Qatar-based Filipino artist recalls painting anime backgrounds for Billie Eilish’s ‘My Future’

Genesis Magat during the process of creating backgrounds for the official music video of

Genesis Magat during the process of creating backgrounds for the official music video of “My Future” by Billie Eilish.

Doha: Step into the world of anime-like places created by Genesis Magat, a Filipino artist based in Qatar! In striking colors and vivid details, Genesis paints landscapes and backgrounds encapsulating the whole feel of an anime world.

What was simply a hobby and a reprieve from life’s daily demands, painting anime backgrounds, led to one of the biggest turning points in his life.

Genesis Magat is among the artists who made the backgrounds for the official music video of “My Future”, the lead track from Billie Eilish’s second studio album, “Happier Than Ever”. Almost all of the backgrounds which appeared in the music video animation were made by him, such as the background in the well-known scene of Billie gazing at the moonlight.

A screengrab from the music video, “My Future” by Billie Eilish, shows background made by Genesis Magat.

The hit single and video reached the two-year mark on July 30 and has garnered over 100 million views on YouTube. To date, new comments are still pouring in as listeners praise the music and appreciate the animation.

Recalling his first impression of the project, he said: “One day, this director from Australia dropped me a message asking if I wanted to work on a project.”

“When I discovered what it was for, I was surprised and quickly signed the non-disclosure agreement. My jaw dropped when I found out it was for Billie Eilish. It was an excellent opportunity to work with different artists from other places,” he added.

Genesis Magat is originally from Laguna, a province in the Philippines. He’s been residing in Qatar with his family since 2003. When it comes to creating artworks and sharing them online, he goes by the name “Anime Background Junkie”.

His interest in painting anime backgrounds started in 2004 when he was captivated by the quality of background paintings from the films of Hayao Miyazaki such as “Spirited Away” and “My Neighbor Totoro.”

From then on, he strived to make his pieces in a Studio Ghibli-esque way.

Studio Ghibli is a Japanese animation film studio in Tokyo which is best known for its high-quality filmmaking and artistry. His popular works include some of Japan’s top-grossing movies including the Oscar winner “Spirited Away”, “Howl’s Moving Castle”, and “Princess Mononoke”.

Genesis also launched his own YouTube channel due to high inquiries about his painting process. “Most of the uploaded videos teach what tools are needed to achieve the Ghibli look and feel,” he said.

Speaking it The Peninsula about his creative process, the Filipino artist revealed that he starts by taking photos of places he has been to and using them as a reference. On average, a landscape artwork would take him 6 to 8 hours to complete. His most extended one by far was an artwork that he started in August last year and finished in April this year.

Although the places in his paintings may seem like stepping into the fictional world of anime, his works on Philippine ancestral homes hold greater meaning. As modern architecture further takes root in his country, Genesis wishes to preserve the fading heritage homes through his paintings.

“The only thing I can contribute to keeping the culture alive is to draw the houses that were destroyed in their original form,” he said.

A painting inspired by ancestral houses in the Philippines

He also aspires to do the same for traditional houses in Qatar as he is currently doing research for references to use.

Looking back now, the Filipino artist revealed that he has learned so much since his collaborative work in Billie Eilish’s music video for “My Future”.

He said: “I learned to improve on my paintings. If I feel I will have difficulty accomplishing it, I accept it more as a challenge.”

“No matter how intricate the illustration is, no matter how long it takes, when I finish it, I’ll look at the whole picture and ask myself, did I do this?” he added.

Genesis also advised the same for beginners: “It’s important to draw what comes to your imagination! Polish your talent, read books, and try to notice everything around you for inspiration.”

An illustration of an old window in Qatar.

Talking about ‘his future’ this time, Genesis Magat took on a self-project to complete an animation he had previously submitted to the Philippines Cultural Center in August last year, which was unfortunately not selected.

“…the work I had to do to prepare for this project, such as script, storyboard, and character sheets, was not in vain, as I will continue this as a personal project,” he said.

In the process of doing so, Genesis is also looking forward to illustrating Qatar’s old homes.


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