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Oh Snaps Kiki

Oh Snaps Kiki is a cross-media team based in Davao City, specializing in layout design, web content development, branding, videography, portrait and event photography. SK caught up with the Creative Director, visual artist and unconventional Ram Botero.

First and foremost, tell us about your role in Oh Snaps Kiki and where did all of this begin?
For formality’s sake I took the creative director position but we don’t really have assigned posts—we are all creative directors, photographers, lay-out artists, visionaries, dreamers, neurotics, etc. We each have our niches though, tweaking with the camera isn’t my strongest suit but I learn from Arian and Catherine and I hope they also learn from my aesthetics (laughs). Oh Snaps Kiki was fashioned out of vanity from three eccentrics that want to give their alternative idea of beauty. And as much as I wanted to discuss our journey as a budding creative firm, I just couldn’t find the words so let me borrow Kahlil Gibran’s, “Among all vanities of life, there is only one thing that the spirit loves and craves. One thing dazzling and alone ... It is an awakening in the spirit; it is an awakening in the inner depths of the heart; it is an overwhelming and magnificent power that descends suddenly upon man's conscience and opens his eyes, whereupon he sees Life amid a dizzying shower of brilliant music, surrounded by a circle of great light, with man standing as a pillar of beauty between the earth and the firmament. It is a flame that suddenly rages within the spirit and sears and purifies the heart, ascending above the earth and hovering in the spacious sky.

I've noticed the dramatic composition of everything in the website/blog. You and your creatives Catherine and Arian work together as a team, how does this relationship work when it comes to designing or taking photographs?
Principally it was Arian who took photography seriously and self-studied, Catherine followed his lead. Arian put up a Facebook page and called it Oh Snaps Kik (Kiki originally came from Latin-American gay lingo as an onomatopoeia for laughter) and Catherine and I became his portable muses. Arian has a Creative Writing degree and his splendid photographs are like visual poetry and the mesmerizing compositions are reflective of being a marvelous storyteller. Among the three of us, Catherine is more pragmatic and level-headed and she is our voice of reason. Catherine majored in Media Arts and works as a layout-artist and as a brand consultant. She understands the tricks of the trade and she anchors us whenever we become too wistful. Nevertheless Catherine makes creativity a priority and her style is as flamboyant as the rest of the Kikis. I, on the other hand, am the genius. Of course I’m kidding. I want romance, I want substance, I want magic, I want allure, I want grandeur and I sprinkle every bit of them in our creative outputs. I’ve mentioned that we advocate an alternative idea of beauty; this is because we see the hegemonic thought quite distorted. As a transgender, a Filipino, a literary, a daughter, a woman, a friend, a radical, a day-dreamer we would like to present beauty in its various faces. They say too many cooks spoil the broth but not in our case. The Kikis understand that we each have our nuances. Although sometimes we could be very uncompromising, especially with our differing aesthetics, we know that we are oceans pulled together by one moon. 

What's your point of view on the internet showcasing undiscovered artistic talents?
I’m very grateful. The mainstream media is very biased and limiting while the internet gives us a wider playing field. When we started, like I mentioned, it was just out of vanity yet people seem to appreciate what we are doing; aside from discovering promising artists the internet also helps artists to find the right audience that understands what they are doing. Of course we are luckier than Van Gogh, to live in a time where we are somehow free to express ourselves and to have a niche where we could blossom. 

If I could change the world...
We could have a discourse on class struggle, on the struggle of man against power and on the struggle for equality but I am not the right person for this. I have yet to be at peace with myself and then I can tell you about changing the world.

Readers can find more about The Kikis here.

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