When did you finally say that you’ve been there and have done that?
We all pass through a stage of curiosity in our journey to teenage life. We were intrigued how people enjoyed bitter taste of liquor when we were drawn to sweets during our childhood. We fancied on the idea of blowing smoke from our mouth and nose. Spending all our nights losing ourselves to the heart-thumping music in clubs and bars fascinates us. Some would want to know how “high” actually feels, give in to earthly pleasures. At some point in our lives, we went through a phase where we want to live like we don’t care. Just because, #YOLO or You Only Live Once.
We do it all to satisfy that curiosity or prove something to ourselves. We either acquire a new vice; we deter, or become mature and grow up.
That was the goal Juliana Hellmuth, a multimedia artist and digital nomad, achieved before she turned 21. And the snippets of the nuances following her exploration she creatively sketched into her zine, Hellgirl’s Heyday of Hedonism.
Born in Emden, Germany to Filipino parents (her mother is from Panabo City), the fashion design and merchandising graduate has lived in Davao City since one year old. It was her mother’s decision, for her to not to grow up “liberated” which she partly obeyed.
“My friends used to tease me that I was a virgin,” she openly shared. She said accepted it quite a long time but the thought of remaining at that brought her too much pressure. Until she began to give in, tried everything as if it is her last day. And two weeks before her birthday, she lost her ‘innocence’ to someone.
The guy she was intimate with became her company in almost all her adventures. “It was a hedonistic lifestyle. I drank and got wasted many times, partied hard, smoked, had multiple affairs,” she said. “And on December 2017, I said, ‘Okay, you know what? I have had my fun. I’m done’, so I made a story about it” Thus, it was the heyday of her hedonistic life. As for the Hellgirl: “I am Juliana HELLmuth,” she said laughing. Aside from that, the title could also be viewed as not just a fancy alliteration. “It is a cunning HeHeHe,” she jested.
Her zine, which production began in 2017, contained four poems accompanied with apt illustrations in black and white ink and were digitally produced. The Sacrificing of the Virgin was self-explanatory. “It was the whole thing that happened,” she chuckled. The Affair described her affair to a guy who is in a relationship, In October, she channelled her heartbreak after being left literally by someone she chose and went back to his home country while Pangungulila tells about her empty feeling despite having someone to share a bed.
As for the drawings, it was a deviation from her signature artworks which were done in watercolor on paper with bright pastel palettes, the type of color she ironically detests. She said her zine is unique in every batch of printing. She usually spends about 12 hours working on it, from sketching, digital processing until printing. Printing only happens when there are art events where she could sell it such as annually-mounted Graphicon or Better Living through Xeroxography (BLTX) being active in Davao’s local art scene. However, it already reached as far as Manila and Cebu.
Through her art, she bared her adventures and misadventures, making her life an open book, or zine in this case. It was her therapy. “And perhaps, there will be more stories to tell. Perhaps, I will finally fall in love and would still live to write about it,” she wrote, capping the pages.