FSAP's Artist of the Week: Kookoo Ramos

The Filipino Street Art Project is a documentary film and multimedia web venture aimed at exploring Filipino life and culture through the booming street scene.

Our featured artist this week is a jack of all trades, working as a graphic artist, advertising designer, photographer and street artist. We are happy to introduce KooKoo Ramos as our first female Artist of the Week. We at the Project were very excited to finally ask her what it is like to be one of the too-few Filipina artists. KooKoo did not humor us: "I don't think it really matters if I am a woman or a man. My gender doesn’t really separate me from the other artists." On the scale of talent and originality, it certainly does not. Find KooKoo’s album on our Facebook page and see all of her work on her Behance profile. [slideshow id = 63] What’s your story? How did you become an artist? When I was younger I already knew what I wanted to be, and I think my parents noticed it too. When I was a kid, my mom used to buy me coloring books and Crayola crayons. Did you go to school for art? Yes. I graduated as a Fine Arts Major in Advertising from the University of Santo Tomas in 2012. I did go to school, and chose that course, to further develop my talent and to learn more in this field. And I don’t regret a single day I had during college. IT WAS FUN. I can say that I developed my character as an artist during those years. So how did you go from loving art as a kid to painting on the streets? Go from loving art as a kid to painting on the streets? As we grow older we meet new people along the way who inspire us in different ways. I think I got it from the people I’ve met. I was exposed to different sorts of artists and these people became part of my interest in street art. I think that part brought me here to this field and this community. Besides being influenced, I think I naturally became more open-minded in exploring different things, and one of these things was street art and graffiti. Why do you paint? I draw and paint girls. Sometimes just in black and white line art, sometimes rendered in flat colors, sometimes realistic. I am very open to experimenting with different mediums, even digital art. Are female street artists perceived differently than males in the Philippines? What has been your experience being a woman in this male-dominated area? I think being a woman is more of an advantage than the other way around. Especially when I get to ask permission to paint a wall and sometimes, male artists, my friends, offer me a helping hand when I have to carry heavy stuff like ladders, stools, and paints —  (they're real) hmm, gentlemen (claps and laughs). But I actually think it really doesn’t matter if am a woman or a man. My gender doesn’t really separate me from the other artists. It doesn’t matter to me. Does your work have a message? If so, what is it? Subconsciously, I think there is. I am not really sure. I just leave it to the people how they see and interpret my work. How do you view the street art scene in the Philippines? ALIVE. What are your long term goals? What do you want to do next? Keep doing what I am doing up until I have a family of my own. I am still young, but you mentioned ‘long term.' (laughs.) Anyway, I just want to learn more, and be inspired by more and more people I meet along the way and just have fun with whatever life will offer me. What made you want to paint these beautiful women? Are they based on real people or personalities? Nothing really “deep” to explain this part. I just like to paint women, maybe because I have fun creating them — their hair, facial features, emotions, style. They aren’t based on real people or personalities, they are created by my imagination. What do you do for a living? How does art play into that? I have a day job as a graphic artist and do commissioned projects as a freelance artist at the same time. What do you hope happens with street art in the Philippines? I’m hoping that street art scene in the Philippines will stay active and that artists will never get tired of creating and spreading their art.   Thanks so much KooKoo! Keep doing what you’re doing.   Support Filipino Art! Follow FSAP on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.