NEW DIRECTIONS Digital Art 2021: Negros


His designs are known for their vivid, lush images with a strong emphasis on floral imagery

A Digital Connection
by Jubal Gallaga

The year was 2013 and Daryl Feril didn’t know where he was going. He had just graduated from La Consolacion College in Bacolod City, capital of Negros Occidental in the central Philippines, and had dutifully sent out resumés to all the companies he could think of, but unfortunately, he hadn’t heard back from anyone.

Then he received the phone call that changed his life. Was he willing to fly to New York City to design the illustrations for the Spring/Summer 2013 global advertising campaign for the DFS Group, luxury retailer for Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy? It can be forgiven if he at first thought that the phone call was a prank, but he was soon convinced by Melissa Overton, the campaign’s creative director. Overton reached out to Feril when she saw his work on a blog. She knew when she saw it that it was exactly what they were looking for, and tracked Feril down using the images online.

Feril is largely self-taught. He remembered attending art workshops as a child. Before graduating with an advertising arts degree, he was an engineering student. His art skills were developed from having to figure things out by himself. He says that his art is about 80% hand-drawn and 20% digital but he does use digital tools even when drawing. He grew quickly enamored with digital illustration, but back in 2012 in Bacolod, there wasn’t anyone to teach him how to do it. There was no one to ask, no one to mentor him, he had to learn how to do things himself.

In less than a decade, Feril’s list of accomplishments and clients has become noteworthy. Aside from DFS, he has also been tapped by Tory Burch, Jo Malone London, Singapore Airlines, Heineken Asia Pacific, Ford Motor Company, The David Lynch Foundation, and even the Walt Disney Company.

His designs for these clients are vivid, lush images with a strong emphasis on floral imagery. Feril’s art is inspired by nature. He particularly remembers his childhood spent in the countryside in Bayawan, a town in southern Negros Island. He has always been artistic. He was constantly drawing, and to his mother’s dismay, even on the walls of their house. His family moved a lot when he was younger, from Bacolod to Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao, and then back to Negros in Victorias City. He credits that for his exposure to different people and ways of life, all shaping his art today.

Out of his journeys, he has gained flexibility, being both an artist and a designer. And there is a clear delineation between the two. What he calls his design work, tends to be more colorful, with bold and strong imagery. His gallery work, what he calls his work as an artist, tends to be more personal, more restrained, and muted. He himself suggests it’s a way to escape from all the colors and lushness required by his clients from his design work.

He uses his gallery work to expand his artistry and to experiment. Defying common expectations, Feril as artist taps into other parts of his life. His artistic residency in South Korea in 2019 involved him creating a video installation as opposed to relying on illustration. He used the opportunity to not just explore and experiment in a different medium, but to challenge himself as an artist. He did not want to rest on his laurels. He saw installation as a personal weakness, a medium that was not just unfamiliar to him but one that he had never really worked with before. Instead of treading well-proven ground, he decided to face his fears and meet them head-on.

This is why Feril appreciates Bacolod particularly. He could theoretically be both designer and artist in any major city in the world but instead has chosen to work out of Bacolod. His reason is simple: the community. Bacolod artists are very generous with their time and expertise. When faced with the video installation in South Korea, he was both encouraged and aided by Manny Montelibano, a fellow artist with a background in the same medium. Feril feels it is quite rare to have this kind of support from fellow artists elsewhere.

It is also fair to say he is not giving up anything by working here. In this digital age, he can still entertain clients from all over the world and still enjoy the benefit of Bacolod’s artistic community.

Daryl Feril is an amazing fusion of two worlds that always seemed to be mutually exclusive. You could either be a critically-acclaimed artist yet not sell a painting until after your death or be a commercially successful designer but sell your vision to the corporate world. Yet here he is, walking proof that one can have commercial success as a designer whose designs are respected for their artistic merit. He is also a successful artist, whose work commands substantial prices. He lives in his hometown, surrounded by a supportive community, and blessed with a stable Internet connection to access an international client base.

This dichotomy is encapsulated by a simple philosophy of Feril. He is particularly pleased with his work for client Tory Burch. He feels that designing merchandise is the best way for people to be able to interact with his art. His designs on a bag are both beautiful, artistically appealing to the customer but also practical, a bag is something you use. “It is art,” he says, “you can touch, use, and bring home.”

He was constantly drawing, even as a child

 His art skills were developed from having to figure things out by himself

His work is full of color, with bold and strong imagery

 In spite of being able to work anywhere, he chooses to live and work in Bacolod City

Design and Architecture

Cultural Experience

Art and Craft