Artist Spotlight: Cecelia Linayao finds her voice through chalk art

Filipino artist makes a name for herself

Lexy Perez, Arts & Entertainment Editor


Successful Filipina street artist Cecelia Linayao uses her work as a creative outlet and freedom of expression. Growing up with a shy demeanor, Linayao always believed that art is a magical process that could give her the opportunity to share her voice and perspective with the world.

“From the beginning, marks on paper struck me as magic,” said Linayao, “That magical process has led me from crayons to oils, acrylics and mixed media.”

Having a love for drawing at an early age, Linayao would grow to be equipped in many forms of art. While she finds all forms of art beautiful in their own way, she finds great passion in street painting, also known as chalk art.

“It is also temporary art. It will be washed away. Here’s where it gets very zen: staying in the moment, working hard, enjoying the experience, learning from it and then… letting go—it freaks people out, but for me it is very freeing,” said Linayao.

Finding inspiration everywhere, Linayao enjoys using her art to portray global themes, such as peace or the environment. A message Linayao finds great significance in is the idea of avoiding labeling one based on their ethnicity.

Growing up with a Filipino background, Linayao acknowledges that her culture is underrepresented.

“I would like to see more APIs in the public eye doing great things. It always makes me feel so proud,” said Linayao, “I hope that students inside and outside of API culture take the initiative and find out about the history that makes this culture unique. The API culture is a living thing. There is so much history that people do not know of and with every succeeding generation, the culture evolves. Without that awareness and education, all of us are ignorant,” said Linayao.

Although she is proud of her heritage, Linayao said that she hopes society can admire people for their work, rather than what descent they are.

“Maybe there will come a time when someone’s ethnicity is not the first thing that describes them, but till that time, if it inspires another API to achieve, an API child to dream or other people to recognize an API, then so be it.”

While cultural awareness is important, Linayao said that she hopes that many find greater importance with what lies within, rather than their exterior.

“I hope that students today are more open and accepting, that they look beyond the outside skin color and eye shapes to connect with the person inside,” Linayao said.

Linayao has had her work featured in a myriad of Chalk Art Festivals, recently participated in the Bad As* Women art exhibit and had the distinct honor of being the 2016 featured artist at the acclaimed Madonnari Street Painting Festival in Santa Barbara, California.

Despite her achievements, she doesn’t believe that art should necessarily revolve around the glitz and glamour of titles, but rather be a way of projecting one’s voice, something she once felt she couldn’t do due to her shy nature.

“I am shy and introverted by nature and upbringing. I was taught that to put yourself forward is rude and bad­-mannered. That is home, where you take your shoes off before entering and don’t upset anyone. Out in the world, you keep your shoes on and learn to speak up,” said Linayao.

To her, art is a way to be free.

“With art, I can express an opinion, communicate a message and articulate an issue without feeling that I am imposing,” said Linayao, “The audience is free to walk away or stay and discuss it. And just maybe the seed of another viewpoint has been planted.”

To learn more about Linayao, visit her website,