Creative IT List

Preview Magazine, October 2002 issue




It was his award-winning graphic novel, The Mythology Class, that first earned Arnold Arre high regard as an illustrator. But itís his fairy tale romance with fellow graphic designer Cynthia Bauzon that keeps him grounded. Together they make up Tala Studios and one of the most ìawwwî-worthy couples in the design community.


Itís easy to see why. Flip through Arnoldís graphic novel Trip to Tagaytay, the authorís view of the Philippines at the end of the 21st century. Socio-political commentary aside, the book is really about love, a theme Arnold has been revisiting since he and Cynthia got together. The book was a surprise gift for Cynthia, who was away on a 20-day vacation in the U.S. with her family while the book was being created. When she returned to Manila, he presented her with the book. ìIt was a very long 20 days,î he confides.


Love is also the theme of his newest graphic novel, After Eden, a joint project of Tala Studios and Adarna Houseís new comic book arm Anino Comics.


The usual artist and muse mode ñ Picasso and his Dora Maar, Beethoven and his ìImmortal Belovedî ñ doesnít quite apply to Arnold and Cynthia because both are artists as well as each otherís inspirations. To relegate one to mere muse wouldnít be fair and accurate. Cynthia shares this anecdote: ìBefore we got together, I was looking at the website of Spike Jonze (director of Being John Malkovich) and I got inspiredÖ he described Sophia Coppola (director of The Virgin Suicides) as his creative soulmate and I thought, ëWow, I wonder if Iíll ever find mine,í and suddenly he (Arnold) appeared.î


Their comparable creative prowess is what makes this duo dynamic. Arnold is one of the Philippinesí premiere comic book artists and graphic novelists with two Manila Critics Circle National Book Awards to his name. His one-man exhibit, ìMythos,î a collectrion of artwork inspired by Philippine mythology, garnered much critical acclaim for its originality and depth.


While Arnold gets the headlines and the fans ñ and stalkers, Cynthiaís is more of an inside front cover fame. She has designed the cd album packaging for local music greats like Lea Salonga, Ryan Cayabyab, Sandwich, Imago, among others. The Eraserheads will trust no other; their Fruitcake album won Best Album Packaging at the 1997 Katha Music Awards and NU107 Rock Awards. As a former card-carrying member of the ad industry (she gave that up a year ago to pave her own path with Tala Studios), she was twice named one of Asiaís Top Creatives. Her work as Associate Creative Director for BBDO/Guerrero Ortega took home quite a few awards locally and internationally including a CLIO which she considers her ìbiggest reward.î Biggest, yes, but not her greatest reward ñ that distinction is reserved for Arnold.


Both young, talented, multi-awarded and happily in love, thatís enough ego-fodder for some. But itís not the awards and adulation that will paint this pair pink with pride. ìWhen our kids say ëIím proud of my parents,í when we finally  hear them talking about us with their friends,î they chorus, then theyíll both feel that theyíve made it.


Jealous yet? Who wouldnít be? Of going to work meant spending time with your sweetheart, Monday mornings would sure take on a cheerier hue. Personally, I canít wait for them to announce their next big ìjoint projectî (wink, wink).

ñ Shiloah Matic