This is the first time we’ve come across the term “cat juice” in our 100 Creatives profile series. It’s the name of both a local artist collective and the name of the collective’s zine. “Cat Juice celebrates on-the-spot ideas, taking a raw, fresh idea and just going with it without deliberating on it too much,” artist and filmmaker Paris F. Jomadiao tells us. The concept aptly describes Jomadiao’s approach to her work. “I don’t storyboard. I get an image of the final product in my mind and then I choose which processes are best for achieving that.” Among the processes and techniques she chooses from are cut paper, collage, drawing, photography and narrative filmmaking. It’s a little difficult to describe, even for Jomadiao. “I tend to think of my work as moving collages. They’re mixed media, yes, but because because it’s moving, moving collage is a good catch-all. It incorporates the basic techniques and the final product itself.”
Currently in residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, the 24-year-old was born in the Philippines but has lived in Houston since she was three years old. Jomadiao, who has been creating art for as long as she can remember, says her current work reflects the fact that she lives in a world where digitized art is the norm. It’s a reality she both embraces and rejects. A graduate of the University of Houston with a BFA in photography and digital media, Jomadiao originally studied what she calls “dark room photography.” As the school’s program began to focus on digital photography, she turned to stop motion animation, eventually mixing in collage, drawing and cut paper illustration. “I’ve been caught in this time when art has been becoming a more digital, computerized medium. My work is a hybrid of combining craft techniques with a digital final form.
Cry Baby Corner (2012) from Paris F. Jomadiao on Vimeo.
What She Does: “I usually tell people I’m a mixed media and stop-motion animation artist. It’s still sort of difficult for me to pinpoint exactly where my work fits because so much goes into it. Just calling it stop-motion animation takes away from everything else that went into it.”
Why She Likes It: “I enjoy all the hands on stuff, the physical manual labor that goes into my work. Cutting paper is one of my favorite things; it’s very therapeutic. I would say editing is the least favorite thing I do, because that’s all very technical and done on a computer.”
Jomadiao says becoming an artist was an act of rebellion for her. “Growing up as an Asian-American, you’re expected to do certain things, you’re expected to grow up and pursue a particular career. Art differentiated me. Most of us were expected to pursue nursing degrees or something in the medical and business world. Art was a way for me to identify myself. It helps me to establish myself personally, to express myself and experiment.”
What Inspires Her: “For me, ideas come from human nature and how we explore or approach our existence. I explore concepts like death and how that’s a part of life. In undergrad [school] we were encouraged not to do much personal work. Now that I’m out of school I feel like I can explore that more. I still pursue the same things, personal narratives, but in a broader sense.”
If Not This, Then What: Asked what other “dream gig” she would enjoy, Jomadiao pauses. We offer up some suggestions: “Would you want to be a chef? An astronaut? A farmer?” Jomadiao pauses again. “All of those sound really awesome,” she laughs. “I think I would still want to do something creative. I’ve been told that I should have been a chef because I love cooking, but I feel that’s also creative. Doing crafts, working with your hands, like cooking, it’s all creative, too.”
If Not Here, Then Where: “I love Houston. Most people have a love-hate relationship with the city. I think that comes from it being such a huge, spread out place. I think it’s a great place for young artists to start off and get their footing. It’s a very welcoming community, very encouraging community. Honesty, if you’re not getting into shows … you’re probably not doing enough. There’s opportunity everywhere here in Houston. It makes it hard to leave, but i know I’ll need to at some point just to get that experience. As of right now I’m really loving working here and living here.”
Jomadiao returned to the Philippines for a few years during high school, but says she wouldn’t want to live there at this point. “I would want to visit back home, but it’s a third world country and not always a great place to live. I’ve lived in America pretty all my life and this is what I’m used to. But I would consider, in the future, moving somewhere else that had a thriving art community. New York, LA Portland, Seattle. I really could live anywhere.”
What’s Next: Jomadiao will be completing her residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft in November. She says she’s looking at going to grad school, but for now she’s planning to stay in Houston and hoping to take part in more exhibitions. She also wants to continue collaborating with other artists, especially with more members of the Cat Juice Collective.