My art is a visual diary – an extension of myself and my experiences. Most of my works are in mixed media. This allows me to address different issues in a storytelling manner whilst giving myself more creative freedom. The challenge of using mixed media is part of my statement. It represents my commentaries and observations on the crucial issues that beset our society today. It helps me to manifest how I perceive the Filipino culture in my head– where it is now, and where I feel it is headed to.
I’ve always loved drawing. One time when I was a kid, drew myself as a stick figure playing basketball in every page of my notebook. I remember how surprised I was when I flipped the pages and saw the stick figure moving. Hindi ko alam na animation pala yun! So when I grew older, I took up my first ever job as an in-betweener/clean-up or assistant animator in an animation studio. In college, I studied Computer Engineering for almost two years, but eventually shifted to Fine Arts and Design. By then, I started getting exposed and introduced to different media and techniques. In the year 2000, I decided to work full time as a painter. It was very difficult at the beginning. At times, I had to choose between buying oil paint or buying milk for my child. Challenged by this circumstance, I came up with the idea of producing art from found objects. This allows me to sustain my art production, but still challenge my creativity. To supplement my income, I also conduct workshops on basic painting. I always remember to treat my art na parang babae na kailangang mahalin, bigyan ng oras, panahon at halaga para hindi magtampo, at pagkatapos nun ay mamahalin din ako ng art ko. Trust me: it works!
From being traditional, my work has evolved into my own unique hybrid art form. Combining different media frees me from the usual creative constraints. My inspiration tends to come from the mundane: everyday experiences that are often dismissed as boring or ordinary, such as commuting in trains, buses, and jeeps, meeting people at the streets, and neighbors chatting. My idea is to create a visual language that associates the object to an experience outside of its environment. My approach is representational and spontaneous. I use marks and texture in all (or some parts) of my artwork. The objective is to capture the essence, substance, and association between forms in order to suggest a deeper meaning and a sense of connectedness. In a way, I try to draw comparison through contrast – showing how two things can be similar even though they are wildly different from each other on the surface.
My Accomplishments, Thus Far
On top of winning some art competitions and participating in group shows, my most memorable experience is my first solo show entitled: Mga Barahang Ligaw, which I launched in 2011. My idea then was to use playing cards as a medium to express the notion that life is like a gamble. Since then, I’ve been doing solo shows every year, the last one having concluded on the 13th of July 2016. I am now planning and conceptualizing for next year’s show.
My Advice to Aspiring Artists
Just love what you are doing. Enjoy it as best you can. When the struggles come, make them your strength. Attend art exhibitions and connect with other artists. Learn from them.