Mady Marcelino

Drawing subtle strokes in black and white, this artist is here without hue, baby. While indulging in the two extremes of the spectrum, she visualizes somber cityscapes that reveal a two-fold mixture of grief and hope. Monochromatic? It’s fantastic. Imagination—life is her creation.

Hello! Please introduce yourself.

Hello! I am Mady Marcelino, or Hey, Mady! for some. I am currently a freelance Graphic Designer and Illustrator whose work focuses mainly on illustrations inspired by my love for Japanese Culture combined with my intricacy and attention to details, done digitally (because it saves me time) on Photoshop.

How I am as a person is I try to pretty much acknowledge and embrace the fact that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows in life that I will experience the worst days of my life while knowing that there are also better days coming for me. I let myself be sad knowing that it’s okay to feel that way and I let myself be happy knowing that I deserve it–I try to be as human as I can be and should be.

How exactly did you fall in love with art? Was it something you always wanted to do growing up?

I’ve been drawing ever since I was a kid. I remember ripping off the pages of my brother’s sketch pad so that I could draw my own, but it was something I would only do to pass the time, and there’s a difference between knowing and being good at it, and during that time, I knew I just know how to draw but wasn’t particularly good at it or wasn’t confident enough for it. Fine Arts was always the second option and it was only for the sake of filling up that “2nd Option” box when I was applying for college, but it was instilled to me that time na, “Walang pera sa arts”, and I think we weren’t financially able either to shoulder the expenses of being in Fine Arts (eg. art materials), so I took up Communication instead. It was already too late to shift to Fine Arts when I realized I really wanted to take it pala. I knew I had to compensate for it kaya parang sinabi ko sa sarili ko na if I couldn’t take Fine Arts, I had to at least learn to do it myself. And so I did. I learned everything on my own, and I consider the volunteer work of designing posters and such in my college department, plus the things I learned when I took a job as a graphic designer my “formal training”.

To say that I fell in love with art wouldn’t be the right term for me the least. It wasn’t something I knew that it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, it wasn’t at first sight. I just knew that it was…there, floating by. I have a love-hate relationship with it; there would be days that I wouldn’t want to draw at all and there are other days I’d forget to eat because I’m too much in the zone. To say that I fell in love with it isn’t the right term but rather comfort—I found comfort in it when needed be.


It was only through the intricacy of my works that I was able to relieve myself from anxiety and be at peace with myself; acknowledging the experience, staying true to it and creating an outlet for it.

What was the turning point for you that made you pursue a career in art?

There wasn’t any pivotal moment na, “Oh wow, this is it! This is what I’m gonna do for the rest of my life!” I could’ve pursued a path related to my course, but it just so happens that I a more happier when I pursued a career in Design/Art. Simply put, I go where I am happy.

How did you manage to find your voice as an artist? Did you find it difficult or did you immediately know what kind of artist you wanted to be?

A few years back, I was a really having a hard time and the experience made me develop anxiety. I became such an overthinker that it became unhealthy for me and the people around me. It was only through the intricacy of my works that I was able to relieve myself from anxiety and be at peace with myself; acknowledging the experience, staying true to it and creating an outlet for it. I think all artists can attest that there’s no one way to find our own voices and that it won’t happen overnight; it will always be a series of trial and error and exploration of different style, it will always be a continuous work in progress and it’s just the matter of trusting the process.

How would you describe your personal style to someone who can’t see?

Solitude. The feeling of solitude can depict loneliness and yet it can also depict being at peace. That’s the best way I can describe it.

Lastly, what’s the future like for you?

I honestly don’t know because if I go back in the past, I genuinely wouldn’t know that I would be doing what I do now, but I sure hope that I’d still be doing what I do now, to see where I will take it and where it will take me, but at the same time being open to changes. Life will surprise you one way or another. Who knows, I might be a chef in the future.

Manila-based graphic designer and illustrator Mady Marcelino simply sees things in black and white, more specifically in her art. While most people enjoy things better with hue, she dreams in color and brings her imagination to life, minus the rainbows. Her distinct style was unearthed after developing anxiety followed from a series of unfortunate events. It was only through the intricacy of her works that she was able to be at peace with herself. Much like her illustrations, she now allows herself to be sad knowing that it’s okay to feel that way and lets herself be happy knowing that she deserves it.

Drawing a fine line between her love for Japanese Culture and intricacy, she has the ability to build urban sceneries that feel familiar despite only seeing it for the first time. Although there is a sense of solitude within the frames of her isometric sketches, there certainly is comfort in that melancholic warmth.


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