An artist’s late becoming
After working in corporate, Karyel Santos says it’s time to focus on her art
Nov 23, 2016
As the legendary French painter Henri Matisse said, “Creativity takes courage.” Art is a career path not everyone can take, not because they’re not creative enough but because parents usually disapprove of this life choice. Karyel “Tyang” Santos did not have to battle it out with her parents to pursue a line of work related to art—in fact, she did not even plan to be called an “artist” in the first place.
With colored pens and a piece of paper, she started creating surreal jocular portraits of her friends at age 19. Little did she know that her fondness in drawing would become her source of income in the future.
Santos’ choice to enroll in a crash course on web design was the turning point in her art career. While she did not continue with that particular design discipline, it served as the spark for her entry into graphic design. As a young artist with no formal training in visual arts, she tried different styles through the years, and her pursuit to discover her own style led her to become acquainted with other up-and- coming artists. Later on, she stumbled upon the world of street art and explored the exhilaration of painting on concrete. She then became one of the founders of the street art community in the southern metro, the Cavity Collective.
From colored pens to graphic design and street art, Santos has gone back to her bright colors and funky drawings. “I tried different media [and subjects] but now, I’m focused on portraits, food, and typography,” she says. She describes her artworks as “tyanganized” pieces.
After working for an online global company for three years as an illustrator, she finally decided to quit her day job late last year to concentrate on her art. Gaining exposure through social media and her participation in weekend markets, she has since been commissioned for an upcoming project to design shirts for Team Manila. Santos is proof that art, indeed, can be a career, and that it is never too late to pursue it.