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Preview Creative 25: Meet the Talents Ushering in the Renaissance of Filipino Art This 2023

by Katrina Maisie Cabral and Em Enriquez | Feb 28, 2023

Preview honors the talented individuals and groups who are reigniting the Philippines' creative spark in a post-pandemic world.

A “renaissance” is a celebration of art. European history will tell you that it pertains to an age when artists, philosophers, and scientists were thriving in their respective fields. For internet folk of 2023, it’s a stellar album by Beyonce, which one can argue also deserves to be cemented in time.

Though, one must acknowledge that this era was born out of the “Dark Ages,” a period when the arts stagnated and began to decay. There was a need for revival. People were called to shift their perspectives and to create things that excite and inspire again. Cultures meshed together, discoveries were made, and modernity as we know it began to emerge. 

The world today is recovering from a dark age of its own. Society was at a stand-still when the COVID-19 disease waved its menacing hand across the globe. Three or so years later, it appears that everyone is once again sinking their teeth into an era of rediscovery and reinvention. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that one’s creativity must know no borders in order to fully actualize. 


And with that, we look to the promising creatives of our local scene to lead the march towards this brighter and more inclusive tomorrow we collectively hope for. This year, Preview honors individuals and groups who are reigniting our desire to create in this brand-new world we’re moving in. Before the renaissance comes chaos, but what occurs after it, well, it’s best to ask the 25 below.

Preview Creative 25 2023


Chinny Basinang - Designer and Illustrator

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The world of designer and illustrator Chinny Basinang is a wonderland of its own. Echoing the psychedelic tones of the '70s, but founded on social advocacies of the internet age, Chinny’s brightly-hued realm is one channel for messages that need to be said–be it the LGBTQ+ community, mental health, or women’s rights issues. At the height of 2022’s campaign season, voters donned her work as a mark of the principles they championed, which is a testament to her vibrant and empowered creations.

“The world is evolving and everyone should evolve with it–art and its purpose included,” she says. “The role of art in society has become more significant as it is slowly becoming an essential tool to touch people’s hearts. Art is power; a power anyone can utilize to fuel good things in society.”

Jer Dee - Illustrator and DJ


Whimsical fantasy and East Asian influences drive much of Jer Dee’s portfolio, but the works of the 30-year-old artist-slash-DJ are still unabashedly him, just like personal emotions unraveling in a digital canvas. After getting his foot in the creative industry’s door as a publishing intern in 2012, the multifaceted creative has worn many hats in production, ad, and retail. Now, the freelance illustrator’s works have graced covers and big brand collaborations like Nike, with more to come on his horizon.

His one advice to creatives? “Building your network and putting yourself out there is the best way to get started.”

Ayka Go - Visual Artist


Armed with a brush and visuals of torn paper, artist Ayka Go uncovers existential musings and childhood wistfulness in her three-dimensional oil paintings of paper foldings. The 29-year-old University of the Philippines Diliman Studio Arts graduate packs meaning in every crease and fold, with her growing work now exhibited across the Philippines, France, Italy, Australia, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, and Thailand. She credits her success thanks to the gentle encouragement of her family and friends, along with an unwavering will to take risks and be authentic–especially on the canvas.

Migo and Rocky of Rocket Sets - Interior and Set Designers


It’s a myth to think that a photo’s foreground is the be-all and end-all, when, as they say, the devil is in the details. In the case of Rey John “Rocky” Legaspi and Miguel “Migo” Alomajan of Rocket Sets, a photo’s background tells a tale of its own. Despite their relatively young two-year tenure in set design, the creative team has lent much of their renowned skills to portraits of Philippine A-Listers, including Andrea Brillantes’ beauty campaign launch to Preview July 2022’s cover with Bea Alonzo. Their edge, according to them, is in crafting a setting with a vision to “persuade a story.”

Khim Cruz - Event Stylist


With one glimpse of her work, it isn’t a shock to hear about Khim Cruz’s growing internet fame. The Davao-based event stylist has racked up millions on TikTok, with local and international viewers awed by her complex event adaptations of Crazy Rich Asians and Encanto that feel like a storybook come alive. After trying her hand at designing her daughter’s birthday, the 41-year-old seemingly met her calling in the events industry. Fast-forward to the future, she’s driven by a need to bring glee to her clients’ special occasions, all the while adding her own unique “Khim Cruz” spin.


