Rainy season in Manila can be a difficult time, but combine that with an endless rush hour and you have every excuse to go full emo. A young Makati-raised artist named Sabadontt is capturing all the feels of these dreaded, water-logged days in a series of pixel art animations. Commuters stuffed in leaky stairwells waiting for an MRT that threatens to never show up. A student trying to hide under her umbrella pauses on an overpass, gazing off in existential crisis. Locals start to shed the day’s struggle in a communal break at the carinderia.
At a fresh 17 years of age, our youthful hero immortalizes the daily battles of our everyman in loving Game Boy renderings. There’s a nostalgic feel to the creations, a romanticized recreation that almost makes a viewer pine for those maddening days. Almost. Watching the animations is like enjoying a downpour from the dry warmth of home, being able to appreciate the soothing sound of the rain and cool colors of a cloudy sky only because you’re safely sheltered from it.
Sabadontt was drawing when he was still in the single digits, but after being gifted a tablet last year, a new digital world of possibilities opened up to his elastic mind. And it was pixel art from Singapore and Japan that inspired him. “I wanted to depict daily Filipino life and showcase my own country,” he tells us. So he pulled up the new school of Youtube tutorials and spelunked the depths of forums to figure out just how he might do that. The result, so far, is what you see here.
He’s also a stan of Kiyo, the burgeoning Filipino artist making love songs in rap and R&B. With each new viral upload, Sabadontt would create fan art until finally his object of affection hired him to create some artwork officially. Lo-fi study beats are another favorite our young student, and he’s fond of uploading his animations to Youtube soundtracked by these low key tracks. The sound is a perfect fit for his 8-bit, rainy day scenery.