Hello! Please introduce yourself.
I’m Saira Lo, but you can call me Sai—born, raised, and based in Manila. I’m a multidisciplinary designer, but I work mostly in 3D. I had to quit my day job because my one-hour commute turned into a three-hour nightmare. Now, I work freelance from home and watch Netflix.
How exactly did you fall in love with art? Was it something you always wanted to do growing up?
My preschool teacher once asked me to draw what I wanted to be when I grow up. I drew a nun, a madre. Six years later, I told my elementary teacher that I’d be a pediatrician but was changed to a businesswoman as soon as I stepped into high school. However, growing up, I always caught myself doing arts and crafts. I turned my notebooks into scrapbooks and even designed the doors in our house by putting borders from paper cut-outs that I did.
I haven’t had any proper training at all. I was only exposed to my father’s craft, perhaps. He’s not an artist by profession, but he does a little bit of everything. He draws, welds, and invents; he used to bring home things he built himself. Most of the time, I get involved in what he does.
What was the turning point for you that made you pursue a career in art?
I didn’t get into my dream school. I mulled it over for a moment until I realized that business might’ve not been the right place for me. But when I saw my cousin’s 3D rendering of a cupcake and my uncle’s architectural rendering, I was completely engrossed. And at that moment, I pledged to myself that I would also produce things like those someday.
I haven’t had any proper training at all. I was only exposed to my father’s craft, perhaps. He’s not an artist by profession, but he does a little bit of everything. He draws, welds, and invents; he used to bring home things he built himself.
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?
Finding something you’re good at is like looking for a needle in a haystack. In my case, I took every 3D class I could during college. The majority of my classmates were guys and there were times where I’d be the only girl left. They were capable of building intricate-looking characters, and I wasn’t. Still, I tried it out of sheer frustration but eventually felt that it was too far off from what I actually like. It was after graduation when I found the style that I felt closer to—simple, yet complex.
How would you describe your personal style to someone who can’t see?
50% symmetric, 50% organic. Shapes and forms and layers of texture. Soft colors yet atmospheric. Dynamic and static.
Lastly, what’s the future like for you?
A future where buildings nearly block our view of the sky. Sounds scary, but I hope my passion for art and design will remain.