Katya Roxas is a Communications and Design Strategist at the University of British Columbia. Katya has experience with branding, content creation, and social media and has a Bachelor’s Degree in Multimedia Arts, specializing in graphic design and illustration, and a Diploma in Digital Marketing and Communications. Born and raised in the Philippines, Katya is well-versed with the sacrifices and opportunities that come with being an immigrant. Through her experiences, she strives to break the barriers of cultural misrepresentation by creating honest and inclusive visual expressions. Ricepaper interviews Katya Roxas as part of its profile of the magazine’s talented team of illustrators and artists.
Ricepaper: Can you tell us more about your background as an Asian Canadian?
Growing up in Manila, my family was very interested in paintings created by local artists, so I’ve always been exposed to traditional media. From the get-go, however, digital platforms always appealed to me and I knew that it was something I wanted to pursue professionally. By the time I had to choose a degree, I decided to take Multimedia Arts to get better acquainted with various mediums and gain a better understanding of the technical aspects of design.
After stepping into the actual arts and design sphere of the Philippines – from local publishing houses to an international advertising agency – I realized that I wanted to change my narrative. As embedded as I was in the art scene in Manila, I felt a strong need to shift paths and discover what my culture and heritage meant to me outside of my comfort zone. Thankfully, my family gave me the space I needed to grow and supported my aspirations – even if that meant being continents apart.
Moving to Vancouver, I’ve learned so much about the different aspects of equity and inclusion, and how much representation matters. Coming into a new culture, I’ve been internalizing my experiences and found illustrating to be the most effective process for reflection. In this foreign journey, it’s been my way of better understanding different situations and the stories that surround them.
Ricepaper: What does your work aim to say?
Take up the space you need and find beauty in the mundane of every day.
Ricepaper: How have you developed your career as an artist?
At a young age, my mom would lay out different materials for me to play with and didn’t restrict what I’d use or how I’d use them. Early on I realized that I’m a trial and error type of person, so to this day I like experimenting with different mediums and styles all the time. I really enjoy going with the flow of my emotions and what I feel will best serve my creativity at that moment. Beyond my go-to tools, I like playing with acrylic, pastel, watercolour, and charcoal. I’ve also tried upcycling some of my old garments, crocheting, and sewing notebooks. The consistent factors in all the things I do are to be mindfully present and grateful.
Ricepaper: What is your most important tool as an artist? Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?
Traditionally, my sketchbook and Pigma pens. Since I spend most of my day in front of a screen, it’s been really important for me to maintain a physical connection with more analogous mediums. There’s something about the friction between pen and paper that calms me. With all things considered from the past year, it’s the only moment I feel like I’m in total control and free of judgment.
Digitally, I really love my iPad, all its capabilities, and flexibility. It’s unlocked a new world for me to experiment with.
Ricepaper: Which current art world trends are you following?
I’ve been following artists with values and messages that I can relate to. Given the climate of increased isolation, visible racism, and discrimination, I’ve found a deep appreciation for artists who incorporate their beliefs into their art and manifest a better future.