Some artworks and products from Ilusyon's online store, @ilusyonplwn.

Any artistically-inclined young person will tell you more or less the same thing about how their elders have expressed concern for their financial futures.

“Walang pera diyan sa pagdo-drawing mo.”

“Kumuha ka na lang ng course na in demand.”

“Ok lang mag-art art ka, pero kumuha ka pa rin ng totoong trabaho.”

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As if making art wasn’t hard enough, having to pursue and maintain a creative life, especially during this uncertain period of human history, can be a challenge. And it isn’t any easier when you’re young and need to support yourself and your creative pursuits.

This is why a group of childhood friends, all still in their college years, came together to form Ilusyon – a business for Palawan artists to turn their masterpieces into products such as tote bags, stickers, t-shirts, and art prints.

According to one of the founders, Cleo Pasco, her love for the local art scene inspired her to create a platform so the artists could monetize their work.

“Ilusyon started from my love for art, especially by local artists particularly here in Palawan (as of now) since we still can’t go on full time with this project,” she said.

“Knowing plenty of artists here in Palawan are incapable of having funds to produce or showcase their works gave me the idea to create a platform for everyone. All styles of art is accepted, the main goal is every artist needs to have their own personal and unique style,” she added.

Cleo is joined by her three friends – Jamikka Distal, Brieshinelle Gripon, and John Michael Mones – running Ilusyon from their residences. Jamikka, John Michael, and Cleo are all students at Holy Trinity University, while Brieshinelle is studying Medical Technology at the Far Eastern University. All four of them have been friends since elementary school.

According to Cleo, Ilusyon has a total of nine artists on contract – two of whom are already working professionals, while the rest are still students. 30% of the sale of an item goes to the artist, and 70% goes to Ilusyon for production.

Running a business while studying isn’t easy, according to Cleo. They still find it challenging to balance their commitments to their artists and their customers.

“Hectic schedules and requirements from school are big factors that causes our delays for new designs. We can’t always give excuses, as much as possible we deliver what we are promoting on time. Items/designs take 2-3 days to be finished. Everything is explained before we take orders. We ask for time allowance to avoid conflict,” said Cleo.

You can order artwork and other products on Ilusyon’s Instagram profile, @ilusyonplwn.

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is a senior reporter for Palawan News who covers politics, education, environment, tourism, and human interest stories. She loves watching Netflix, reading literary fiction, and listens to serial fiction podcasts. Her favorite color is blue.