met them. Meeting my biological family was the most exhilarating, thrilling and amazing journey I’ve ever experienced.

In your BIO, you mentioned you are working on a book and a screenplay based on a true story—is this your story? Is this about your adoption and breaking stereotypes?

THE WORK IS ACTUALLY A SCREENPLAY BASED ON A TRUE STORY. So, yes, the story definitely has to do with adoption, breaking stereotypes, and most of all, educating those who lack understanding of adoption and foster-care. It also focuses on educating those who are planning or seriously considering adopting. I incorporated my amazing journey/experiences in the book to give the audience some of the things I’ve experienced and to help others be more aware of what it’s like when adopting as well as fostering children.

What is your plan for a comeback?

My plan is to paint more, have more shows and share my stories through my creative expression (art and writing). My ultimate goal is to have my story turned into a film. Being able to share my story and make others more aware of these issues, plus entertain people would be my ultimate come back!

A significant amount of any proceeds will go to adoption and foster-care agencies as well as efforts to stop domestic violence and gun violence (in honor of my dad who was gunned down in such a senseless manner). Long term, I would like to be a philanthropist and be able to help numerous organizations as my way of giving back.

I am very passionate about my gift, my art, and would like to share it with everyone I meet…share a piece of who I am with others and hopefully make a difference. I am seeking legal representation (agent) to help me produce the story as a film and play.  If you know anyone who wants a unique story and will believe in my vision and project, please send them my way! I’m also open to an art agent who can possibly book me for other art exhibits locally and internationally.

My website is My facebook ( and my email is or

All images are provided by Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby.

Copyright © 2010-2015 Tiya DK. All Rights Reserved.


Artist Jensen Moreno: “Her world is the art class, her class is the art world, and her art is world class.”

Born on January 21, 1984 in Orion Bataan, Jensen Moreno’s art voyage began in the Philippines. She was excellent and honor student from the beginning who was destined to succeed in art locally and internationally. “Her world is the art class, her class is the art world, and her art is world class,” as quoted by Jonathan Bar-On—an Author and Teacher at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Her tertiary and post graduate studies began in University of Sto. Thomas (UST) where she took Bachelor in Fine Arts majoring in Painting and proceeded with Master of Fine Arts. She worked as a freelance visual artist, designer, and art tutor who did commissioned work and even managed her own boutique and art studios. She was an art instructor and facilitator in elementary and high schools who also conducted special programs and workshops for all levels of students. Her last stint as a professor was in Mapua Institute of Technology teaching monochromatic freehand drawing, illustration and so on. Her former mentor and art collector, Dr. Mendez in fact believed in her talent so much that he bought most of her works while still residing in Manila whom she met last 2009.

It is in 2011, she spread her wings further and left for Vietnam. Her Vietnam art journey began when Jensen joined the Vin Space, Trung Khuyen Nhac, and Saigon South International School as a part-time art teacher to kids and adults.

Jensen Moreno, Artist, Painter, Art Teacher, Art Instructor, Designer, Art Organizer, Art Journey, Art Profile, Art Show, Filipina Artist, Global Pinay, Philippines

Browsing from her iPhoto…this was taken few years ago. This is when she got really emotional. Looking back at those defining moments that lead her to where she is now and saying, what if? Will her journey still be the same if she didn’t take that chance?.. – caption via Facebook.

Jensen Moreno, Artist, Painter, Art Teacher, Art Instructor, Designer, Art Organizer, Art Journey, Art Profile, Art Show, Filipina Artist, Global Pinay, Philippines

Jensen’s first international art-solo-show in Vietnam titled “Twenty-Seven.”

Her successes and activities all bulleted as there are too many—a global Pinay success story.  God knows where she will be a few years from now. Truly a multi-gifted artist, designer, and organizer of art.


