From Corona Lisa, The Barter to Van Gogh, designer Jobert Cristobal brings color and fun to dark coronavirus days
With the closure of galleries, cancellation of crowded shows and exhibits, artists continue to struggle to find avenues to showcase their works in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
But as French novelist Èmile Zola said, artists are here to live out loud. Living true to these words, young designer Jobert Cristobal found a space in the middle of these chaotic days.
Through an online shopping platform, the 26-year-old is selling art pieces in a form that is particularly in demand these days. In an interview with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, Jobert shares his journey and the inspiration behind his timely works.
With a twist
As a budding fashion designer, Jobert owns a boutique, which he was forced to close because of the pandemic. “We have been selling online since last year, mainly apparel, shoes, and accessories available in my boutique. Back then, we didn’t focus on our online platform that much because we were more profitable with our physical store,” he says. “Unfortunately, because of the pandemic we had to close our physical shop. In May 2020, we were introduced to Lazada and that’s when we started focusing on online selling.”
Not limited to just clothes and shoes, Jobert and his family created items that are timely. Inspired by classical art pieces such as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Michael Angelo’s fresco The Creation of Adam, Jobert made quirky four-ply masks with a twist. “Our artist designs are inspired by classic paintings that my family and I love,” he shares. He put a mask on Mona Lisa. He shows Adam and God in The Creation exchanging face masks and alcohol.
If you ask me what I came to do in this world, I, an artist, will answer you: ‘I am here to live out loud.’ —Émile Zola
“We decided to put a twist on it by making these relatable to the situation we are in right now,” Jobert says. “The first step is brainstorming. After an idea gets approved, the design will then be drawn digitally. This is done by our graphic artists, my niece, Cola Cristobal,and her friend, Shai Advincula. After the digital art is done, we pass it to our printing supplier who then prints the digital art on either canvas or gazer through heat pressing. Then my sister and I will sew each layer of the face mask: the canvas (which has the print), the felt fabric that serves as the filter, the lining, and the filter pocket.”
Their fun, colorful designs are starting to gain more and more attention from online buyers. “We have been receiving a lot of good feedback. There was even a customer who said that our designs make wearing face masks less depressing,” Jobert says.
With growing demand, the designer is beyond grateful for being able to find a spot for his works in the middle of the pandemic. “I’ve learned that, in facing these challenges, we have to adapt to the current conditions and situation but still need to have our art and visions intact,” he says. “Yes, I may have stopped doing what I used to do, designing and making garments, but the craft I put in my couture outfits is the same I give in our face masks.”
Jobert has this to say to those who find themselves struggling to make ends meet these days: “Don’t be afraid to be unique and express your artistry. We are living in a situation where everything is done online. And to stand out in the vast world of the internet, you have to be you. Do what you like using your own unique style. Don’t be scared that no one will buy your pieces. There will always be someone who’ll appreciate your work and you’ll be surprised with the multitude of people who are more than willing to support you.”