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Arts & Culture

This Artist Couple Collaborates In Life And Design

For Kris Abrigo and Soleil Ignacio, the decision to work in the same studio was life changing. Read about how they achieved their cool couple style, and see their new design store collab

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Photography: Habitat

At first glance, artist couple Kris Abrigo’s and Soleil Ignacio’s styles clash: Abrigo’s work is often a mad exposition told through vivid colors and textures set within strict geometric patterns; whereas Ignacio favors a more illustrative approach, with her portraits of women bearing a sense of romantic minimalism. While Abrigo’s bursts of energy often hit the streets on murals here and abroad, Ignacio’s illustrations have graced posh fashion and beauty brands such as Aldo and Tresemme. On the surface, they are polar opposites.

Sa kanya, tasteful. Akin, tasteless,” Abrigo jokingly puts it.

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Abrigo and Ignacio met as Fine Arts students in the University of the Philippines-Diliman. Abrigo says he was initially drawn to Ignacio’s skills. “Yung plataporma ko talaga noon, pag magaling, kinakaibigan ko. Yung group ni Soleil, laging nagpa-practice sa sketchbooks nila. Eventually…” He trails off and flashes a coy smile at Ignacio.


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The two artists have been living together for six out of the eight years since their relationship started. At times, their personalities would clash, as one would expect them to, having seen the disparity between their works. While Abrigo is more of a neat freak—necessitated by the general mess his work creates—Ignacio is a little more laid-back when it comes to organizing her spaces.


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Sa akin kasi, sobrang straight, geometric, angular,” Abrigo elaborates. “Kay Soleil naman, loose, flowy, medyo gestural yung gawa. Kitang-kita yung touch ng artist.” Over time, the two would begin to influence each other’s works. They’d see areas for improvement in their own styles, and learn from their partners’ strengths.


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Medyo na-pressure ako to add some depth and storytelling to my work,” Ignacio explains. “I used to do just portraits of girls; they were just facing the camera, being pretty…More on basic forms of portraiture. Mas may narrative ngayon.”


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When asked how sharing a studio could have such a profound effect on their work, the two agreed on one word: Trust. “Sobrang trust ko na si Soleil na kapag may sinasabi siya, alam ko na she has my best interests in mind,” Abrigo admits.

There’s a natural ease between the two, and it shows in an exclusive collection of both artists’ works in July at Habitat Manila. As part of the Habitat & Design collaborations program, Abrigo and Ignacio have replicated their studio—along with some Habitat furniture additions—at the international décor and lifestyle brand’s Bonifacio Global City store.


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Along with their works—six archival prints by Ignacio and nine paintings plus concrete “pet” sculptures by Abrigo—the couple offers a glimpse of their daily lives at their studio. The shelves are full of their personal belongings and curiosities that hint at their interests. The pair made sure to include their must-haves: an expansive table that gives Ignacio ample room to work with, and a large trash can for Abrigo because, in his own words, “Hindi masyadong environment-friendly ang gawa ko.”


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When asked what additions they’d like to make to the studio purely for the other, Ignacio answers, with a laugh: “Isang wall na panay storage units, kasi andami niya talagang gamit.” Abrigo agrees completely, and gives something a little more personal: “Para kay Soleil? Reading nook. Malaking window na may ledge na medyo naka-enclose siya diyan.” 

Ignacio can only smile at this point. After all, what else does one do when you’re with someone who gets you so clearly?

You can visit Kris Abrigo’s and Soleil Ignacio’s art nook and purchase their original artwork this month of July at the Habitat showroom located at 3/L Abenson, 28th St. and 4th Ave., Bonifacio Global City. For more info, go to their website. 

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