If painter Henry Matisse and sculptor (and drag queen!) Juno Birch had a baby, it would be Filipino artist Xandro Miguel.
One look at Xandro Miguel’s art and he immediately captures you with the vibrant colors and dreamy compositions of his illustrations. He’s an artist who doesn’t take himself too seriously and most of his paintings (both traditional and digital) show this kind of tongue-in-cheek humor that doesn’t come off as pretentious or corny. A queer artist who’s inspired by the works of French painter Henry Matisse and Japanese artist Hajime Sorayama, Xandro has always had an affinity for iconic art pieces. Exploring and establishing his own style, the muses in his paintings often have larger than life, Stepford wife-esque hair in the brightest colors and droopy eyes, but lined with a thin stroke of mascara.
From his take on The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli, to putting a Filipino spin on all his artworks like the halo halo portrait inspired by Dita Von Teese, we talk to the twenty-something artist on how he got started and found his aesthetic as an artist.
How long have you been illustrating?
I decided to start painting last year, since I had nothing else to do. After releasing my second painting collection, I started illustrating digitally.
Tell us the story about how your aesthetic and point-of-view came to be. We love the dreamy, almost psychedelic vibe of your artworks.
Knowing that we are all different in our own way, I wanted my art to be reflect how I see myself—weird and uniquely different. At first, I decided to create my works by closing my eyes and letting my intuition decide what painting I’d create, until my hands got used to it. I believe that my art is unapologetically free. I enjoy the freedom of creating my art without letting anyone’s opinions get to me, and instead, trusting myself to attain a certain outcome and just embrace it. In addition to this, I have been making my own rendition of existing works by the artists that I look up to, such as Hajime Sorayama and Henri Matisse.
Who are the artists you wish to collaborate with in the future?
It will mean the world to me if I got the chance to collaborate with Hajime Sorayama and my good friend, Anna Bautista.
If you’d have a chance, what would you say to your younger self?
Xandro, you are a butterfly; a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. It is a process; but once you recognize your true self, you can spread your wings and fly. Just keep creating art, believe in yourself and in your talent. Never compare yourself and your work to others as you are uniquely different. You are special. Follow your dreams even if people put you down. Just keep on flying.
Do you have a message to Filipino queer artists?
Always remember that art isn’t a competition; we should just appreciate each other’s art. I know that in this kind of industry, everyone will always have their own opinions, but don’t let those bring you down. I believe that art is subjective, and all that matters is the artist’s opinion of his/her/their works.