Q&A With Yuri Stegeman, Founder & CEO, FilipinoArt.ph

Yuri Stegeman at the launch of FilipinoArt.ph

  • To you, what is Filipino Art?

Filipino Art, to me, is two-folded: past and future. The past art tells the story of the Philippines and how it has evolved through the years, which is beautiful, as it often shows locations, professions, and trends that are rapidly disappearing because of economic development. The future art gives a lot more space for ideas and patterns of where we are heading and is often mixed with cultural heritage. This mix provides Filipino Art its right to exist and makes it exclusive.

  • From a foreigner’s point of view, what makes Philippine arts and culture distinct from the West?

I think what makes Filipino Art different is a continuous battle of contrasts. Things are changing rapidly in the Philippines, and that can be felt and seen in art. To name a few contrasts: (1) traditional versus a global-injected culture brought to most Filipinos in just under a decade, (2) provincial versus city life with all its impressions, mixed emotions, and struggles that come with it. I hope to keep seeing a reflection of Filipino culture in the art, and an increasing curiosity and exploration in new artworks.

  • Why is there a need to conceive and develop the online marketplace FilipinoArt.ph?

The need is to help Artists to be seen and for Art lovers to have easy access to art. This is not only a need in the Philippines but a need everywhere. Art reflects who we were and are today. And we should cherish this. Art is just beautiful and an enrichment for every person. But the problem is that, traditionally, only art from established artists could be easily found. But how can you become an established artist if no one knows you exist? People are diverse, and so is art. It is all very subjective. The Internet provides plenty of space to showcase this diversity.

  • Art exhibits and fairs are popular these days, what is the edge of FilipinoArt.ph against its competitors?

I am thrilled those fairs become increasingly popular and that it virtually becomes impossible to walk into a mall without noticing something that has to do with art. It shows that art is important to Filipinos. But even in those fairs, it often is a showcase of established artists, or inaccessible to many people because of the price. FilipinoArt.ph takes away those boundaries to showcase a whole lot more artists and offer prices for every Juan. And if an original piece of art is still inaccessible because of the cost, we also offer prints – an inexpensive way of getting beautiful art into your home.

Taken at the launch of FilipinoArt.ph in Makati City – Anna Pacson

  • What are the basic features of FilipinoArt.ph? How does it encourage to “shop art online”?

We hope to take away the boundaries of location, price, and limited choices. One can find work online that perhaps nowhere else can be found, and for prices that a brick and mortar store can’t offer due to its operational cost. Of course, I think that physically seeing an artwork in real life is and should be a different experience than seeing a representation online. Still, considering the benefits, it is an excellent alternative for perusing and buying such.

  • How receptive are the artists and art buyers to FilipinoArt.ph?

Our experience so far is both parties seem to be very receptive. The Internet is widely used and accepted by most user groups. Trust for e-commerce stores is increasingly positive on both sides – seller and buyer. We at FilipinoArt.ph value every artist that wants to take the leap to selling their work online, and assist buyers were needed.

  • What is your advice to Filipino artists, especially the emerging ones?

One of the most prominent difficulties of emerging artists is to find a balance between their passion and a substantial income. It is not easy to get your work out there and have your work to be adored by enough people to create an income that will sustain yourself or your family. My message would be: don’t stop practicing your passion and keep developing your style. The Internet provides easy access to your audience, so don’t forget to listen to what they like about your work (or don’t like). With platforms like ours and others, fairs, and art galleries, it will be easier to create an audience and stream of income that might be an addition to what you have now or perhaps even replace it entirely.

  • What new developments or features can we expect from FilipinoArt.ph in the coming months?

FilipinoArt.ph is a child learning to walk. Focusing on what is right in front of us, but hopefully soon expand our visions to well beyond those. Expect a broader range of art: paintings, sculptures, and photography. Also, expect more interactivity with the artists, active agenda, discounts, and a wealth of information on Filipino Art.

  • How do you envision FilipinoArt.ph in the next five years?

Art is ever-evolving, and so is FilipinoArt.ph. I hope we can give as many people possible easy access to art that finds its way to their hearts and homes – all around the world. Participation with existing and new partners and artists is central to this vision.

Highly adept at information and technology, mostly in the area of web design and development, CEO and Founder of Chanz Global Yuri Stegeman received his Master’s Degree in Global Business and Stakeholder Management from Rotterdam School of Management-Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

He believes that there’s a need to help artists to be seen and for art lovers to have easy access to art. Thus the reason behind the creation of the online art marketplace FilipinoArt.ph.

Photos: Anna Pacson