Kristian Kabuay was born in the Philippines and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. He spent his college years in the Philippines where he honed his knowledge about the native ancient writing system, Baybayin. Kristian is a self-taught artist influenced by calligraphy, graffiti, abstract art, indigenous culture, technology and Asian writing systems. As a leading authority for the propagation and instruction of the Philippine script, he developed a modern performance style of the writing system called Tulang Kalis (Poetry of the Sword) and introduced it as Filipino Calligraphy with a series of live demonstrations and lectures at the Asian Art Museum in October 2012.
He has spoken at numerous schools and institutions such as Stanford University, UC Berkeley, SF State University, UC Davis, Sonoma State, University of the Philippines, National Anthropology Museum of Madrid, Tokyo University, and the San Francisco Philippine Consulate.
For this Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change (2014), he writes “Agam” in “modern” calligraphy and in traditional Baybayin. What appears on the cover of this book is actually “A-Ga-M”—a blend of traditional and modern techniques. Traditionally, “Agam” would have been written as “A-Ga”, as generally, consonants without vowels were dropped. For this artwork, Kristian uses a modern vowel cancellation technique by the Hanunuo Mangyan tribe from Mindoro to cancel out the last character, “M”. The more traditional script (“A-Ga”) can be found on the back cover.
Kristian has recently completed a European tour of Paris, Madrid, London and Brussels and is currently working on his 3rd book and film titled “Sulat ng Malansang Isda” (Writing of the Stinky Fish).
He lives in San Francisco, U.S.A.