By Gleeselle Rosales
Every public relations firm knows it's strong, creative, and relevant content that draws the "likes" and the "comments"—and it was seemingly this idea and strategy that EON PR senior account manager Ross Manicad sprang from as he launched his newest endeavor. His recent self-appointed, hardworking project is no corporate campaign, though, but is rather for a cause. And, fittingly, just in time for Pride Month.
It's called "30 Days Of Pride," a series of portraits meant to call for equality no matter the gender or sexual orientation. Ross, 27, who paints and sketches in his free time despite his lack of any art degree, launched it just on his Instagram account. As an artist who took on the hobby as "my way of switching up my lifestyle and producing good work without the pressure of deadlines and expectations," Ross started "30 Days Of Pride" right at the start of June—hand-painting real-life, living-or-dead "gay icons" in honor of the historic figures who likewise belong to and support the LGBTQ community. He has chosen a mix of local and international personalities, each of whom has done or is doing something toward progress in perspectives. His first subject: American drag queen idol RuPaul.
[related: Hot Stuff: For Pride Month, We Transformed These Pinoy LGBTQ Personalities Into Badass Heroic Icons!]
Each day, Ross diligently posted his art, and hoping to share the same values of his subjects to his followers and beyond. “I am not the vocal social media fighter who hides behind the screen, so I thought I could send my message through my work. '30 Days Of Pride' was born from wanting to pay tribute to the people who make our flag more colorful—for better or worse... To me, they represent resilience, uniqueness, passion, and love for life that I think individuals should have to make/leave a legacy. While some of them are heterosexuals, I still based my decisions on those values," Ross, who is himself a proud gay man, declares.
How does Ross' artistic process go? Like some millennials, he seeks Pin-worthy inspirations from the online community. “Like most artists, I look for inspirations online (mostly Instagram) and through my anthologies of artworks and photographs of various artists. After I copy the face or the body, I decide which colors to use and then just brush.” Ross' ways then include tuning in to queer-themed pop culture materials, say, the soundtrack of Emmy-nominated short dark comedy series, Eastsiders.
[related: ABS-CBN Lifestyle Asks LGBT Personalities: What Does 'Malaya' Mean In 2018?]
Mind you, Ross almost cut "30 Days Of Pride" short. “By day 15, except for a few colleagues, I thought nobody cared for what I was doing. So, I thought of going back to painting the male and female body with erotic undertones. But I reminded myself that I needed to send a message that there are a lot of great people that make the LGBTQ++ community what it is—colorful, vibrant, hopeful, and celebratory.” He declares, “I wanted to capture that regardless of the likes I get.”
With his passion project being completed soon as June draws to a close, Ross teases doing more art meant for more than just for art's sake. “I plan to do a succeeding series on body positivity, same-sex romance, and portraits from around the world.”
Curious to see his work? Swipe through the photo gallery and appreciate!
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Artworks by Ross Manicad