Filipino artists

LOOK: Art and community come to life at Komiket 2023

Luna Coscolluela

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LOOK: Art and community come to life at Komiket 2023
There was no shortage of all things fandom and quirky at this month’s gathering of local creators and art lovers!

MANILA, Philippines – Full of comics, stickers, pins, and the cutest cosplays, Komiket is a haven for all things fandom and Filipino art, which I found out during second day of this month’s Komiket held at SM Megamall’s Megatrade Hall 1 that ran from October 21 to 22. The experience was one for the books!

KOMIKET. A community of art-lovers is what keeps these events going. Luna Coscolluela/Rappler

Komiket is a Filipino non-profit organization that started putting art markets together in 2015. The first one was held at Centris Elements with around 120 creators present. Since then, it has grown to become a staple of the local art community. This month’s Komiket saw a lineup of over 400 creators and a sea of excited con-goers.

Bunny Luz, a member of Komiket’s board of directors, told Rappler that she has been with the organization since 2016 and witnessed watching the community grow into what it is now.

“There’s more variety now,” she told me. “But the vibe hasn’t changed that much. It’s still a warm, accepting, and progressive place.”

Finding community in art

Walking through the crowd of attendees and watching the creators showcase their works, I definitely understood the sense of togetherness that she was talking about.

Over the course of the day, I got to speak to a few creators present at the event about their art, the Komiket community, and the culture of conventions in the Philippines as a whole.

SCREAM QUEEN. Illustrator Marian dispays her art at her perfectly pink booth. Luna Coscolluela/Rappler

Marian is a Filipino illustrator (and one of Rappler’s very own graphic designers) who has been working with Komiket since 2017. After making a comic for one of her classes in college, she decided to take a leap of faith and not only attend her first Komiket but enter as a creator herself.

“Everybody was so friendly,” she said about the experience. “Back then, [it was almost] niche. Magkakilala talaga yung mga creators (All the creators knew each other). There was really a sense of familiarity.”

As a long-time member of the community, Marian even got to see how conventions and similar events responded to the pandemic.

“Ang daming nawalang conventions; ngayon lang sila nagsisibalikan (So many conventions stopped; they’re just returning now),” she told me.

Despite the restraints of lockdown, Komiket still managed to hold workshops for creators and the community continued to sell their art online.

Now that events are returning, Marian is ready to jump back into the convention scene.

“I’m more prepared now,” she said, and she knows the community won’t let her down. “We support each other through hard times.”

In a cluster of art, creator Chinny Basinag’s works still managed to stand out with their bright colors and psychedelic style.

ABSOLUTE COLOR. Chinny Basinag shows off her bright and colorful art. Luna Coscolluela/Rappler

“As a person, mahilig kasi ako sa mga (I like) strong, powerful things, so even in colors, I adopt this,” she told me. “Masaya ako pag gumagawa ng colorful art (I’m happy when I make colorful art). I take inspiration from patterns in nature, from colors in the environment.”

This is evident in the art that was showcased at her booth. From posters of the former Vice President Leni Robredo to scenes from the film Everything Everywhere All at Once, her pieces shine in her signature style.

INTRICATE. Daemon Grayson and her stunning jewelry designs. Luna Coscolluela/Rappler

Multimedia artist Daemon Grayson’s adorable earrings caught my attention when I passed by her table. I later learned that these intricate sets each took her three to four hours to make.

As she welcomed me to her booth, Daemon told me that she was drawn to Komiket in her search for community. 

After studying Visual Development in the US, she returned to the Philippines in 2019.

“I didn’t really have a community,” she said. “I made friends who did crafts and eventually I was brought along [to Komiket].”

(LOCAL ART. Komiket booths sold a variety of different products. Luna Coscolluela/Rappler

Now, she is taking steps into helping the local art community grow. In September, she organized the pop-up art market Sanctum Luna at the University Mall and plans to hold more events in the future.

Fan-centric experience

Of course, Komiket would not be complete without its attendees. Throughout the course of the event, eager con-goers participated in “Bring Me” activities and “Infodump” challenges to get their hands on free treats and goodies. One Swiftie even enthusiastically serenaded the crowd with the bridge of “Cruel Summer” while another sang “Love Story.”

The crowd was definitely half the fun of going to Komiket. Their excitement was infectious and everyone seemed to be having a blast. A few attendees even showed up in cosplay and I got to talk to two of them about their convention experiences.

DRESSED TO IMPRESS. Cay and Jay Nille walk the fair in their fabulous cosplays. Luna Coscolluela/Rappler

Cay and Jay Nille came dressed as the characters Sangonomiya Kokomi and Raiden Shogun from the open-world role-playing game Genshin Impact. Both are avid convention attendees who are familiar with the communities found at these kinds of events.

“I really like the bonding [at cons],” Cay said. “You don’t know each other, but you have common interests.”

“Once you enter [a convention], it’s just a sudden click,” Jay Nille explained. “You’re comfortable, you can be who you are, you can dress up and no one will judge you because everyone’s the same.”

COMMUNITY. It was a fun-filled event of art lovers and creators. Luna Coscolluela/Rappler

My Komiket experience was undoubtedly an exciting one. From the artists to the community to the environment that everyone fostered, the whole day was packed with new experiences and new perspectives — and a whole stash of local art to fill my room.

If you’re interested in attending Komiket and participating in the vibrant community, they host regular art markets. In June, they even held a Pride event at Ayala the 30th in Pasig City. Their next event, Paskomiket, will be held on November 25 and 26 at the SM Megamall Megatrade Hall 2. –

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