Hi! Lovely to meet you.
I’m Mia, the artist behind Likhain. I’m a queer Filipina artist who works in traditional media: ink, watercolor, gouache, and all sorts of other lovely water media. I am most comfortable on paper, but from time to time I explore canvas, wood, board, and other interesting surfaces. I moved from the Philippines to Australia for True Love and now live in regional Australia with my partner, our two Pomeranians, and our princess cat. I create art full-time and delight in bringing fantastic, surreal ideas to visible life.
Much of my art is characterized by detailed linework and vibrant color. I want details that mesmerize the eye and invite the viewer to linger and discover hidden treasures; I want color that leaps off paper, that makes people’s hearts sing.
I find a great deal of joy in helping bring stories to intense life; I am very passionate about lifting up marginalized voices and the power of art as celebration, defiance, revolution. As a calligrapher, I work with a particular focus on baybayin, a writing system indigenous to the Philippines. As an illustrator, I want to use my craft to tell visual stories of people living in the margins, away from centers of power; I’ll quote my Patreon here:
I believe that art speaks most truthfully when it’s born in blood. To me, this means art that arises out of my struggle to reclaim my heritage, my history, and my present from the ashes of a colonial past and the continuing forces that would seek to shackle me. This means art that speaks of what it is to belong to the margins, to live in that place apart from the center that many would call wilderness; that speaks of the life of women, in all our strength and patience and adamantine resolve, and of the life of queer people, in all the raw beauty and pain of our loves and desires. This means art born in split tongues and lives halved by oceans; this means art born in all the jagged clarity of hope. This means art that burns bright even poised on the brink of annihilation. This means color, and life, and continuance even in a world that would deny it the smallest chance of existence.
I think this kind of art can be a form of defiance against oppression — as is joy, as is survival. I do art in the spirit of this defiant joy; I do art as a song sung in anger and hope and love and solidarity with the constant strivings of the underrepresented, the marginalized, the disenfranchised. I believe as we reclaim our art and our culture we will have more capacity to move forward. That looking back into the past helps us to look to the future with more freedom, so that we may learn, ever more, where we came from and who we are– and choose who we want to be.
My work encompasses large paintings clients have commissioned to hang in their homes and offices, as well as smaller pieces as gifts and mementos; illustrations for publications such as Lackington’s Magazine, Editions Jentayu, and the fantastical anthology An Alphabet of Embers; and accompanying artwork and covers for stories, novels, and collections such as for Crawford Award-winner Zen Cho’s ebook version of her award-winning collection Spirits Abroad. My complete portfolio is up at Artstation, or you can take a look through my posts on this site as well.
If you’d like to get in touch, please do send me a message via my Contact form, or directly via email at mia at likhain dot net. Interested in supporting my work and/or commissioning artwork? Please head on over to my commissions page, or perhaps check out my Patreon; your support of my art enables me to create more art and continue to grow as a creator.