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  • Writer's pictureBeaReyes

FAHM Part 3- Paola Olivares

Happy FAHM! For today I have Paola Olivares who is an artist and the owner of Art of Pao.

Paola Olivares is a proud Filipina who is the owner of Art of Pao. In 2011, the artist

received a scholarship award for Excellence in Drawing and Painting from the Peter and Masha Plotkin Memorial Foundation. Also, she graduated from California State University Fullerton, and attained a degree for Bachelor of Fine Arts in Entertainment Art/Animation.

The illustrator has a background in animation but, she has become well known for creating illustrations that display her artistic style which is a combination of a proud Filipino, animated, and cute.

Olivares studied entertainment art/animation art in college and what inspired her to do that was no other than a popular Disney classic animated movie, Toy Story. "Ever since I saw Toy Story as a child when it premiered in 1995, I knew that I wanted to learn and create animations that would make people happy. It was only when I was in college that I realized that I wanted to be in storyboarding rather than doing 2D/3D. I simply loved the idea of being able to help create the stage for the storytelling aspect of a film or show, so I focused on building those skills before I graduated from California State University-Fullerton", Olivares stated.

October is the month of FAHM ( Filipino American Heritage Month) and whether it's something that everyone knows or that Jo Koy jokes around with, traditional Filipino parent are known to strongly tell their kids to be in the medical or business field.

Although most of the illustrator's family are in the medical and business field, she expressed how fortunate enough she was because her parents were supportive in her pursuit in following an art career. The owner of Art of Pao stated that Even though she had many relatives who tried to dissuade her otherwise, she stuck her ground, and pushed on ahead towards her goal because she wanted to be happy in something that she is passionate in versus being forced to do something that was never her dream.

On her Instagram and website, she posts a lot of her artwork. A lot of what inspires Olivares to create the art she does is her love for all things cute and she tries to capture that in her artworks. She also draws a lot of her inspiration from her Filipino roots.

All artists favorite their favorites and pieces they has struggles with, for Olivares her favorite artwork she created is the first Maria Clara piece (picture above) that she did for her first art show at Leanna Lin's Wonderland back in 2017. According to the animator, it is her favorite because it captures the traditional dress as well as the various Filipino desserts that she had grown up with.

While a piece that was a challenge for her was (posted above) "Ellie The Jellyfish Princess. She was in a group art toy show called Custom Art Show at Woot Bear. Her friend, Mei-Jean Hsu, created the design of the Ellie doll along with UVD Toys. Since her friend knew that she loved to create and paint kokeshi art toy dolls, Hsu included Olivares in her group art show, and had a blank doll sent to Olivares to work on. "It was definitely a challenge for me since most of the artists in the group show were toy designers whereas I am an illustrator and story artist. It was a little nervous whilst working on my custom doll, but it was also a ton of fun. I just drew a lot of my inspiration for my doll with fashion designs from Rodarte and Giambattista Valli. I would love to try to do another art toy custom hopefully in the future", the story artist said.

The owner of Art of Pao has become a staple art at art conventions such as WonderCon since 2015 and DesignerCon since 2016. Additionally, she also showcased her creations

in competitions and galleries which included UNESCO, The Perky Nerd, the Society of Illustrators Los Angeles’ Pop Secret Gallery, POPzilla, and fan*alley’s The Artist Lodge. As well as launching her creations she also participated in solo exhibits with Leanna Lin’s Wonderland for her art show “Lovelies” in 2017, and with Kape Republik for her art show “Dreamscape” in 2018.

With such a calendar of events, she claimed how extremely fortunate and grateful she is to receive support for her art, and grow a following throughout these years that she has been doing conventions and gallery shows. Olivares said, "Seeing how much joy my artworks bring to my clients is a big motivation for me to continue on my art journey and grow my art business."

With any path, there are always risks in whatever one does in life. Being a freelance artist is definitely no picnic. "The beginning of the journey may be discouraging, but the path to success is usually a slow and steady climb with hard work and perseverance. Nowadays, things are going quite well for me with my art business, but there are still some new challenges that I face from time to time. It's just a matter of how one handles it. Since most of my creative process is in tune with my emotional state, I channel a lot of positive energy in any project I do rather than dwell on the negatives", according to the story artist.

Everyone has goals an aspirations and for the owner of Art of Pao, she would love to continue to grow her art business, and do more conventions and gallery shows every year. She also would like to create her own animation studio one day because she would still love to create story driven films and shows that are filled with joy and have a lot of heart in it.

Being it FAHM , the proud Filipina artist wanted to showcase the Filipino culture in her art because as she started to do more conventions, she got asked a lot by people if she would ever do Filipino-inspired artworks. It then made her realize that there was a big market for the Filipino community, but very little Filipino art available out there. "I'm a Manila girl at heart, and it only took moving here to California to realize how much of my culture that I took for granted. This is why I make sure that I create artworks that are inspired by my Filipino roots because it not only is a way to contribute to the Filipino community, it is also educational for those who want to learn more about their own roots," the proud Filipina artist explained.

Currently, she is working on illustrations for an upcoming 3rd solo art show as well as a new book for an author that will be released in Fall 2019. In addition, she is creating new artworks and merchandise that are inspired by her Filipino roots in an effort to further expand culture awareness for her upcoming art events.

Whatever nationality you may be I am for sure you are definitely proud, for Olivares it is a big deal! "I am proud to be a Filipino because of how warm and talented our community is. It is great that other cultures and ethnicities are finally learning about how much more we can offer with our history, food, art, music and much more", according to Paola Olivares.

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