We recently spoke with Arnold Arre and Cynthia Bauzon of Tala Studios from Manila about their lives and their work.


maARTe: Can you tell us a little about yourselves?


C: I'm Cynthia. I worked in advertising for nine years before I had the guts to break free and peddle my works as a self-employed graphic designer.


Arnold here inspired me to make that decision (:


A: Hi I'm Arnold and I worked in advertising for about two years before going on my own and doing freelance artist stuff. Somewhere along the way, I found my calling, which is to write and draw comic books. I have to thank Cynthia for inspiring and supporting me all the way :)


They designed and art-directed The Sacred Works of Ryan Cayabyab double CD package, released in March 2002. The 20-page booklet features 7 original digitally-painted illustrations by Arnold.


maARTe: Arnold and Cynthia, before you two began to work together, you were each quite succesful at what you did individually. With Cynthia as a multi-awarded Associate Creative Director at the advertising agency, BBDO Guerrero Ortega, and Arnold as one of the Philippines foremost book writer-illustrators, you have both accomplished a great deal already. What made you two decide to come together and form Tala Studios?


C: Arnold already had the idea for TALA when he needed a banner under which he could publish his graphic novels. Since we love being together, we thought, hey, why not market ourselves together? We liked the idea of working with one another. Besides, we figured that our skills combined could get us double the amount of projects we normally would get on our, heh.


A: Cynthia and I see TALA studios as one big adventure and an opportunity to discover our strengths in designing. Of course, it's the fun factor that makes it all worthwhile. I mean only few couples get a chance at this -- having fun working with the one you love :)


"It's a good thing that we already have good communication in our relationship in the first place. In the end it all boils down to simply trusting one another."


maARTe: You guys seem to have a strong, solid personal relationship. Is there a need to separate between business and personal matters? If so, how do you do it?


C: Not really. Arnold time is Arnold time. Work time is Arnold + work. My output isn't as good without him to inspire me.


A: I don't see any need to separate work and personal matters. I don't see why there should be. I find it hard relating to people who can easily shut out the world around them the moment they open their computer. It's all so mechanical to me. I hate that.


maARTe: What is your process of working? Do you have set roles in your projects? example, does anyone take the lead?


C: It depends -- if it's a graphic novel, TV production art direction, or exhibit, it's Arnold's show of course! If it's something graphics-heavy or print and web-related, I handle most of the tasks.


A: Cynthia usually does the computer (or digital art) side of the job. I usually do the hand-drawn stuff. I'm kinda old fashioned. I still prefer the good old brush than the mouse though Cynthia's been teaching me Photoshop and I think I'm getting the hang of it. I always think of her as the 'high-tech sweet lady", hehe :)


maARTe: How do you handle disagreements?


C: It's a good thing that we already have good communication in our relationship in the first place. In the end it all boils down to simply trusting one another.


A: We discuss things thoroughly. We never, never, never end the day without fixing a problem.


maARTe: Where do you get your inspiration?


C: Books, movies, music, works of art, each other.


A: When I write or paint, I get inspiration from books, movies and plays. But most of the time I get it from Cynthia -- even just the simple ones like watching TV with her the whole afternoon, listening to her cd's, etc...


maARTe: Do you work with other people out side of Tala Studios?


C: Usually with people we already know.


A: Yes, with friends. It happens seldom though. Cynthia and I can handle 3 projects at a time that's why most of the clients we have trust us enough to let us take charge.


maARTe: Even though you are working together, you still have individual projects. How do you manage to strike a balance?


C: Even when we're working on individual projects, we turn to each other for advice and feedback. That way, the other is still involved in what we're doing.


A: We ask each other for suggestions. Sometimes it even becomes like a mini-brainstorming session :)


maARTe: What was the most succesful work you did together? Why do you think it was succesful?


C: I would say the two Ryan Cayabyab CD designs. Successful because they came out the way we hoped they would.


A: Yup, those came out pretty well.


maARTe: Where do you hope Tala Studios would be in the next 2, , 10 years?


C: Recognized internationally? Naks!


A: Still very much around. Maybe even venturing in multi-media.


maARTe: It seems that for the short time that Tala has been around, you are already creating waves in the industry. What are your goals and objectives? What do you hope to accomplish with Tala?


C: We are? Hehe. We just want to promote outstanding work and perhaps show the world that Filipinos are capable of producing world-class art.


A: Quality rather than quantity. Promote Philippine art.


maARTe: What can we look forward to from Tala Studios? What are you currently working on?


C: Right now we're focusing on saving up for our personal goals, so in the near future you can expect more graphic novel releases from Arnold, and more websites from me. On our to-do list: a long overdue Tala Studios web presence (since we only have each other's individual sites for now).


A: We have several websites in the works and a couple of books to be released this year. A TALA studios website is on it's way too so watch out for it :)


maARTe: Can you share some wise words for other people that are collaborating? 


C: Respect each other. Let your partner bring out the best in you. If you're in love, don't treat work like a chore, make it fun for the two of you.


A: Share thoughts. Share ideas. Blend your talents. Work like it's play. Never underestimate the power of quality time. Work with love.


maARTe: Are you maarte? Yes or Abosutely!!!?


C: Haha, absolutely (:


A: Absolutely!!!!! maARTe is hot! maARTe is cool!


maARTe: Why do you think you are maarte?


C: We are SO for the propagation of Philippine art and culture!


A: Ditto!



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