Meet André Manguba, the Self-Taught Filipino Food Artist


Meet André Manguba, the Self-Taught Artist Shaping Manila’s Food Art Scene

At age four, Filipino artist André Manguba already knew he wanted to make art for the rest of his life. “Art has always been my passion since I was a kid, and I'm glad I realized that at a young age,” he told The Beat Asia. This multifaceted virtuoso is no stranger to the limelight as his artworks depicting pop culture, particularly his food art creations, have appeared in several local and international media outlets including ABS-CBN, Candy Magazine, HISTORY Asia, and Teen Vogue.

On a dusky Friday night in July, The Beat Asia spoke with André to discuss his influences, his art styles, and how the food industry opened doors for his art career.

Who is André Manguba

Currently residing in the heart of Manila, André is a 23-year-old student-artist taking up multimedia arts at De La Salle – College of St. Benilde. His memory of art goes back to 2003 when then four-year-old André illustrated realistic-looking portraits of each of his family members on a blank canvas using colored pencils, which ignited his love for the arts. 

Like the typical artsy student, André joined inter-school poster-making competitions in kindergarten to hone his skills. “As a student, art has always been in my system and I brought that even up to now,” he said.

Spiderman Fan Art Andre Manguba

True enough, this young blood took his creative process to the next level by curating mood boards made up of photographs for each of his projects, which he uses as inspiration in crafting an artwork. “I would collect them in my phone or whatever device and from there, I’ll just create,” he said.

Influences and Art Styles

Bright hues and hyperrealism are the elements that center around André's creations. Spanning three art styles such as traditional, digital, and food, his work is heavily influenced by pop culture. “I'm really a fan of musicians and celebrities. Fan art has always been a thing for me. [The subjects of my artworks are] based on personal interests or who’s being talked about,” he said.

Referencing TV series, films, and music, André rose to internet stardom in 2018 when his illustrations portraying the cast of “Riverdale” as Disney characters went viral. His realistic fan art of Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray wearing the Mikimoto Crown, which was made using colored pencils, racked up thousands of likes and comments from his massive following.

André Manguba Food Art

In 2019, he posted a food art made of leftover fries and burgers from Shake Shack and McDonald’s, which depicted Taylor Swift and Katy Perry’s famous reconciliation scene in the “You Need to Calm Down” music video. Of course, it got a thumbs up by no less than the superstar herself, T-Swizzle!

Food Art Journey

André’s foray into the food art scene was nothing short of an accident. When he was interning for a pasta startup a few years back, he was originally tapped to only oversee and manage the social media accounts of the company. 

One day, while they were brainstorming for an upcoming project, his higher-ups swiftly asked him to merge his artistic abilities with their pasta product. “I was like... How? Because it’s pasta and nobody was doing it at that time, or at least, in the Philippines,” he told The Beat Asia

Completely oblivious to the fact that his creations would soon explode in popularity, André took the risk of making food artworks even with little knowledge of it.

André Manguba Food Art  Liza Soberano

One might think it’s ambitious to create art using only pasta and ketchup, but André persevered. He combined his love for art and showbiz by creating pasta portraits on ivory-colored plates using the likes of local celebrities such as Pia Wurtzbach, Kathryn Bernardo, Daniel Padilla, Maine Mendoza, and Liza Soberano as his subjects. 

“I risked that art style even if it’s far from what I usually do, which is colored pencils. I posted the food portraits on the social media pages of our company as well as on my personal art account and the reception was great. People liked it!” André said.

His food art paved new beginnings for him, including getting invited to speak in art symposiums and being featured in media organizations here and abroad. Both of which expanded his reach and bolstered his confidence in the art style he didn’t see coming.

Squid Game Food Art Andre Manguba

At present, André continuously beefs up his food art styles and techniques by widening his mediums from pasta to desserts and other food ingredients, proving that art isn’t just limited to pencils and crayons. 

“After getting noticed by different news and media outlets, I realized that I could do something with this and that it’s not just going to end with my internship.”

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