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Of dreams, passions, and commitment – Lauren Tsai shares inspiring creative journey at Graphika Manila 2024

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — “When you say you have a dream, a lot of people absolutely want to see you do it,” shared Lauren Tsai, a multidisciplinary artist who made her speaking engagement debut at Graphika Manila 2024, one of Asia’s biggest conferences on creativity, held from February 17 to 18 at SMX Convention Center, Pasay City.

“I always loved drawing since I was a kid, and that was something that was just undeniable to me,” Lauren shared. Born with a passion for art, her journey as a multidisciplinary creative started out with drawing wolves and making stories involving fantastical creatures, and anonymously sharing her drawings online gave her a sense of comfort and solace.

After graduating high school, she arrived at a fork in her journey, deciding whether to go to the dream school she got accepted to or to move to Japan. Lauren then decided to move to Tokyo to continue her modeling career. Later, she became a part of the Japanese reality series Terrace House cast


Her appearance in the show marked some significant changes in her disposition. Despite the fear of being perceived and the uneasiness that came with the thought of sharing her art alongside her face and public identity, she made a promise to herself during this point in her life.

“I think the type of work that I did back then has always been a little sad or violent, and that’s something that not everyone is gonna understand. But I did make the decision on this show that if I was gonna go on it, I was gonna be myself, I was gonna share my work publicly as myself for the first time,” Lauren said.

After getting a remarkable influx of attention with the premiere of Terrace House, Lauren opened up more to the world, with her career as an illustrator taking off with opportunities to work with brands such as Marc Jacobs.

In 2018, she published her first sketchbook, “It’s All For You.” As she took on more brand collaborations and art projects, Lauren shared that sketching and drawing remained her constant companions — a place of solace and a channel for self-expression. 

“Sketching (…) felt like I was moving forward. It became a practice necessary for my emotional regulation,” she explained, adding that most of the pages she drew in her sketchbook were self-indulgent and made to communicate things she could not say.

After publishing her second sketchbook, “Passenger Seat,” in 2019, Lauren started to venture into painting, eventually sparking her interest in animation. Initially hesitant to explore more mediums, she remained dedicated to her passion for creating art.

“Commitment is just as important as passion,” Lauren emphasized. While passion is something one cannot lose, it also takes a certain level of commitment to search for and keep it.

“Commitment means that I will show up every day for my dream regardless of having passion for it,” she shared.

Lauren explored animation and more creative mediums, such as drawing on photographs using her original character, Astrid, in her project titled “A New Year.”

In September 2023, Lauren directed and animated the music video for “Cool About It” by American indie supergroup boygenius

Despite feeling inexperienced and the project posing certain creative challenges, Lauren shared a valuable lesson: “Taking these kinds of opportunities oftentimes means that you need to be okay with showing people work that you are not proud of or showing people you respect the work that you are not proud of.”

She added that the project enabled her to trust herself and her colleagues more, throwing away all sorts of discomfort to focus on achieving their creative visions.

Lauren Tsai’s first speaking engagement at Graphika Manila stands as an affirmation of the rewards of keeping your dreams alive, finding ways to ignite your passions, and stepping out of your shell to explore and receive what the world can offer you.

adobo Magazine is an official media partner of Graphika Manila 2024.

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