‘Art is my lifeline’: Artist-entrepreneur graduates magna cum laude from PUP
MANILA, Philippines — The 23-year-old artist behind the “HandMark” arts and crafts store in Aurora province shared his inspiring “art venture” on how his passion for art helped him graduate magna cum laude from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) main campus in Sta. Mesa, Manila.
Last Sept. 26, Mark Ancheta penned on Facebook his heartfelt gratitude to the people who supported his small business venture, stating that their continued support fueled his college journey to earn his bachelor’s degree finally.
“Ganito kalayo ang mararating ng inyong suporta sa katulad kong local artist,” he wrote in his lengthy post.
(Your support can go a long way for local artists like me.)
Ancheta stated that arts and crafts had always held a special place in his heart, even before he set foot on PUP. He emphasized that it served as an integral part of his life, acting as his lifeline to persist in facing the odds and challenges he encountered.
Colorful journey with HandMark
His art journey blossomed when he established HandMark in May 2021, where he began creating and selling handmade accessories and souvenirs to help him finance his studies.
Ancheta shared with the Inquirer that he juggled his studies and business as both were important. However, he expressed that his journey was challenging, as his products are all delicately handmade.
“Personal kong ginagawa lahat ng products ko. Gusto ko kasi na wala akong katulad—yung kay HandMark mo lang mabibili. Minsan napipilitan akong magpuyat para makapaggawa ng maibebenta [at] nagkakasakit dahil dun,” Ancheta said.
(I create all my products myself. I wanted to be unique—these products can only be bought from HandMark. Sometimes, I had to stay up late to make some items to sell, leaving me to fall ill.)
Despite his struggles as a working student, he noted that it was a fulfilling feat because HandMark has received lots of love and support from the people he is close to and the cherished patrons of his products.
He shared that it was not hard to introduce HandMark to the masses, revealing that his business even became a hit in 2022.
His remarkable handmade products include resin coasters, keychains, digital portraits, tribe necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, marketed online and home-based. He added that he sometimes would set up a stall on the street or participate in bazaars to sell his goods.
As he recounted how far HandMark had come, Ancheta extended his support and advice to fellow artists and working students like him.
“Mahirap pagsabayin ‘yung dalawang magkaibang bagay pero as long as alam mo kung para saan ‘yun [at] bakit mo ginagawa ‘yun, kakayanin at kakayanin mo. Mahalin mo ‘yung art mo para mas madali [rin itong mahalin ng iba],” Ancheta expressed.
(It’s hard to juggle two different things, but as long as you know what it’s for and why you’re doing it, you will eventually overcome it. Love your art so that it’s easier for others to love it, too.)
Ancheta earned a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism during the Philippine International Convention Center graduation ceremony on Sept. 26.
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