Interview with Artist Jeph Polancos

Her Waves interview Jeph surf art

So, tell us a little about yourself and your creations:

Hi, you can call me Jeph! I’m a 26 years old creative. I lived in UAE and Oman for some years but currently, I’m based here in Cebu, my home city and one of the beautiful islands in the Philippines. I love nature, traveling and seeing new places, so I’m glad to call this home. It is an island that has almost everything scenic in just a few hours’ drive away – beautiful beaches, picturesque mountain peaks and enchanting waterfalls. There are, however, no waves good enough for surfing. 

Sketching and fashion have been my fascination since I was young, so I got a degree in Fine Arts that majored in Fashion Design and have worked in the fashion industry since then. I am very interested in graphic design too so I tried to practice it – making digital illustrations, and designing posters and shirts.

My creations are mostly fashion inspired. But ever since I began to recognize and acknowledge the sense of being deeper in love with the ocean and surfing, it felt like I had a change of heart, goals and plans within me and for me. With the undeniable growing love for it, I started doing surf illustrations and I am really enjoying it. I tried to explore and dabble on different art styles and tools too.

Her Waves artist interview Jeph fashion art

What inspires the art that you create?

I’m inspired by many things and people. Primarily, by the ocean and the tropical vibe of which I am fond of. Secondly, the different artists, designers and photographers, as well as the encouraging community of various arts, music, fashion and film.

But for my surf illustrations as of the moment, inspiration comes from my dreams of surfing, cross stepping and noseriding. I am inspired by the amazing women surfers and how they surf, slide and dance on their boards. These are women who I aspire to be like someday.

From where I am, to surf means having to travel to another island. And while I cannot afford to do that often yet and while I’m still on the long way to becoming a better surfer, I’m making surf art. It feeds my surf desire. It’s like sketching what I cannot experience more of yet.

Her Waves interview Jeph surf girl art

What is your favorite part of the process when creating something?

It’s difficult to choose a favorite. The entire period of creating is enjoyable in its respective parts. It is fun to brainstorm and gather styles and concepts on how to interpret an idea I have in mind. I like the process of planning on how to sketch it, how the composition will be and how I’m going to render it. It is always exciting once inspiration surges.

After putting my ideas down in pencil, the digital rendering or doing watercolor or inking that comes after is fun too. It’s kind of therapeutic, actually.

Lastly, the pleasant part of the process is the completion. Whether I’d love or hate it in the end, it’s fulfilling to see how the idea is finally realized and how it becomes tangible. Whether I feel good or not completely satisfied, it is significant that I've learned something in the process.

Her Waves interview Jeph surf art scenary

What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist/entrepreneur?

I think my biggest challenge is having confidence in myself and my work. There’s a lot of really good creatives out there but I should stop comparing myself to others. Another challenge is being consistent in producing art and sharing it to the world - to continue doing it for the love of it and to express myself.

Her Waves interview Jeph surfer girlHow long have you been surfing and what does surfing mean to you?

Not long. I wish I surf regularly but I only do when I can. Surfing means traveling away from my home city. To be honest, I’m just a beginner surfer who is elated in surfing baby waves. Since having caught my first wave, I’ve never been so eager to visit islands with good surf spots.

It is even ironic because I’m not a confident swimmer especially in the deep waters. Still, I’m so willing to let go of any fear when I’m on the board. I’ve never been the sporty type too, but I love the thrill and adventure which I guess is the contributing factor to this stoke.

Surfing is something. The surf bug really bit me hard that I can’t stop talking, dreaming, envisioning and planning about it.  Surfing is just pure bliss and it’s something that I really want to learn and do more. It means so much. This passion and consuming desire in me is incomparable to all the things I’ve ever got interested in.

Her Waves interview Jeph surfing

What’s your favorite funny or inspirational quote?

The best things in life are on the other side of terror, on the other side of your maximum fear, are all of the best things in life.” -Will Smith

Not necessarily a favorite, but it’s the recent one I’ve resonated with so much. The best things in life are on the other side of fear. I am incredibly appreciative for the chance to conquer my fears. It has put me IN the moment, present, and alive in it. For me, that is very valuable because in the end all we really have and are certain of is the existence of today and I hope to seize it.

Her Waves interview Jeph surfing girl

Contact info:

Instagram: @jephillustration

I’m inspired by the water, the sun, the moon, and the stars. My countless wipeouts, my dreams of noseriding, and the feeling I get when sliding across the face of a wave.

Meg Jacovino