Arabelle Samaniego also known as her nickname “Belle” is a Filipino-Canadian artist who currently resides in Mississauga. Arabelle is a core team member of Crane Creations Theatre Company.
Born in the Philippines, Belle and her family immigrated to Canada when she was just nine years old. In Belle’s family, she has her mother and father, two older brothers, and a dog named Taco who she loves very much. Taco is a mix of 3 breeds: French Bulldog, Pug, and Mini Pinscher. And of course, the reason behind her dog’s name is after a popular Mexican fast-food chain “Taco Bell”!
Belle is interested in the visual arts as an artist herself who has created numerous oil, acrylic, and watercolour paintings, digital illustrations done with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, and drawings done in both traditional and digital media. She loves gifting her friends, families, and colleagues paintings and other artworks made out of clay, as gifts because it is a way of sharing her art and a further motivation for her to ultimately create art and clear her artist block.
Belle completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts at the University of Toronto Mississauga where she double majored in Art & Art History and CCIT (Communication, Culture, Information & Technology) which is a joint program with Sheridan College, completing an Advanced Diploma for Sheridan as well as a Digital Communications certificate. Belle graduated with High Distinction and earned a place on the Dean’s List for the graduating class of Spring 2021.
Initially, Belle was accepted to University of Toronto Mississauga for its Life Science program but decided very quickly that her heart was in the arts. With the approval and support of her parents, she followed her dream into pursuing an education in the visual arts. She was happy in her new program because not only was she studying art history and theories through intensive lectures, she also had the creative freedom in practicing her own art in Sheridan’s studio classes, where she explored different mediums of art such as: printmaking, sculpting in wood, wax, and cardboard; but as well as specializing in her skills in graphic design and painting.
Belle has worked as a Venue & Operations Supervisor for Lighthouse ArtSpace where she ensures the front of house operations are going smoothly, supervising her gallery attendants, and opening/closing the venue. Lighthouse ArtSpace is the company that has presented the world-famous Immersive van Gogh and now, Disney Animation: the Immersive Experience! Belle loves working for art galleries and exhibits as it gives her a chance to share her love and passion for art, especially as a van Gogh and Disney fanatic! Belle is a hard-working person who has worked at the Peel Art Gallery, Museum, and Archives, also known as “PAMA” as a Visitor Service Guide who gives tours to her visitors about the current art exhibits in the museum, as well as giving detailed information about the historical gem of the Courthouse that now serves as a tourist attraction!
Belle has also worked as a Social Media and Content Creator for ÀLA.HAUSSE where she used WordPress and Medium to write, edit, and publish blogs about fashion sustainability, as well as create graphics and designs to post for social media platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
Who Is Arabelle Samaniego. An Interview with Belle.
Where did you grow up? What was your childhood like?
I am from Metro-Manila, Philippines. My hometown in the Philippines is in Marikina which is a suburb of Manila. My favourite thing about it is the fact that I can relive my childhood memories just by visiting it. I miss the Filipino culture, the food, and of course, my cousins, grandparents, and extended family. Every time I visit the Philippines for vacation, I make sure I travel to a famous tourist destination as well to further indulge myself in the culture and travels I missed if I didn’t immigrate to Canada. In the four times I have flown back to the homeland, I have visited Palawan, Bohol, and Boracay. I highly recommend going to the beaches in the Philippines because going on vacation there is very affordable and worth every peso!
What is your favourite book(s) and why?
My favourite books are the Harry Potter series. I grew up watching the Harry Potter movies as a kid because my older brothers were also very obsessed with it. When I was 11, my family and I took a trip to the World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Florida where I was able to immerse myself in the magic and really feel like I was going to Hogwarts as an 11-year-old young wizard enrolling to Hogwarts for their first year. I then started to read the books around that age. And once in a while, I find myself gravitating towards rewatching the first two movies (Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets) as it has always been my comfort movies.
What Are Your Hobbies?
Currently, I find myself enjoying doing my own nails at home as a hobby. I am still learning how to create beautiful nail extensions using polygel and UV light. With the help of my close friend who does her own nails as well, I have purchased a kit from Amazon so I can start learning how to do them myself and skip the overcharging of professional nail salons. Besides, I find the process enjoyable because I have complete creative freedom to how long I want the nails, the shape, and the funky nail designs I challenge myself with especially when it comes to matching my left hand to my right hand. I love finding nail inspiration pictures from Instagram, Tiktok, and Pinterest which are the social media platforms I enjoy browsing in my free time as well.
While waiting for the UV light to cure the gel nails, I find it enjoyable and therapeutic to watch a Netflix show in the meantime. It also gives me satisfaction to see the end result of my nails at the end of it, sort of like an artwork that I have put many hours into. I suppose that is the reason why I love doing my nails, is because it’s like making art but on very tiny canvases on my nails, for others to see. It serves as a great form of self-expression as well.
What is your favourite food to eat?
My favourite food to eat would be Korean BBQ! You see, it’s like a ritual. There is a certain order that the meats, seafood, and other appetizers would be grilled and cooked, the men of my friend group would be cookin’ up on the grill, the women would organize the table, put the empty dishes to the side, and then there’s me! A pair of chopsticks in hand, an empty plate, a grumbling stomach, and a determined hungry look in my eyes, waiting to be served!
We are a company that speaks many different languages. What Language(s) Do you speak?
Tagalog or Filipino is my first language, and English being my second language that I have learned. I am fluent in both.
If you could travel anywhere in the world where would your travel and why?
I would travel to Salzburg which is a city in Austria. I have always wanted to travel there to see all the places the Sound of Music was filmed at 50+ years ago. The Sound of Music is my favourite musical and I love rewatching the movie as it is a part of my childhood. At a very young age of about 4 or 5 years old, I even remember learning on my own how to play “Do Re Mi” on the piano, just by ear!
Is there a skill you have always wanted to learn?
I have always wanted to expand my skills and knowledge on animation. Whether that’s 2D, 3D, stop-motion, etc. During my university years, my absolute favourite class was Animation where I learned the basics of Adobe Animate, from making a ball bounce, to making a 1-minute short film called “Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?” which features my two older brothers voicing the guy and the chicken. I even got a 100% on this animation, making it my only university project to ever achieve a perfect score, and that class was the highest grade I got! I was really happy!
I have always loved the craft of animation because of my love for animated films that I grew up with. I love Disney Pixar movies and admired how they are able to replicate real life with the craft. This is the skill I would be honoured to learn more of.
What is one fun fact about yourself?
I have been bleaching and dyeing my hair different shades of orange since June of 2021, on my own. I mean, that’s kind of obvious, seen with my roots growing on my featured picture on the top, look! Until I had to dye my hair back to a natural brunette for a wedding, I of course went back to my signature orange!