RicARTE learned the basics of painting from artist’s friends, and polished his skill further through self-study and perseverance. His knowledge in architectural drafting led RicARTE to explore the possibilities of integrating fine art and architecture in his paintings. Unlike traditional still-life, landscapes, or portrait paintings, cubist paintings aren’t meant to be realistic or life-like in any way. Instead, after looking at the subject from every possible angle; RicARTE’s pieces together fragments from different vantage points into one painting. As a cubist, Ric Ico rejected the inherited concept that art should copy nature, or that they should adopt the traditional techniques of perspective, modeling, and foreshortening. He wanted instead to emphasize the two-dimensionality of the canvas as shown on his fish and human interest series.
RicARTE was born and raised in San Marcelino, Zambales, but is now based in Bauang, La Union. RicARTE had already won four first prizes and one second prize in six on-the-spot competitions he joined. He had exhibited works in various venues in San Fernando City, La Union, and Metro Manila. RicArte is a member of several art groups, like the Artists Guild of La Union, and also of the Pinoy na Pinoy Visual Artists, Inc. (PPVAI), and the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) which further attests to his outgoing ways.
I always enjoy an insight into an artist working life and here is one from Ric Ico of RicARTE and his neo-cubism art. Enjoy!
1.) Your background is Education, Architecture and History. How did you get into these different fields? And now you are into painting?
My ambition since childhood was to become a fine arts artist. There was no Fine Arts course nearby so I enrolled in Architecture. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish the course because I relapsed from influenza. I was in third year when I stopped.
However, I was able to get a job which commensurate to my educational attainment. While working, I continued my studies through distance learning and finished a degree – AB major in History. As Artist Illustrator II, I did multiple higher functions not related to my position. They led me to take-up Education with the belief that I can be promoted. However, the position that I was aiming for was already filled-up before I can even finish my course. Nevertheless, I continued it.
I started painting in 1995 using watercolor as my medium. I learned this from my Architecture course. I also did charcoal portraits. Sometime in 1997, I saw an art exhibit in a hotel lobby in San Fernando, La Union. Without hesitation, I sought the help of one of the artists and she taught me the basics of oil painting. After 3 sessions, I was invited to join their group.
2.) You worked for DECS (Department of Education, Culture and Sports) and DepEd (Department of Education) for most of your working life. How was that like?
I started as Clerk I, then Illustrator II, and finally, Artist Illustrator II. I did book illustrations, graphical presentations, and the likes. But the bulk of my work was more on signage making backdrops, streamers, etc. I also received commissioned works from my officemates, mostly flowers as subject which I did during night time and on weekends.
3.) You joined several art contests. How did it feel?
It was exciting and a bit nerve-wracking. On-the-spot competitions really made my adrenaline escalate to the brim. <laughs>
4.) Who or what influenced you to pursue freelance painting?
The group where I belong now – the Artists Guild of La Union (AGLAUN), influenced me much!
And, of course, the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP). I renewed my membership recently.
Also, I was once a member of the Pinoy na Pinoy Visual Artists Association, Inc. (PPVAAI).
5.) Which among your paintings are you most proud of and why?
The FISHES I is the one! I started as a realist painter until such time that I must explore other styles. I tried pointillism, abstraction and then cubism. The “Fishes I” was my first attempt and it turned out to be good!
I usually hung my paintings in the office, of course, with the permission of my immediate boss. When my director saw it, she was amazed! She bought it without bargaining the price. She now has three of my paintings. I shared it several times in and outside Facebook, and then gained depth impressions from the viewers until today. A critically-acclaimed artist-writer suggested that I should focus on this style – neo-cubism.
6.) Which of your paintings depict your exact personality?
Hmmm, the THREE SISTERS.
When I paint fishes, they have eyes. But when I paint people, they have no eyes. <laughs>. I am a shy guy; I am ashamed when faced with beautiful women. I said to myself: “Will make them ashamed of me, too!” <laughs>
7.) Now that you are a freelance painter, what kinds of paintings do you do and for what market?
You mean my style? Definitely, I do neo-cubism but sometimes with a little fusion of realism. Realism is for the masses but I want to gain an identity. Most say that my style is different, simple; one of a kind… and it sells! Somebody says “Ricubism” <laughs>. Of course, not all of my cubist paintings were good. I kept them or discard them.
8.) What was the most exciting painting that you did, for whom and why was it exciting?
The orchids that was done in watercolor was the most exciting. It measures 18”x 24”. It was my first time to join an exhibit and my first time to sell an exhibited artwork. My mentor in oil painting bought it!!! <smiles>
9.) What is your specialty when painting?
I love to work on textured canvas. It is easier to blend acrylic colors in it and the effect is superb. I can also freely apply flat colors without breaking the rules in fine arts. I wouldn’t have worked with acrylics if not for my allergic rhinitis. I used to paint in oils.
10). Where can people find you and your works?
Images courtesy of the artist.