Novel by Prince Padilla - Fashion Designer


A descendant of an immigrant family from Manchester, Prince Padilla spent his childhood near sites where textiles and fabrics were made. There was always an inclination to take the artistic route when it came to his studies, and eventually, it led him to the local fashion industry in London. After being under the tutelage of designers such as the high-priestess of punk Vivienne Westwood, Prince sought to create something new to his own eyessomething novel. 

Such would be the name of his very own label, which is currently making cameos in editorials across the Philippines. His takes on playful silhouettes and concepts are boundless. “My work is an invitation,” he expresses, “I’m inviting you to join me in search of something. It's a constant hunger for new discoveries, and depending on who you ask, it’s either the worst or best thing about fashion. I choose to look on the bright side.”


Le Ngok by Carla Zhang - Fashion Designer

Carla Zhang’s design philosophy resides in the realm of Alexander McQueen, cyber punk, and constant experimentation. A graduate from the SoFA Design Institute, the 27-year-old goes down the unconventional route with the materials she uses and the shapes she crafts for her very own label Le Ngok


The results are mind-churning ensembles that resemble alien-like deities recognizable from a mile away. Carla says that “Le Ngok is an immersive journey through the highs and lows of my life and a reflection [of] the world.” Each look is “a sensorial experience in itself” that prompts the wearer to express their weirdest and most authentic selves.

Ushi Sato - Fashion Designer


A career in nursing just wasn’t meant for Ushi Sato. Having grown up with a mother who fashioned dresses for a living, he eventually found himself following in her footsteps and launching his own namesake brand. According to the Dubai-trained designer, the Ushi Sato muse is a sophisticated lady who dresses according to her own rules, no matter her age or body type. 

Getting to know this woman is half the battle when it comes to putting together Ushi’s delicately detailed frocks. He details his process: “Research your client, their audience, [and their] industry. Work with other creatives; learn from them and let them learn from you as well. You can’t create things that move people’s hearts and minds if you don’t understand them.”

Le Dore by Louie Gallego - Accessory Designer


A Cebuano down to the bone, Louie Gallego crafted his very first headpiece back during the Sinulog festival in 2018. Since then, his ornately-made crowns have been perched on the heads of beauty queens, celebrities, and anyone who exudes royalty. 

Coming into the industry at the dynamic age of 26, Louie has high hopes that more Bisaya creatives will be granted the spotlight they deserve. “Do what you want while you are young... good things come to those who go out and earn them,” he states.

Calli Bags by Tessa Nepomuceno - Designer and Founder


Every outfit calls for the perfect bag, and for Tessa Nepomuceno, that meant crafting ones born out of her very own ideas. “Despite not having attended a design school, I look to international brands and the latest trends for guidance, and [then I] create a moodboard to ensure that each collection I release is loved by all generations,” she tells us.

Calli Bags is typified by petite silhouettes, impeccable woodwork, and heaps of Filipino flair. What makes her products a cut above the rest, however, is the dedication she has to champion local talent. “I aspire to showcase the work of our artisans on an international level,” Tessa continues.


Jyka Espinoza - Makeup Artist


With a beauty industry saturated with products touting an “all-new you,” there exists the likes of Jyka Espinoza whose approach to beauty builds on the natural. Venturing into the field of cosmetics after a post-college course at the SoFA Design Institute, the now 29-year-old’s look of choice leaned on luminous, lit-from-within skin that enhanced what her clients already possessed. With the launch of her permanent makeup clinic Barefaced Studios Manila in 2022, Jyka is keen on following through with her “less is more” beauty ideology, or as she appropriately dubs it, the “self-love club.”

