Give us a short introduction. Who are you, where did you go to school, what do you do?
I'm Mark Gosingtian. I went to Xavier School until high school and graduated with a BFA majoring in Information Design from Ateneo de Manila University. Right now, I'm currently doing freelance graphic design.
Have you been interested in graphic design since you were young?
I used to doodle a lot as a kid, but it was only in high school where I began to be interested in graphic design. I was a member of our official school paper and did layouts and illustrations for them. What I ultimately liked about it is being able to have a certain extent of freedom, expressing your creativity in your work, and giving creative solutions to a problem. I'm certainly not the best at it, but I still try to improve.
Where were you when Typhoon Ondoy struck? How did affect you, your family, friends, and those close to you?
I was safe at home. I didn't actually realize how strong it was until people started telling me that they had friends on the roofs of their houses, or that people couldn't be contacted through their mobile phones. I had a lot of good friends who were in the affected areas, and it made me worry a lot. My family was in a state of panic, but realized that we couldn't actually do much to help at that time.
What inspired you to create the image "Where I'm from, everyone's a hero?" Did you ever think it would reach so many people—some even using your image as their avatars in various social networking sites?
I was inspired to create this image a few days after I volunteered in Ateneo. I saw that there were a lot of people who were there, given the urgency of the situation and the small amount of time they were given to respond. It's actually quite moving to see the people who really go out of their way to be able to spend time and help areas that were affected by the typhoon.
I never expected for this to be received as well as it was. I was really surprised and overwhelmed—people I didn't know started using the image as profile pictures, and I was suddenly getting followed on Twitter and Tumblr by a lot of people. I realized that this can become an opportunity to reach more people.
What do you wish to achieve with your design and now, the shirts?
I think people saw this design as a message of hope—of seeing this incident through a positive light. I hope that when people see the message, they will be uplifted because I think it's safe to say that the calamity left us all in a very unfavorable state. I'm currently producing and selling shirts with the same message; part of the proceeds of shirt sales will go to the typhoon relief efforts (Red Cross).
Are you planning to continue this effort even after the Typhoon Ondoy and Typhoon Pepeng victims finally get back on their feet? Will there be more designs? More slogans?
Yup! Please follow me on my Tumblr for information on my future projects. :)
What is your message to Candy Girls reading this and are hoping to make a difference like you?
I believe that we don't have to go out of our way to make a difference. Even small things, when added up will create something awesome—small donations or some time spent to volunteer and reach out can go a long way. Everyone is a hero in their own small way. :)