Davaoeno children’s book illustrator designs for Brazilian flip-flop brand

This year’s Make Your Own Havaianas (MYOH) returned to Davao with its usual colorful and summery vibe.

On top of the extensive range of colorful soles and straps, and attractive pins for flip-flops customization, the seventh edition of the event put the spotlight on the Davao pin.

(MYOH, as the name suggests, is an event that allows customers to assemble their own pair of Havaianas flip-flops using soles and straps in myriad hues; pins are also available to accessorize pairs.)

The Davao pin, which takes form in an eagle, is specially designed by Davaoeno artist and children’s book illustrator Macky Pamintuan.

“[Havaianas’] partnership with Macky is a perfect fit,” said Marga Nograles, managing partner of Martish Marketing Company, the exclusive sub-distributor of the Brazilian flip-flops brand for Southern and Eastern Mindanao. “Not only was he born and raised in Davao, he also lives the same Havaianas spirit of fun through his happy and colorful illustrations.”

Macky has a BFA in Illustration from San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. He has illustrated for books by publishing giants like HarperCollins, Scholastic, Sterling publishing, Random House, Mcgraw-Hill, and Peaceable Kingdom Press, among others. (Catch a glimpse of some of his works in his Facebook page: Facebook.com/Mackyart.)

In this interview, Macky talks about his design for the Havaianas Davao pin, his life as an artist, and his favorite Mindanao summer destinations.

Tell us about the Davao Eagle pin for Havaianas. How did you come up with a local design that is perfect for a Brazilian flip flops brand?

It didn’t take long to decide on the design. It was important that I chose a Davao icon that is easily identifiable on a tiny pin.

How did this design collaboration come into plan/action?

I was asked if I was interested in doing a pin design late last year. I’ve had discussions with Havaianas before but things didn’t pan out with our schedules. This time, the timing was perfect. It also helped that it was Havaianas Davao who asked me. Havaianas’ Marga Nograles, who’s an old friend, gave me a call and I gladly said yes.

How did you feel when you first knew you’d be doing a pin design for the brand?

I was glad to work on a piece that would represent my hometown. Havaianas is a well-known quality brand and for them to shine their big spotlight on Davao is a credit to them. I actually own a pair myself. I bring my gray flip flops everywhere and I’m due to get a second pair because it’s only fair I give my trusty old pair a break from time to time.

What other uniquely Davao icons did you consider before you chose the eagle for the pin?

Something that isn’t complicated to look at. That pretty much brings you to a few options like, say, a durian, the eagle, the Kris dagger or, I don’t know, a 30 kph speed limit sign?

The eagle was an easy choice. I’m a fan of the durian, but a much bigger fan of the eagle.

If you could give the Davao Eagle pin a name, what would it be?

That’s easy: Pith. It’s short for the eagle’s scientific name: Pithecophaga jefferyi.

What inspires you as an artist?

It’s the same as every person out there who likes to express themselves creatively. The usual stuff: curiosity, imagination, maybe boredom. But really, it’s as simple as just enjoying putting pen to paper and seeing where the line takes me.

What design/illustration projects are you currently working on?

I usually handle multiple projects at the same time. At present, I’m working on five books from different publishers. One zoo-themed book that I’ve been working on for almost a year was just recently completed. I also just did some art for kids’ merchandises and a few magazine covers. It’s a fun job and I’m lucky to have it.

What’s in your artist kit?

For work, I sketch on pencil then paint digitally on Photoshop. That way, it’s easier to send out to clients through the Internet.

For my personal work, I always bring around my old Moleskine sketchbook with a small bag of pencils and pens and draw everything that catches my fancy. If I have extra time, I use my portable water color kit and mess around with it. Sometimes using a cup of coffee residue as a painting medium.

What’s the best thing about your job as an illustrator?

I get to draw for a living. A job my 9-year-old self would greatly appreciate.

What’s your dream project?

There’s still a lot of things that I’d love to do artistically. One of them is to one day do a gallery show here in Davao. I’d probably do paintings with a theme that’s a little different than what I do at work. It’s always good to mix things up.

Describe your perfect summer getaway.

I’d say going to a place full of history and no malls. Probably walking around an old town with a sketchbook as I tell stories to my daughter. Museums, old rocks, colors, strange alleyways and even stranger food. That sounds good to me.

List three of your favorite Mindanao destinations for summer.

I haven’t seen much of Mindanao yet, but I hope to fix that soon.

For now, I have the Butuan museum for the pre-Spanish artifacts and history of Mindanao. Sunrise at the peak of Mt. Apo for the view. Lastly, Samal island. The island is still largely untouched and without the complications of city life. I hope it stays that way for a long time.

(MYOH kicked off at the Gaisano Mall of Davao last September 5 to 7, and will continue as a caravan in Abreeza Mall from September 19 to 21; only 150 pieces of the limited-edition Davao pin by Macky Pamintuan will be available during the event.)