Jeepneys aka Anna Luisa Petrisko is a multifaceted Filipino artist from California. Her music mixes bumping beats in a new age rhythmic sounds that will take you on a journey to another world.
June 5, 2014 | The Future | Print #3
THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN OUR 3RD PRINT ISSUE, THE FUTURE. TO PURCHASE A COPY, CLICK HERE.
Judith: I love the name and the story behind Jeepneys. Is it something that encompasses your vision for your art or represents you as a person?
Anna: Jeepneys embodies the beauty and power of transformation. In a postwar, postcolonial environment, enterprising Filipinos made jeepneys out of abandoned U.S. Army jeeps, recontextualizing them into the most salient cultural icon of the Philippines. The Western world’s trash is the rest of the world’s treasure. Literally, I began making music as Jeepneys using only discarded instruments. Not only does my artistic practice involve alchemy, reclamation, healing, and cultural explosion, just like real jeepneys, but it was also the family business of my Mother’s parents. The connection runs deep!
Your videos are visually striking and when I first watched them I felt that I needed to take some time to let it all soak in. Where do you find inspiration for your music videos?
The universe is made up of vibration… If you listen deeply enough, stories will emerge from the music… The visual character of these stories will just explode into a form that eventually can be captured. All you have to do is listen with an open heart and imagination, close your eyes and watch the phosphenes become animated. The rest is just technical stuff that you figure out as you go.
As a person of color I understand the role that cultural/racial experience plays in shaping our views. How much do you think your background influences your work?
Thank-you for asking this question! How can we separate our work from our culture? Your art, your culture, your ancestral memory, your creativity, your intuition are all completely linked. Because of the dehumanizing effects of imperialism, many of our cultural connections have been seemingly lost, but they are in our blood. Your heart cannot pump without these influences so how could you make music?
This is a generic but important question: what are your favorite music and visual artists?
I shudder to imagine a world without Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Diamanda Galas, Yayoi Kusama and so many more artists who don’t just break boundaries, they create their own universe. But at the end of the day, I am mostly inspired by the artists around me. I am honored to have brilliant teachers that are literally jazz legends, India Cooke and Wadada Leo Smith. I have mad respect for the elders, just being in the same room as them can be so inspiring…
What is the creative process behind your sound?
It usually begins with a beat. Then I dance with it… stretch my body and voice. Usually the synths and basslines come last. In terms of beatmaking, I recently switched from hardware to software. I am a visual learner so it helps me to be able to see what I am doing in a computer program. I have a vintage analog synthesizer which I use on pretty much everything…
You have great personal style, how did you form your look?
Thank-you! My style is a kaleidoscope of patterns and colors. My clothes feel like the tropical sun wrapped in indigenous patterns of my ancestors, put inside of a time machine to the future then dropped down somewhere in the past. There are no rules when it comes to style, and if anybody tells you differently, tell them to get over it! Sometimes I pass by a mirror and think, who is that clown?
What sparked your interest in art?
Art is an incredibly powerful tool for healing. It can change the world. I have always been an artist… but I lacked confidence in it, I was afraid to call myself an artist for a long time… I have an urge to create and to touch people’s hearts and the best way that I can do this is through art. I was chosen for this path, I believe in the divinity of it.
Is there anything you’d like to try in the future?
Definitely! Learning is the best intoxication. I would love to approach set design, construction, and different methods of sculpture to broaden my capability for creating visual worlds.
What is your typical day like?
I am in graduate school studying experimental sound practices at an art institution… So it’s anything but typical… I study, play, work, improvise, run around, and learn… Fresh air and fresh food is important to me as is some form of exercise or meditation such as tai chi, yoga, or hiking. As often as possible I go to nature or swim in the ocean.
Where do you see your art in five years?
Everyday I offer my art to the universe and I cannot imagine that that would ever change in five years or 500 years. I can say that I’ll be using more extraterrestrial technology, as in the future, more will become available.
Photo courtesy David Park.
Judith Jones is a full time student and part time artist. She is a political science major minoring in women’s studies at Agnes Scott College. When she isn’t writing she dabbles in DIY projects, painting or blogging at her confused style blog, Simple But Chic.