Metro Artist Profiles: Jappy Agoncillo
Get to know more of this talented illustrator and muralist, who shares his exciting collaboration with international artist Alexander 23.
It’s impossible to miss the work of artist Jappy Agoncillo, especially if you frequent the hip and happening places in the metro. He’s worked his magic on the walls of notable murals around the city, like the Shake Shack Manila Murals in BGC, the Twelve Monkeys Music Hall mural in El Pueblo, the Johnnie Walker House and Heineken Verde murals in Poblacion, and the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf mural in Katipunan, to name a few. Yup, he is that guy.
Raised in the arms of television, comic books, and fantasy stories, the heavy pop culture influence on Jappy easily translates to his art. Energetic, colorful, lively, and dynamic—these characteristics embody the style that has garnered the attention of many.
His talent isn’t just recognized locally—his work can also be found on the streets of New York, Los Angeles, and Mumbai, India. And just recently, Jappy had been tapped for an exciting collaboration with international singer-songwriter Alexander 23 for his hit song ‘IDK You Yet.’
“I was contacted by MCA Music and asked if I could do animations for a music video,” the illustrator and muralist shares. “I have done animations before, but nothing on the scale of a music video. So I was really excited to get to work on it, it looked to me like a great challenge and a lot of fun.”
The artist explains the inspiration behind the animated lyric art on his Instagram post, which he refers to as a homage to Los Angeles, one of his favorite cities in the world. With the song’s melancholic trance, which was written and produced during the quarantine, it befits Jappy’s imagery of the LA at a near complete standstill—traversing its roads and sights and landmarks that he loved.
View this post on Instagram
Commissioned by @mca_music to create a full length animated music video for the song IDK You Yet by Alexander 23 (@alexander23lol) . . . . Been working at this nonstop the past few weeks but can finally share it with you guys! The visuals are an homage to one of my favorite cities in the world - Los Angeles. From The Valley, to DTLA, to Santa Monica and Venice, then back to the Hills, I wanted to cram as much as I could of what I loved about commuting around the City, including sights and landmarks that I loved and felt needed to be referenced here. The song was written in quarantine, so I felt I needed to reflect that, showing an entire city at a near complete standstill. . . . . Big thank you to MCA Music and @iris.isabellem 🙏🏼
In the creation of his latest piece, he recalls researching about the 25-year-old hitmaker to base the artwork from. The initial setting idea was Alexander 23’s hometown Chicago—until Jappy found the song’s music video where Alexander's riding his bike around a neighborhood in Los Angeles.
“It occurred to me that I wanted to visualize the loneliness being voiced out in the song by showing the loneliness of a big, well-known, famous city, as deserted and empty due to quarantine,” he tells Metro.Style.
“I chose LA because the bike riding video of Alexander brought out good memories of the time I spent in LA with my relatives,” the artist continues. “I had no car or money for taxis or Ubers, so I would skate around and take the bus from the suburbs to the city to the beach and back, and there were so many things to see and so many colorful people to interact with. And now, the world is quiet.”
Among the scenes from his recent project, he names the stretch from the Santa Monica Pier to Venice Skatepark as his favorite, as it's one of the favorite walks he takes whenever he’s there. You can watch the ‘IDK You Yet’ animated lyric art video here:
Get to know more about Jappy Agoncillo as an artist, his inspiration and style evolution, and his realizations during the ongoing lockdown in a special interview below.
When has your inkling for art started? Why did you choose to pursue doing illustrations and murals?
“I started doing art when I was as young as 5, but only learned how to draw when I was 8. I've always had a love for comics and cartoons and skate culture and all that stuff growing up, so it was ingrained in me from a very young age that those were the kinds of things I wanted to make. I wanted to make interesting visuals that tell stories and inspire people the way the stories I had when I was growing up inspired me.”
Growing up, who/what are your artistic inspirations?
“Comic books of every kind, but I always gravitated towards Batman and the Justice League, especially the animated shows. I also loved the art style of old Disney cartoons, the Silly Symphonies, which have such a great Rubber Hose style from the early days of cell animation. Disney animated classics, of course, the best being Mulan and Hercules. I also loved skateboard graphics and relished the idea of making my own board.”
How has your style evolved through the years?
“Artistically, I think I've just been trying to learn as much as I can over the years, how to improve, how to make better stylistic choices, how to tell better stories—I've moved away a little bit from just doing fan art and comics to making images of other things, and branching out and seeking out the limits of what I can do, and trying to push further. Personally, I can't say for sure how I've really evolved, as I believe I'm still in the process of doing that myself, what I can say is you make mistakes and wrong turns and you learn from them, and that's the best way to evolve.”
With the ongoing lockdown, what are the realizations you've taken from being in quarantine? How has it affected your art?
“Lockdown's helped me really slow down a lot more, and work on building new routines and developing better habits—things I tended to neglect before due to the busyness of life. Artistically, I've taken advantage of the extra hours to learn new things—improving my skills in mediums I've never been particularly good at or fond of, and learning new skills altogether, even ones I've never needed to know before anyways, and thru that I've taken new interests I'm challenging myself to really master such as Animation, Graphic Design, and Video Editing.”
What's your advice on artists who are trying to find their personal artistic style?
“Take the time to really do as much as you can while you can. While rest and self-care should never be forgotten as priorities, I'd like to encourage aspiring artists to invest in themselves and in new skills as much as they can, to make the best use of their time while things are slow. You find your interests through this, you find what works for you, what doesn't, and what could use some work. Study the work of your favorite artists, understand what you like about it, try it out for yourself in your own way, practice. A common misconception when you start out is that artistic style comes to you magically one day, and so a lot of kids (and I did this too) tend to put off trying things that they don't 100% resonate with, because it doesn't fit them. But the reality is that artistic style is a process, one that needs to be continually worked at, continually improved, and it's a process that you may never stop working on.”
Want to see more of this talented creative? Watch out for the upcoming art/vlog series on his Youtube channel (Jappy Agoncillo) and follow him on his Instagram @jappylemon and Facebook (Jappy Agoncillo Studio).