read my CV, Portfolio, Statement, & Catalogue Raisonné

IJWBAA (I Just Wannabe an Artist) aka Paul 'Pao' Hafalla, born in Manila, Philippines, is a visionary creator hailing from Pangasinan. Fuelled by an insatiable hunger for artistic innovation, IJWBAA has forged an uncharted path in the art world, consistently challenging norms and stretching the boundaries of creativity.

Infused with the spirit of Rothko's serene minimalism, the beauty and grace of Venus de Milo and the timeless allure of Giacometti's sculptures, IJWBAA's digital explorations yield strikingly evocative figures. Each creation is a symphony of simplicity, echoing the complexities of human identity and the kaleidoscope of life's journey. Through his work, viewers are not mere spectators but voyagers, embarking on a soul-stirring odyssey through the depths of the human experience.

In the ethereal realm of virtual reality, IJWBAA's solo exhibitions are transformative experiences, transcending the confines of physical space to transport audiences into realms of boundless imagination. From the mesmerizing landscapes of "kizumeizukaka" at OncyberIO, presented by The Flux Review UK in March 2024, to the reverential homage of "Homage to Icons" at OncyberIO, presented by The Arches Project Org UK in December 2023, each showcase is a testament to IJWBAA's unparalleled ability to weave narratives that resonate on a visceral level.

Beyond the confines of solo exhibitions, IJWBAA's work serves as a beacon of creative expression on a global stage. From the poignant messages of "Fight for Kindness" in Italy to the thought-provoking installations at the "Adelaide Festival" in Australia, his art transcends borders, sparking conversations and igniting imaginations.

Despite the accolades, IJWBAA's journey has not been without its challenges. From navigating the complexities of digital art to overcoming rejections, mental/health issues and societal expectations, each obstacle has served as a crucible, forging him into the visionary artist he is today. Yet, it is through these challenges that IJWBAA finds his greatest inspiration, infusing his creations with a depth and authenticity that resonates with audiences worldwide.

Honored as a finalist at ArtsFighters in Milan, Italy, in 2022, and securing 2nd place at the unofficial World Children's Day in Paris, France, IJWBAA's impact extends far beyond the realm of art. His contributions are immortalized in museums and libraries across the globe, with his books finding a permanent home in esteemed institutions such as the National Museum of the Philippines, Museo Reina Sofía Spain, Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (MACM) Canada, Library of Congress USA, British Library UK, Library of Alexandria Egypt, Asia Art Archive Hong Kong, and National Library of the Philippines.

IJWBAA's visionary spirit continues to illuminate the art world, his creations celebrated in publications and press outlets worldwide. As he continues to push the boundaries of creativity, IJWBAA remains a guiding light, inspiring generations to come with his unwavering dedication to the pursuit of artistic excellence.