Who’s That Girl: Isabella Canlas
Young creative Isabella Canlas gives us the 411 on her art
Isabella Canlas is a young artist with the humility to prove it. Unlike her peers, her social media accounts aren’t run amuck with her work. As I eventually came to know, it isn’t because of lack of material—she has a lot of it—it’s more because of a shyness that goes hand-in-hand with her branding of charm.
I met up with the 22-year-old one Thursday afternoon, not before we awkwardly waved at each other across one of BGC’s many coffee shops. We sat across from each other, her with her tea in hand and a nervousness in her voice I couldn’t help but find endearing.
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(Not) Growing Up Artistic
Isabella, as she prefers to be called, is from a family of artists. Her father is an art director and her older brother is a fashion photographer. But despite growing up in a space this rare, she admits there was never any pressure to join the industry—although there was always an innate curiosity that she couldn’t quite ignore. After all, she herself admits she’s been a visual person from the start.
Nevertheless, it wasn’t until she was 13 or 14 when she actually got into drawing. After some discouragement from an art teacher at school (who the fuck has a right to tell someone their work sucks just because it isn’t their style, anyway?), she started doing it for herself.
Starting A Series Of Frustrations
For someone so shy, the biggest irony in Isabella’s art might be that her work quite literally mirrors herself. When she described how she arrived at her style—signature block nose, equal-sized brows and eyes—she admitted that it’s because that’s what she sees in herself.
She’s not the type to get into the nitty gritty of a piece of work. She’s observant, but as long as everything flows in the illustration, she’s satisfied. It might seem like a copout to some, maybe even a sign of laziness, but this is what sets Isabella apart from her constituents. There is no creating with the mindset that it’s for someone else—this is merely a consequence. Her audience is her.
That said, she does believe in doing things for “something higher.” Isabella knows that she’s talented and that being given this talent means having a responsibility to share it. So, slowly but surely, this is what she’s doing.
Passion Turned Career?
At this point in her life, Isabella isn’t making art for the cash out. And yet, the daunting road ahead of her doesn’t scare her one bit. “With me, no [it’s not hard to turn my passion into a career],” she says. “Art is really for me. It may not be what I studied, but it’s what I do.”
You can see more from Isabella Canlas on Instagram.
Photos Erwin Canlas
Art Alexandra Lara