BENCH Meets: Raxenne Maniquiz

Photos by Kenneth Aballa
Illustrations by Raxenne Maniquiz
Words by Cedric S. Reyes

Illustrator and unapologetic maximalist Rax Maniquiz talks about her illustrations for Charles & Keith’s new campaign and how she juggles her creative responsibilities.

Working a day job has proved to be no problem for Raxenne Maniquiz, graphic designer, illustrator, and side gig goddess. On top of her nine-to-five at Plus63 Design Co., where she currently works as in-house illustrator, Raxenne also handles a long list of personal projects, as well as a studio of her own.

Recently, she has been turning heads as one of the artists selected by international women’s accessories label Charles & Keith for their Spring / Summer 2017 campaign. With an intention to shine a light on the arduous creative process, the brand’s #CharlesKeithCurates collaborated with artists like Grace Ciao and Charly Rodrigues, among others, to celebrate art and all the ways it’s made. 

Raxenne’s illustrations for the Charles & Keith campaign are vibrant and pulsing with garden life. Tulips and butterfly wings decorate her canvas and transport viewers to warm, sweaty summers. It seems Raxenne’s canvas is just as full as her schedule. Indeed, Raxenne Maniquiz likes to keep it busy, in more ways than one so B/BLOG spoke with her about how she juggles her creative responsibilities, her process of creating, and some of her favorite flora.

Hi, Rax! What’s been keeping you occupied lately?
Hello! A lot of things for this month, actually. I currently work at Plus63 Design Co., where I do branding and illustration work. So that’s my regular day-to-day. I also do freelance! Right now I’m finalizing window displays for the Charles & Keith campaign, in the sketching stage for 2 artwork commissions, and preparing for an event called Finders Keepers that’s going to happen in June. I’m doing the event together with Joanna Malinis under our collaborative team called Studio MaMa (@studiomamaph). We did the branding and now we’re working on the event collaterals.

Your illustrations for the #CharlesKeithCurates campaign were rosy and warm, like summer in the Philippines. Tell us a bit about the process of creating these illustrations.

When they approached me, they wanted artworks that would complement their new collection for the whole campaign. They sent me photos of the products they’re going to be carrying here, and I based the palette and the elements on those. I made sure that the artwork would not clash with the products, so that everything looks cohesive. I picked poppies which are the main flowers that you’ll see on their new line, and added more spring and summer flowers to the mix so it’s not repetitive. After picking the elements, I started sketching and color blocking. I presented those to the brand and after getting the go-signal from their principal, I proceeded with finalizing the artworks and doing the animations.

What was it like to work with international brand Charles & Keith for this campaign?
It was amazing! I really loved working with the team. They’re very meticulous and organized. They asked for my opinion on new developments when we were in the process of doing the campaign, so it was really a collaborative effort.

What’s your favorite piece from their Spring/Summer 2017 collection?
I love the shoes with the embroidered flowers and the sandals with the spiky gold embellishments. And anything black, I suppose!

What made you decide on butterflies and petals, the vibrant subjects of your illustrations?
I added the butterflies because there were some gold butterflies on some of the sandals and I wanted to bring that to life in my illustrations. I chose parrot tulips and freesias to complement the poppies since they’re also spring and summer flowers.

Guests checking the 2017 Spring Summer collection

Your work is a feast for the eyes. What are some of the things that influence your maximalist work?
Thank you so much! Art and fashion inspire me. I love Jan Davidsz. de Heem’s floral still lifes, Josef Franks’s lovely patterns, and James Jean’s work in general. Their use of color is amazing. As for fashion, right now I’m in love with Gucci. Actually, who isn’t? Alessandro Michele is super good. All those embroideries and patterns look so crazy together, but it works!

What’s your favorite thing to wear when you create?
Something comfortable! Pajamas, a loose t-shirt, and an iced coffee within reach.

Bench/Beats: Sunkissed
The 1987