Artist Patrick Cabral working in the  Philippines as part of Crafting Futures

We caught up withtrick Filipino art director Patrick Cabral, who we have featured as part of our Crafting Futures programme, to find out how he’s keeping creative amid the challenges that Covid-19 has brought.

How has Covid 19 affected your work and life?

I mostly work on my own, so initially it hasn’t felt like a lot had changed. The biggest blow so far is a big client cancelling a project, which would have supported us growing into a bigger studio and hiring staff. It's disappointing but understandable because of this crisis and I am used to adapting to things not going as planned. 

In my personal life day-to-day, my wife and I usually rely on takeaway meals but we don’t feel safe eating that way now, so one unexpected outcome of this time is that I have learned how to cook. I've been surprised to find out that I can actually cook delicious food!

I miss visiting my nieces and nephews but I’ve been able to keep in touch with friends and relatives over Skype and Facetime. When things begin to open up again, I’m looking forward to having a big family gathering.

The most challenging I’ve found is buying supplies for my work. A lot of my suppliers were closed for a long period so some of the work that I was finishing has been delayed. I don't have a health card so now I am extra paranoid about going out. We stopped going out to get groceries few weeks ago so now everything is delivered. We are starting to build the system that everything we do will be conducted inside the studio. We have decided that we are not going out until there's a vaccine.

What innovative ways have you seen artists and arts organisations adapt the way they work to cope with the pandemic in the Philippines?

Some started doing live drawing over Instagram and Facebook stories. Some had made free portraits that they can donate the revenue to charities that support the fight against COVID. A lot of local business started their online stores. A lot have started pivoting their business online and a lot of creatives shifted to careers that are mostly done online. I have a lot of photographer friends who went back to creating websites and apps. I have friends who started selling baked goods and food online.

Have you learnt anything new about yourself and your country during this time?

To be honest, I feel like whatever is happening now around the world is something that I already experienced while growing up.  I grew up in a very small town with a very protective single parent at the time because my father was working abroad, so it always felt like we are in quarantine. The job insecurity has always been a part of my career, so this is nothing new. I don't really go out a lot usually, so there's not a big difference. There's really nothing that surprises me on what is happening. I actually feel like my lifestyle is tailor-made for this kind of scenario.

Could you recommend 3 artists in your country that we should check out?

Camy Francisco-Cabral, Mitsuko Ono and June Digan.

What one piece of advice would you give other artists in this difficult and uncertain time?

Learn new skills. What has been tried and tested with me is new skills will always bring new job opportunities. Your job could become irrelevant at any moment but having a lot of different skills will improve your chance to weather this storm. 

Patrick Cabral is a freelance Art Director based in Manila, Philippines. He is known for his work in typography and papercutting, applying traditional craft skills and sensibility to create contemporary and cutting edge work. 

Want to know more about Patrick?

You can see Patrick at work in our Crafting Futures film series ‘Why I Make’, which celebrates craft and shares maker's stories from around the globe. Watch Patrick’s film here. And find out more about the film series here.

Crafting Futures is our global programme, building a positive future by unlocking craft’s unique potential to inspire people around the globe. The programme celebrates the value of craft in our history, culture and world today.

Worried about Covid-19 and your practice? We've pulled together the latest advice, funding, resources, and tips from across the sector for staying creative.