He may be bursting at the seams but beyond the leg holes, Andre Drilon sees dream-like depictions of reality in glitches – if you want to take a peek behind his vision, take a look as he skirts the rules in our November Issue. Capturing the youth’s contradictions in unsuspected flares of light, the rising photographer dabbles with provocative truths that demand to captivate the viewer. “It’s not just the snapshots anymore, but to paint a picture in a controlled manner from my own perspective.” Andre may seem incomplete without his pleats, but he proves to be more than just a pretty picture, and Manila’s forecast reads a gleaming future ahead for this one. “It’s really apparent that I’m being casted as the skirt guy, but I want to develop myself as a photographer and stylist, not just the guy who wears skirts. I want to develop my fashion, photography and creative side. The next step is to transcend this identity.”
Being an all-round creative person, we want to know how it all started for you. What or who were your inspirations that helped shape your passion? What’s it like growing up in a culture that is deeply rich in art?
Andre: So my dad is an artist, and so is my mom. A lot of people don’t really realize this because she’s a news anchor. She may not be a painter or musician, but she’s a writer, and the way she sees the world. Essentially, she’s also a stylist with the way she dresses herself. Because in the journalism world, as an anchor, she has to maintain this pigeon hold identity of a professional female anchor, and it was provocative back then that she had short hair as a woman. It’s hard for her, but she succeeds expressing herself despite these limitations as an anchorwoman. And my mom is also an art collector now, in a sense, she curates our home. I dedicate that to my mom.
We know you’re into vaporwave as well, and it translates with your style and how you process your photos. What gravitated you to this style?
A: I believe we can never escape from what we grew up with; we can only conquer it. I’ve always loved vaporwave out of an ironic twist on consumerism. Rather than directly criticize or worship our manufactured need to consume, vaporwave embraced and satirized it. And this definitely relates to how I feel about gender roles – you can’t escape it, cause we grew up with it. To attempt to be free of them or deny them is futile, and we’re hardwired by society to think this way. And rather than deny them, I conquered them by playing with the rules, not against them. I wear skirts as a boy, and I am feminine as a boy.
More than just a fashion icon, you also dabble with photography. When did this start?
A: Well an important person in my life, who is not part of it anymore, fostered this love. And this person and I developed this aesthetic together and the creative process, and we evolved from pretty pictures to something engaging and captivating. We viewed photography as an art more than a hobby, and as expression more than function.
In terms of art direction, how would you describe your photographs? What do you look for in a photograph?
A: Something provocative, something that’s not immediately appealing but you stare at and it grows on you.
What’s your favorite thing about being a photographer, and what are some challenges you’ve encountered?
A: I never had technical skill when it comes to drawing or painting, and when I was a kid, that was what I dreamed of being. I dreamed of being an animator, but I never reached that far because I didn’t have the technical skill. But with photography – a lot of people, especially me before, we mistakenly assume that it’s just about documenting reality. But now it’s not just the snapshots, but to paint a picture in a controlled manner from my own perspective.