Get to know artist Michi Pichel from the Philippines
Michi Pichel is one of the artists we collaborated with for our spring collection. Get to know her more and what inspires her beautiful creations.
Original design by Mich Pichel for Her Waves Spring Collection 2020
Tell us about yourself
My name is Michi, I’m 34 years old. I was born and raised in Manila which is the capital of the Philippines. It's a bustling city, pretty fast-paced and congested.I have a little boy named Koa, he is the sweetest kid. Since having him, I needed to stay at home while still wanting to pursue a career close to my heart, so creating art was a no brainer and I chose Digital Illustration as my medium since it doesn’t require a lot of cleaning up!
It can be quite draining in Manila with all the heavy traffic and the lack of green space, so it's always nice to take a trip somewhere to decompress and feel nature. But Manila can be really fun too, the nightlife is very fun, lots of good food, events, and places stay open very late.
Currently we are living in La Union, a really lovely surf town 4 hours from Manila. It's nice to get to go to the beach every day for sunset and for a swim. It's more laid back, zero traffic, and a great community. There's a bit more freedom here, which is good for my son. I really felt bad for him last year because he was just really stuck at home with no one else to play with.
It’s been a couple years since I started as a Digital Illustrator. I’ve dabbled in other careers such as culinary and fashion design and merchandising, but creating art has always been a sort of release and something I’ve always loved to do in my downtime.
What inspires the art that you create?
I love surfing, but I live quite far from our surfing beaches here. So when I’m landlocked, I daydream a lot about surfing and it gives me different surges of inspiration, which also makes me start planning out of town surf trips.=) I’m also inspired by confident, powerful women who are not afraid to be themselves no matter what their size, color or what society tells them what a woman should look or behave like. I am quite the feminist.
What is the biggest challenge you face as an artist/entrepreneur?
Biggest challenge is getting people to understand why my art is priced that way. There are still a lot of people out there that think art is something that is so easy and cheap, because it is readily available to see and it’s everywhere, especially digital art. I get customers/clients who compare me to other artists they talk to, asking me why the other artist has lower prices and honestly I don’t really know what to say. I really think artists should stand up for their worth and know their worth. It’s not easy all the time dealing with clients and making sure that their vision is translated and created the way they want but still retaining your style. I also have a hard time seeing brands just steal my posts from my Instagram account and post it on their business account. It hurts because they don’t even ask, but it does get your name out there. It can get frustrating but that’s the risk of putting it on social media, screenshots can kill your business
When did you start surfing?
I didn’t start surfing until 2016. My friends took me to this surf town called Baler and I absolutely fell in love. Before that, you would never see me in open water because it honestly terrifies me and I was never the best swimmer. My friend pushed me into trying it out with her instructor even for just 30 minutes and on the first try I got to stand up and felt freedom. I never experienced any kind of pure rush, it was the best feeling ever. I kept going back even by myself (its a 5 hour drive) to surf and eventually got close to some of the locals and spent most the entire year there. Me and my partner are now working hard to build our house by the beach.
Longboard or shortboard?
Longboard! It's seriously so relaxing and so stylish. I love tiny waves and waiting in between sets, especially on a sunny, glassy day. Nothing compares.
Dawn patrol or sunset surf?
Dawn Patrol! It’s so calm and usually, no wind and I still have a full day to work and take care of the family.
Where is your favorite surf break?
Secret Spot in Baler, when it’s working it has one of the longest rights i’ve ever ridden that you have to stop your ride because it’s such a long paddle back to the lineup.
I also love Daku Island in Siargao (also in the Philippines). You get to ride a boat and just jump out into the water because its on the outer reef, its so fun and you really feel so close to nature.
Your favorite quote to live by?
Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.
I LOVE VIDEO GAMES. Like I get so into it I become a hermit and don’t wanna do anything else. I have all the playstations. I am a little bit of a geek.
Favorite song lyric? or Favorite band/musician?
Dark Necessities from Red Hot Chili Peppers get me fired up to surf.