Jello Talaboc - Tattoo Artist


If traditional artists had canvases, then tattoo artist Jello Talaboc has bodies–even celebrities’ very skin. After taking on tattoo artistry as a full-fledged career in 2016, the Cebu-based creative eventually managed his own studio, where he has penned several works that etch the skins of the country’s most familiar figures, ranging from Nadine Lustre to Miss Universe Philippines 2021 Bea Gomez. Beyond the intricate art, Jello goes beyond skin-deep by steering his work with the meanings they all convey.

Janell Capuchino - Makeup Artist


When asked today, Janell Capuchino is humble about the professional beauty journey she’s embarked on. “I never imagined that I’ll find myself loving what I do now and making a living as a makeup artist,” she said, quoting her previous interview with Preview. The 28-year-old artist had a unique start as a Computer Science graduate, but after a chance meeting with celebrity makeup artist Anthea Bueno, the route eventually changed. Today, Janell has made a name for her own as the go-to artist of YouTube sensation Mimiyuuuh, alongside a portfolio that champions the Filipina golden morena complexion and an inclusive industry once hindered in the past.


Hildebrand Demetrio and Jayson So of Butterboy Bakehouse


Architecture graduate Hildebrand Demetrio ambitiously took on the task of baking a croissant from scratch in 2019. He grew obsessed with the process, and was hell-bent on achieving buttery, flakey perfection. Joined by Jayson So, a schoolmate of his, they sought to establish a bakehouse of their own. “It was Jayson who gave me [the] push,” Hildebrand tenderly shares.

Known best for their sumptuous brunches accompanied by spectacular drag performances, Butterboy Bakehouse is a haven for anyone craving good food and a good time. These “pastry gays” aim to wave the rainbow flag far beyond their little kitchen, making it very apparent to their patrons that “being queer is not just an identifier but a strength.”

Kristina Tubig - Mixologist


With a surname like hers, it makes sense for Kristina Tubig to pursue a career as a mixologist. She’s been crafting drinks with flair since 2019, and each cup she’s served has been proof of her constant perseverance and growth. “I always give my 100% A-Game when it comes to making cocktails,” she says. "Above anything else, my positive attitude towards everything [makes me stand out.]”

Despite her novice status, Kristina can already claim that she’s the first-ever Filipina to qualify for the Patron Perfectionists Global Finals. She emphasizes that bartenders like her are storytellers as well, with each spirit they stir being a marker of their stories, as well as those of their customers.


Rod Singh - Filmmaker


In direk Rod Singh’s ideal world, no one bats an eye when a transwoman and a man hold hands in public. After facing rejection after rejection, and finally gaining momentum with Mamu; and a Mother Too and Drag Den PH, we’d say it’s about time these ideals of hers evolve into realities. “My art is for all the queer people who wish to see themselves, their stories, and lived experiences in a cinematic universe that makes them feel loved, accepted, and humanized. It is also for non-queer people to see a world where people like us live a life like them,” she declares.

At the end of the day, her work, as glittery or ostentatious as they may initially appear to be, all aim to give a voice to the unheard. “[It’s] the voice that makes you feel love, happiness, rage, sadness, and more importantly, hope. [It’s] the voice that turns fantasies to ideals. The voice that screams, 'Kami na ang bida sa sarili naming palabas.'”


Elijah Canlas - Actor

At 22 years old, Elijah Canlas can already boast of a Gawad Urian Best Actor award, several appearances at indie film festivals across the globe, and a buzzing career working with thespians legions his senior. Having said all of that though, this “Gameboy” is nothing but determined to keep telling impactful stories that matter. 


“It's purely my passion and I'm super open to learning,” he says about acting, an artform he picked up since he was a five-year-old doing theater in Cavite. “I [want to] learn more about this craft every single time on set and I'm really taking care of my filmography nowadays.”

Kathleen Sone - Voiceover Artist


Comedy and voice are powerful tools, but when fused, they’re a volatile mix. Take voiceover artist Kathleen Sone for example, who invokes laughter with her vocal cords alone. She was, in fact, the crisp and dynamic narrator behind our Preview Manifesto last 2022.

The 29-year-old switched paths from her Business Administration degree to comedy scriptwriting, which she eventually used in launching her YouTube channel and voiceover brand Voiceover Flowers. Here, hilarity comes in copious amounts, with a side of practical knowledge of a craft often deemed underrated. “In this world full of negativity and discouragement, I wanted to be one of the reasons why someone pursues their passion,” she says.


