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Artist Series Kits: Introducing Rax

Artist Series Kits: Introducing Rax

Each season, we collaborate with artists from the country that inspires our collection, and they help to develop the designs that adorn our kits.

This season we are proud to present the work of Manila-based illustrator and graphic designer Raxenne Maniquiz, or Rax for short. We chatted with Rax in her Makati City apartment about her process, inspiration and the strange beauty of nature...

 

 

BEAUTY IN MYSTERY


Rax’s fascination with the strangeness and intriguing beauty of orchids, which she likens to alien lifeforms, spoke to the Janji design team as a larger statement about the endearing beauty of the unfamiliar. In its own way, this print reminds us to always keep our eyes open, mind curious, and actions respectful to the mysteries of the natural world. See more behind the inspo and process below.

 






I can’t remember the time when I started drawing florals, but I really like looking at the old botanical illustrations and Dutch still life paintings.

- Rax

Drawing on the long interwoven history of naturalism and illustration, Raxenne’s style is inspired by artist depictions like this incredible Orchidaceae plate from Ernst Haeckel’s definitive Kunstformen der Natur, first published in 1899.

Orchidaceae plate, Kunstformen der Natur.





Rax sketching in her studio/apartment in Makati City, Manila.

 



I’ve been dealing with a lot of scientific names lately because I’ve been drawing a lot of endemic flora. So what I chose for Janji’s collection are two slipper orchids — called the Argus and the Haynaldianum. And then we have these that look like alien tentacles! (Rax laughs). That’s another orchid. It’s really tiny. It’s called Phalaenopsis Fasciata.


- Rax

 

 

 

Color studies of the Janji x Rax floral print.


In awe of her naturalist precision, coupled with her impressive skills in both hand and digital illustration, the Janji design team asked Rax to create a floral print that depicts her homeland, the Philippines. She drew upon her childhood memories of the orchids that her grandmother grew along with her current favorites, or perhaps just the ones that currently sat at the top of her fascination list. And threw in a sweet bird for kicks!



Rax always starts a new project first by researching and then with lots of hand-sketching. After bringing the sketches into the computer, she cranks through color studies digitally, like these early color-ups of the Janji x Rax floral print.

 

 

 

Both of my grandparents, on my mother’s side and father’s side, are really into plants. I grew up and my Lola, my grandmother, had a lot of orchids. So we had an orchid garden and 12...15 different trees like mango trees, different fruits, and vegetables too. So I think I was exposed to [plant life] pretty early and when I go back to the province, I return to my grandfather’s farm.


- Rax




Putting the kits to the test in the proper tropical setting outside Baguio, Philippines.

 

 

I read somewhere that they actually started doing catalogues for plants because of the medicinal purposes for doctors. To be able to lend my technique or my illustration work for something like that and for the betterment of the environment, that would be really cool.

- Rax