  • She stunned the local Filipino and international community in Saigon by conducting her first international solo exhibit just a month after she arrived. Her exhibition “Twenty-Seven” was held at the Kinh Bac Restaurant and Gallery. The event was a success and was attended by more than a hundred people on opening night—unforeseen for an artist new to Vietnam.
  • When she joined The American School of Vietnam (TAS) as a faculty member in July of the same year, she showed more of her genius creativity as a designer who makes women’s accessories, clothes. She led two outstanding fashion shows and her Avant Garde Collection of wearable art pieces which is made of recyclable materials impressed the crowd all together.
  • The multi-faceted Jensen was also involved in theatre and school play productions who directed the set and props design team. As an art teacher, she also trained some of her young students for art competitions and because of her guided teachings: one of her 4th grade students won an over-all championship award out of more than 2000 entries.
  • Due to “La Vita e la morte” art exhibition of International Artists in Boomerang Bistro Saigon (last July 2012), she was introduced to more charitable work. This helped her fulfill her goals of reaching out to the less fortunate. She even donated some of her paintings for auction and taught art to disadvantage kids who are afflicted with HIV to benefit the SMILE Group Charity.
  • During that year, Jensen did not stop. She even helped promote Filipino art and culture internationally by organizing an art exhibition for emerging Filipino artists for the celebration of Philippine Independence. The exhibit entitled, “PinoyAko (I’m a Filipino)” was attended by 30 artists who flew to Vietnam last June of 2012 to showcase incomparable works of art done by our own Filipino talents. All art works were shown in different venues and local and international dignitaries attended the affair: Ho Chi Minh City Museum of Fine Arts, The Equatorial Hotel Saigon, and Intercontinental Hotel Saigon. The exhibition was featured in English Magazines and websites throughout Vietnam.
  • Summer of 2012, Jensen flew back to the Philippines for the “Figuras 5” painting exhibition where she painted Ms. Philippines World, Ms. Daisy Reyes, on a 6×8 foot canvas.” (The girl in the middle)
Jensen Moreno, Artist, Painter, Art Teacher, Art Instructor, Designer, Art Organizer, Art Journey, Art Profile, Art Show, Filipina Artist, Global Pinay, Philippines

Portrait of Councilor Daisy Reyes-Ms. Philippines World, 6×8 ft. oil on canvas. “In a world where beauty is not all it takes” FIGURAS 5 Art Exhibition,Mendez Big&Small Art Gallery – caption via Facebook.

  • Upon her return to Saigon, she had the privilege to work with Ms. Hoang My Vu, Ms. Vietnam World 2012. Her masterful portrait of the beauty queen was exhibited at the Philippines-Vietnam Music and Art Show for business and friendship at Hard Rock Café in Saigon. Once again, the art event was well attended by local and Filipino dignitaries including her subject, Ms. Vietnam World, Hoang My Vu.
  • Jensen Moreno finds fulfillment in teaching young minds all she knows about art and to encourage young people to fulfill their creative potential. She also finds equally satisfying producing her own artworks. Oil is her medium of choice and although she focuses on seascapes and abstract paintings but it is in portraiture, she found her niche.
  • During her second year at TAS, she taught elective art courses for the high school students and was the organizer in their very first art exhibition which was held in downtown Ho Chi Minh City—a painting auction and performance art was also held at the event.
Jensen Moreno, Artist, Painter, Art Teacher, Art Instructor, Designer, Art Organizer, Art Journey, Art Profile, Art Show, Filipina Artist, Global Pinay, Philippines

“THIRTY-ONE”, Jensen Moreno’s 2nd international solo show will reveal her newest collection of paintings in Beijing, China on March 21st, Taipei on April 1st, and lastly, Cambodia on July 1st 2015.


Her passion for teaching and creating art continues in China when she moved on 2013. Her interest in organizing art shows will never stop—as it is in her heart.

  • She continued were she taught PYP visual art teacher at the Guangdong Country Garden School.
  • And while in Foshan, Jensen got into film making. She did a little bit of acting and production designing. For the acting part, she learned how to drive a motorbike somewhat precariously. The first short film entitled, “Rumble in the Bronx” was shown as an entry to Swede Fest 2013 in Fresno, California. She then, participated with two more short films, both were Christmas themed.
  • Jensen also joined forces with the music and art teachers at the school for school music and art show entitled, “The Meeting.”
  • After her stint in Guangdong, Jensen moved to Beijing to become a visual art teacher for Upper elementary at the Beijing International Bilingual Academy.
  • Being in a new environment inspires and motivates her to be her best. She became more involved at her church and also recently organized a performance art event with students from different international schools in Beijing.
Jensen Moreno, Artist, Painter, Art Teacher, Art Instructor, Designer, Art Organizer, Art Journey, Art Profile, Art Show, Filipina Artist, Global Pinay, Philippines

Congratulations BIBA ARTISTS for winning one of the Honor Awards out of hundreds of entries!!! Way to go my dear students! – caption via Facebook.

