Graphic designer by day, and a rubber cut artist by night, Dom Ochotorena has begun to carve his name into the craft industry one stamp at a time!
“My first rubber stamp, if I’m not mistaken, was a Santa Claus! And I uploaded it online as a Christmas Instagram post,” Dom shared when I got to talk to him over the net for a quick little interview. I was so glad to hear from him from miles away in the middle of Dubai’s cold winter night. Dom had recently left his packaging design job in a multinational company in the Philippines, for a graphic design position out of his home country. Even then he would juggle his passion project of creating stamps after work in the wee hours of the night.
“Rubber cutting is my passion. Imagine being in front of the computer the whole day (though I love designing also). Rubber cutting was always my escape to the hustle and pressure of designing packaging and other merchandise for the company,” he further shared. This Fine Arts majoring in Advertising graduate knew design would be his career path, but never really thought that his rubber-cutting hobby could be one as well!
“Rubber cutting as an art is simple yet complicated, like all other art forms. It is simple because everybody can do it. You don’t have to be a Fine Arts graduate to make your own stamp masterpiece; you just need your innate imaginative skills to sketch and etch. It only becomes a little complicated because there are different processes and etching tools.”
When Dom started rubber cutting, he didn’t see any one else doing it. For him, inspiration to pursue it was hard to find. But it somehow also played in his favor. He would post his work, get recognized for his unique craft, and later on get commissions from clients. “After a year of doing stamps, I never thought of having my own workshops or that I’d get to collaborate with clients,” he shared. Lo and behold, several stamps later, he was able to catch the eye of big brands like Moleskin, newspapers like the Philippine Daily Inquirer, as well as magazines and even television shows.
“When it started, it was just out of pure hobby and passion. I never thought that I could earn from it or that people would like it,” he said. But now, Dom can proudly say that his unpopular and underrated art form is one that many dare to try.
When I asked Dom about his creative process, he said that he’d usually work on a stamp for 30 minutes or less. Imagine that! He’d dedicate 10 PM to 2 AM just sketching and etching away. It seems as though he has definitely mastered juggling his double life. Why choose one career when you can do both, right?
“To all rubber cut stamp enthusiast: Keep on doing stamps. If rubber cutting makes you happy continue to make and love that art. You don’t have to be an art student or an art graduate to make an awesome rubber cut pieces, you just have to be creative. Just explore and enjoy the process!”
Curious about the craft? See more of Dom’s work on his Instagram and kickstart that rubber cutting hobby!