Kio Priest - Musician


The gospel of Kio Priest speaks of authentic and youthful queer romances that have yet to revel in their own spotlights. The singer-songwriter claims that he’s still “in a constant quest to prove that I can utilize my abilities [to] create something that surprises me,” and if you ask the thousands of people tuning in on his Spotify page, he’s already making strides.

If Kio were to let his Cancer moon take over, he’d profess that his songs aim to be “an inspiration to younger members of the LGBTQIA+ community.” How society may frown upon people like him only reinvigorates his passion to keep being authentic.”I really don’t let [how people view my] sexual orientation be a hindrance or a reason to stop reaching for my goals. I just keep going and going and I never stop.”

Alamat - Musicians


OPM has come a long way, and it’s become a personal mission for Taneo, Mo, Jao, Tomas, R-Ji, and Alas to take it to the greatest of heights. The six boys constitute the P-pop boy band known as Alamat, which is fitting considering their potential to become legends in their own right. The very thesis of their songwriting lies in the innate diversity present on our shores, utilizing the unique languages Filipinos of all backgrounds use. It’s been reported that there are more than 7,107 islands in the Philippines, and Alamat proves that there are also more than 7,107 ways to express Pinoy pride.


Jovel Lorenzo - Photographer


In a digital space that relishes the fast-paced, analog is a phoenix rising from its ashes. Streetbox photographer Jovel Lorenzo can typify the flock of hobbyists who leaned onto the pleasures of manual handicrafts during the pandemic, but as society trickled out of their homes, his work continued to thrive. The film photographer dabbled into the art of street box photography after fashioning his own camera at the height of quarantine. Now, in 2023, Jovel finds himself in a unique spot as the country’s sole artisan in a 19th-century trade, one he labels as the “most honest form of photography” for its unaltered subjects.

Hix Murakami - Photographer and Videographer


Intimate stories unfold through the lens of Filipino-Japanese filmmaker Hix Murakami, whose narratives are often framed through a Wong Kar Wai-like landscape that, at the same time, remains their own. Through nostalgic and wistful tones that have graced the Cinema One Minute Festival, Indie Un-film Festival, and Viddsee Juree Awards Philippines, the young creative crafts relevant tales of personal grief in short films like Dear Papa to the queer teen’s inner struggles in Hindi Mo Ba Alam?. When asked what sets them apart from burgeoning filmmakers in her field, Hix says: “Even when it is a video shoot with a fictional plot, I prioritize to capture the intensity in feelings of the character being represented. Maybe having this process-based way of creating, with the desperation to remember, might be what makes me stand out.”

Alan Segui - Photographer


The Preview aficionado will likely know the body of work of Alan Segui, the man behind October 2022’s ethereal cover featuring Miss Universe Philippines 2022 Celeste Cortesi. But before he was dubbed a lensman, Alan was a content writer, who, after five months, transferred to the world of retail where he first set sights on studio photography, now cemented by the launch of his “creative playground,” Studio Segui. The rest is history, but with a portfolio boasting the likes of his regular muse Anne Curtis, the self-taught photographer’s future feels crystal clear.

Andrea Genota - Photographer


There’s a familiar sense in Andrea Genota’s work, like peeking through the lens of a young waking dream. Raised in the generation of Tumblr blogs, the Laguna-based photographer's body of work is characterized by softness and quiet intimacy. Lensing publications as a budding industry favorite, Andrea's ode to gentle femininity is founded by a message that rings loud and clear: “There’s nothing like the strength and vulnerability of a woman.”

WATCH: Preview's Creative 25 2023

Produced by Em Enriquez, Katrina Maisie Cabral, and Reg Rodriguez

Art Direction by Bacs Arcebal

*Editor's Note: Preview's Creative 25 is a list of 25 talented up-and-coming individuals or groups who excel in their respective fields. We believe all our honorees should uphold the same values that Preview stands for. After further deliberation, we've decided to edit down this year's list to 24 artists.

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