There Is No Planet B: How This Filipino Artist Awakened the World By Illustrating

Time to clean out the air.

Known for her illustrations on Instagram where she dabbles on unspoken feelings and self-introspection, Issa Barte knows the power of the pen. But more than being tagged as the “hugot queen,” she strikes a chord on environmental issues and being socially aware in the age of the Internet.

Today, we were able to have a quick chat with the 23-year old illustrator herself and co-founder of the non-profit organization For The Future PH, on why she uses her voice—her pen and paper rather, to awaken the youth and educate people on why art is a thought-provoking medium that can change the course of history. Like what she says, “if we really are the most intelligent creatures alive, how come we haven’t figured out how to live?

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NM: How long have you been creating art? Who are your influences?

IB: Been creating art for as long as i can remember—from making “I love you” cards to my parents when I was younger to using my art and poetry to express myself more maturely. I get the “what inspires you?” question often, but the underlying theme throughout my various answers is really trying to understand both my inner and outer worlds—trying to make sense of it all.

NM: How do you think has art contributed to being socially and political aware in today’s generation? Can you tell us why?

“Art is a lens to see the world in another perspective, it’s about discovery, expression, curiosity, and even humor.”

IB: Art has been a vital tool in getting the word out, to put a visual on what it means to act. Artists have put a deeper meaning in what it means to mobilize the youth, what it means to fight for something, what it can look like to move a nation.

NM: What are some of your favorites among your recent works?

IB: My favorites recently have been the art I’ve been making for @forthefutureph! We’re using visuals to spread the word and mobilize the youth. It’s been a great tool garnering concrete help.

It shows me what art can do, how much power it holds when used properly, especially when it’s for something bigger than the person who creates it.

NM: How can the youth of today raise awareness & educate themselves about social issues in the age of the Internet?

IB: I honestly think it’s about curiosity—when we step out of comfort zones, we are able to learn much more. Have those hard conversations, challenge your thinking, go and discover for yourself what you’ve missed out on.

Understanding what it’s all about can help us educate ourselves on what’s really going on— and once we understand better, we can act more efficiently, spread the message clearer, use the tools of this age of wifi in the right way.

Contrary to popular belief, most people hold back from making a change. They think heroic acts are only reserved for those in the heroes club. Though they may be our generation’s biggest game changers, you don’t have to be Greta Thunberg, Banksy or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to bring forth change and Issa Barte, knows this full well. From her vibrant sketches of the rarest animals in the country down to her gripping illustrations of our political climate and of course—her gems of unrequited love on the ‘Gram, Issa believes even ordinary people can do the most extraordinary work.

You can also watch Issa’s TEDX Talk here.