  • After the success of her first one-woman show in Vietnam, “THIRTY-ONE”, Jensen Moreno’s 2nd international solo show will reveal her newest collection of paintings in Beijing, China on March 21st, Taipei on April 1st, and lastly, Cambodia on July 1st
  • At the moment, Jensen is enjoying her life as an art teacher. She enjoys creating artworks for art competitions, and exhibiting students’ artworks. She looks forward to spending wonderful years in China both in teaching and creating art.
  • “Her world is the art class, her class is the art world, and her art is world class.” INDEED!
Jensen Moreno, Artist, Painter, Art Teacher, Art Instructor, Designer, Art Organizer, Art Journey, Art Profile, Art Show, Filipina Artist, Global Pinay, Philippines

Life in Beijing is brilliant.

Article Source by Jonathan Bar-On, Author and Teacher at Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

All images provided by the artist.

Q&A: Flerrie Vicencio—The Widow Who Found Healing in Painting

Jenny’s Serendipity’s featured artist is Flerrie Valiente-Vicencio—a  Malabon City native and a graduate of UST Fine Arts who majored in Advertising. When her father died, she inherited an engineering company. With the help of her husband, she was able to manage her business.  But tragedy came too soon, her husband died and she was left to fend everything to herself. Thanks to her husbands loyal employees, the business survived. With the business, she then started an animation company back when it was new to do 2D animation.

Because of her struggles, her paintings became her way of relaxation.  Flerrie is an artist who paints from her imagination. I got to interview Mrs. Vicencio online and here is what we talked about how her art heals her:

You have a lot going on in your life. You graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, who majored in Advertising from UST, you inherited an engineering company, you do animation, and you are a visual artist on the side. In all these, what best defines you?

I love drawing women, sceneries, animals, houses. And a lot of times, I will switch to drawing volcanic eruptions, wars… even in high school. I still do that, especially when I am bored.

I hope through constant practice, my true character will show in my paintings. I’d like to be bold in my characters. I can say anything I want when I paint freely.

Art, Art Feature, Art Journey, Art Profile, Artist Reflections, Artist Confessions, Flerrie Valiente-Vicencio, Flerrie Vicencio, Art Heals, Painters Reflection, Philippines

Artist at work.

When did you start painting and what was your first work? Who or what urged you to paint? Who are your influences? Where do you draw inspiration from?

My father’s close friend was an oil painter. I remember him doing portraits, and sceneries. I really admire his style but I knew all along, that my father was just helping him financially.

Knowing that there is no money in art but despite that, I took up Fine Arts in UST and majored in Advertising mainly because we have our family business. Did not worry and hated Math… And most of all, I followed my heart’s desire.

My pleasant easy moments with my parents when I was a kid; my informal training and development I had experienced while watching my father draw images for me on pieces of plywood, while he was doing carpentry for our cabinets or whatever he was doing had a great impact with me.  During his break time, he would draw some images for me mostly animals, flowers, and people. Sometimes, my mother would do the same.  She would draw women with nice curly hair, flowers and bahay kubo.  I was too fascinated by just watching them draw for me. I remembered my father would draw big drawings using chalks and charcoals.  It was fun!  I would always get in trouble because my notebook was filled with drawings instead of lectures.

When my father died of leukemia, I had to resign and continue the family business. Luckily, my taste for guns helped me a lot, and my husband’s background in engineering was a big help too. Thus, we were able to continue. What we had then was metal, woodcraft industry, and some engineering works more on air-gun manufacturing.

At the same time, some animation friends gave me the idea, to open my own animation studio back in 2000; thus, Northkey Images was born. I was able to train some youths in our area. We were able to win some projects from big studios here in the country. The biggest project we had is Kong.

What is your most memorable painting and why?

My first finished painting is “The Man from a Novel.” I started working on that piece when I was very frustrated and desperate with everything that I did. I was almost gave up and then suddenly, I found this desire to paint again.

I grabbed my college painting set. Surprisingly, my oil colors were still okay.  I just worked freestyle until these images came out – “The Bearded Man, “The Snow,” “The Dog,” and “The Boat,” without any references.

The paintings are still with me but are now reserved.

