05.03.2024

At the Intersection of Art and Design: Jewel Pavao

By Fineline Team

At the Intersection of Art and Design: Jewel Pavao

With a practice based in exploring contemporary issues through her Filipino heritage and intersectional feminism, artist Jewel Pavao aims to break barriers in the design industry. Jewel’s work aims to create visually uplifting pieces highlighting bright colours and stylized imagery that pack a powerful conceptual punch. Her experience as a young creative entrepreneur continuing her studies in OCAD University’s graduate program, presents a fresh lens into the world of design. In this conversation, Jewel explores her inspirations, motivations, and stories that have catapulted her creative practice into success.

In Conversation

Jewel Pavao standing beside her table displaying the products she is selling at OCAD Artist Alley

Where Whimsical Meets Practical

Combining saturated hues with design-centered thinking, I'd describe my practice as a hybrid between the playful and the practical. As a digital illustrator and graphic designer, I'm constantly floating between the ideals of creating work that is both visually interesting and engaging, yet simultaneously conceptual and communicative.

Image of Jewel's desk set up, decorated cleanly with plants, electronics, and cupsAnother image of Jewel's workspace now zoomed out, showing more plants and a hanged frame

Crafting a Visual Identity

I've always been heavily inspired by the design in media that I’ve grown up with; album and book covers, game design, and film. The stronger the visual design was, the more interested and immersed I'd be in the material. Now, I find myself subconsciously integrating elements from these sources into my own creation process.

I originally started my creative career wanting to be an Art Director, as I always idolized the way in which a person could establish a project’s identity and create an entire work centered around it. I’m a huge fan of the Persona series for that very reason - the way the colour choices, soundtrack, UI design, and so forth expertly craft an atmosphere that is so concise, fresh, and distinct throughout each game.

Other sources of inspiration emerge from printmaking, specifically screenprinting and risograph. Their vibrant, limited colour palettes influence my aesthetic style, and the practice of creating affordable art multiples aligns closely with my design philosophy of making art and design as widespread and accessible as possible.

Card Series - Shuffling the Norm

Hands holding print of Jewel's piece "Eight of Diamonds"

My Fineline collection "Card Series" stems from an interest in tapping into nostalgic joy, and enhancing common objects and themes. The standard 52-deck of playing cards has a vast historical record, and I found myself particularly drawn to researching the cartomantic interpretations of each individual card. Originally a screenprint (shortly after I sadly learned that I was not skilled at screenprinting), the visual depictions of these cards utilize a two-colour palette to distinguish each suit and their characteristics. 

While primarily art prints, I've also experimented with other forms of art multiples in this series, exploring textiles in the form of tote bags, and actual playing cards.

Bringing it Home - Art and the Community

I’m incredibly appreciative of the local community, and find a great deal of satisfaction working in the field. Whether that’s through working with freelance clients to bring their creative vision to life, or chatting with visitors at art markets, I’m incredibly privileged to be surrounded by so many diverse, interesting people who are eager to support artists and designers. Not to mention the camaraderie between all my incredibly talented peers I’ve been able to meet! Through my experience with Fineline and participation as the co-lead of OCAD Artist Alley for the past few years, I've also learned a lot about creative entrepreneurship as well.

Hands holding up a print of Jewel's piece "Queen of Hearts"

Art and design has a value that transcends just looking at a pretty picture; it’s an opportunity to create something meaningful and significant, even if it’s just as simple as stopping to take a picture.

At times, the industry can have a habit of being elitist and exclusionary, which is why I feel so passionate about design in particular. It encourages creating for the everyday and for everyone - people who may not have much knowledge about art, people who have felt excluded or intimidated by formal artistic conventions, and people who just like to look at aesthetically pleasing things within contemporary culture!

View Jewel's Collection Here:

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