Art, Art Feature, Art Journey, Art Profile, Artist Reflections, Artist Confessions, Flerrie Valiente-Vicencio, Flerrie Vicencio, Art Heals, Painters Reflection, Philippines

Fruit Trip — 24″ x 24″ oil on canvas 2013.

When the world was young--- 24" x 36" oil on canvas  2000-2011

When the world was young— 24″ x 36″ oil on canvas

You have been a widow for a while now. Do you have any children? How do you juggle all those different things that you do? Who helps you?

My most tragic blow in my life was when my husband was killed over a traffic dispute that was barely eight months when my father died. Those sad, tragic events kept lingering in my thoughts and would still make me cry to this day… But that sad episode made me stronger. Not a day will pass without me going to the firing range. I became more addicted to guns.

I still struggled to continue with the business, but with the help of my father’s most loyal employees, I was able to manage the business.

I was raised like a boy. I loved guns like how some girls adored their dolls. Our business was mainly focused on air-guns.

Flerrie at a shooting range.

Flerrie at a shooting range.

It is just me and my elder sister with no sons. So maybe my dad was too dreaming of a son so I grew up like a boy. I was able to survive more than 20 years and just recently, I decided it was really over, because it’s really difficult to compete with China—a major competitor.

My three daughters are all married and with nice jobs. I have a granddaughter and two grandsons. They are now on their own, have their own houses, and I could now spend the rest of my life painting and painting. I am comfortable, yes.

But my final wish, if I can still make it, is to build my dream rest house… My paradise where I can paint my heart out and paint all my dreams, for me and my family… And if I can continue with a food business, like how my parents dreamt, I will restart and do it all over again—maybe a cute, secret hideaway restaurant for artists and fans, and a nice gallery.

With all those different things you got going on, how often do you paint? When do you find or make the time for it?

When traditional animation (2D) here in the country turned slow and suddenly, India was taking over, I decided to close down because we can no longer compete with the price.

That’s when I started painting again because I was so missing the momentum I had with my animation business. Painting lessened all the strain I got from working on our business. Of course, it was more on troubleshooting. After my father died, financial losses, and uncollected debts, painting became my medium to release the stress.

Is painting a plain hobby of yours? Do you also get to join competitions and exhibits? And do you get to sell your paintings? Have you turned this hobby to a sideline job as well?

PAINTING is my passion, my comfort, and my source. Unlike before, I was very shy to join any contest, to join any art group. It is just here on cyberspace that by luck, I was able to follow the trails of some real life artist friends. I love the artist interaction especially Kimnetix.  I love that group.

I don’t know but I’m too tired of competing. All I want to do now is go with the flow. Whatever will come out of this, I am charging to experience. My painting is my own escape from reality but faith and fate will change its route and who knows what could happen but for now, this is a hobby.

Painting is like I am travelling into a different dimension....creating a world of my own....Thus,time passes by too quickly and I dont even notice..........My Passion :) --A Quote taken from her FB album.

Painting is like I am travelling into a different dimension….creating a world of my own….Thus,time passes by too quickly
and I dont even notice……….My Passion 🙂 –A Quote taken from her FB album.

What do you paint best? What is your specialty and what is your best sample of that which you did?

I have no favorite piece. I love all my creations. It’s difficult to separate from them. I love the feeling if some people will somehow treasure my pieces, keep them as their own and make them a part of their family—I will miss them though.

Tell us about your foray into animation. How did you go about it? How many projects have you done? Enumerate your best works. What is your future in animation (projects that will come out this 2015)?

We were then the pioneers in animation here in the country. I was employed by Optifex International, one of the first animation studios in the Philippines together with Burbank, and then finally made it at Fil Cartoons as a 2D key animator.

How long have you worked in advertising? Do you still do it from time to time?

I was able to finish my course despite being three months pregnant and having an early marriage. There was a two-year interval for all my three daughters, and in between those years, I managed to work and practice my course. I worked for a textile company as designer, t-shirt designer, and then finally, I made it to the animation industry.

What are future events in your life as an artist that you’d like people to know about?

Now, I’m more concentrated into painting. My mind is bursting with so many ideas. If someday I make it, I will be very thankful because it is my passion, my kind of fun, my healing, and my stress buster.

Thank you so much for the interest. I know you are very nice for helping artist alleviate the life of struggling artists. More Power!

All images courtesy by the artist.