Lorenzo E. Gabutina: The Late Blooming Filipino Visual Artist

I recently made contact with Lorenzo E. Gabutina (pseudonym: Legabutina), a digital artist, based in Caloocan, Philippines for a feature article in my blog.   His out-of-the-box artistic style of abstract images that is beautifully surreal and magically pleasing to the eyes.  I was immediately drawn to his work.

Lorenzo E. Gabutina has more than 30 years of professional experience in advertising and marketing management. He learned and sharpened his marketing skills in a multinational company environment with a 15-year stint in Kodak Philippines, as the company’s marketing communications manager. Lorenz’s first and most passionate love is advertising where he had been a copywriter and account executive for many years before assuming senior management positions. He has been involved in all key aspects of the advertising business, from creative to media, production, research and marketing planning.

According to Legabutina, he sees teaching as the culmination of his advertising career where he could share with advertising students the many insights and learning’s he had gained from his long years of working in the ad industry. He is currently, an advertising lecturer at St. Scholastica’s College. 

#LorenzoGabutina: The Late Blooming Accidental #FilipinoArtist #VisualArtist #Art #PopArt #SurrealArt #DigitalArt #Abstract #ArtPH www.jennysserendipity.com

Photos by http://supermantastic.tumblr.com/ (Via Katipunan Weekend Market FB Page)

Legabutina is a regular artist-seller of the monthly Future Market @ Escolta an event organized by 98b in its effort to help revitalized old Manila. He was also invited at the Katipunan Weekend Market last weekend of October. They feature a tightly curated selection of jewelry, handmade items, clothes, arts & crafts, vintage finds, delicious food & live music. If you are in the Escolta area on November 14, go checkout the Future Market. There are no specific dates scheduled for the November and December Katipunan Weekend Market but from time to time, please do check their Facebook page for exact dates.

His first artist solo art show, “The Accidental Artist” was held earlier this year at the Sigwada Art Gallery in San Andres Bukid.

Take a moment to read his artist insight, and take a peek into the mind of this late bloomer.

On his art journey:

My art journey began 5 years ago when I retired from advertising work at age of 60. I didn’t know then that I could make a good art. With so much time on my hands, I started doodling on the computer and posted my works on Facebook. My friends liked it! And that is what started this art journey…..I’m a late bloomer.

Early this year my eyes got so bad that I had an operation. “Wala akong makita sa computer,” I could not see the computer screen. So I started making hand drawn sketches. “Aba, pwede pala akong mag drawing with my hands!” (He said: Wow,  I could draw with my hands). When I started posting them on Facebook, my friends liked it. It was a big revelation for me, to learn that I could really draw with my hands. I have always been used to doing things through the computer. I had my eye operation last April this year and my eyes now are as good as brand new. But I continue to sketch with my hands till today, aside from my digital work.

On his art:

There is nothing profound or philosophical about my art. At least, that’s what I think so. Others will disagree, of course. The thing is, the narrative in my art comes after the work is finished, not before – which art critics will scoff at. There has to be a clear intent or purpose behind what you do, they will say.

My focus is on design, not the story. I want my art to be visually provocative, nothing more. If it touches your five senses and if it resonates with you; then, I am happy. I don’t want my art to be ‘understood’ nor ‘rationalized.’ It’s the least of my intentions. The purpose of my art is to entertain. “Mababaw ba?” (Am I shallow?)

On his art style and influences:

Artists that have had the most impact in me are Dali, Picasso, Boticelli, Miro, Klee, O-keefe, and may others whose names I can’t remember now. I don’t know if their style has influenced my art, maybe subconsciously, yes. I am drawn towards art that have geometric, pop, grotesque, surreal elements.

My art is a mélange of styles. I sometimes wonder if I have a unique style but it’s not a big thing for me. I don’t want to be boxed into a certain style anyway. I want it spontaneous, impromptu and sincere which reflects who I am as a person. What you see is what you get, “kun baga.” (rather)

On being a self-taught artist:

Being a self-taught artist, I pretty much do what I want to do. Not bound by any norm or convention other than good basic aesthetic sense. I don’t put on my thinking that when I work. It’s purely instinctive. I just let things flow. I trust my creative instincts.

On validation:

Every artist needs validation. The feeling that he is doing something right; I get a high when I fellow artist like my work. “Gawa na araw ko pag may isang mabigat na artist na nag like sa work ko,” my day is fulfilled when a big time artist admires his artworks.

The future of his art:

Where do I go from here? I will keep on marking art as long as my five senses are intact. I am happy that art came last in my checkered life. To me, it’s a gift, a blessing from God. I am not a super religious person but much of who I am today and the kind of art I make, I attribute to God. “Nag- iba ang pananaw ko sa buhay,” my life’s vision changed when I rediscovered God.

***A Selection of Legabutina’s Art Masterpieces***

(Please click image to enlarge)

Illustrations

Digital Collage Abstract Art

Images used with permission.

Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby Artist Journey And Her Comeback

Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby’s art journey of becoming an artist is an unfamiliar one. Tiya started experimenting with creativity at the age of twelve as a hidden hobby until her father encouraged her to see her talent as more than just a past-time.

Her painting became a therapy which helped her blossom to one promising artist.  Her bright and bold colors, shapes, and curves have caught people’s attention in the Washington D.C. area. This gave her the opportunity to showcase her talent in venues such as   The Library of Congress (LOC)   and  The Wing Luke Museum. Her medium of choice is mostly acrylic paint on large canvasses using brushes, fingers, and different tools to give that 3D dimensional effect in all her art works.  

As she was thriving as an upcoming Filipino-American artist, an unspeakable tragedy happened to her father–a senseless act of violence.  Her colorful world became dark as she suffered insurmountable grief for a long period of time.  Her work as an artist and painter froze. 

And only now, is she beginning her journey to a new stage of her life. She plans for a comeback as an artist to paint more, have more shows, and share her stories through her art and writing. Her ultimate goal is to have her manuscript turned into a film so she can share her experiences and make others be more aware of these issues.

This Q&A shows how Tiya’s challenges of her art journey and comeback helped her become a better artist. Enjoy!

We will start the interview with who are you and what do you do as an artist?

I am……a young, free-spirited artist with hopes, dreams and ambition. When it comes to art I have no limitations and boundaries. I express my emotions and feelings through creative expressions, typically on canvas and on paper.

Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby, is Tiya DK your nickname?

“Marilyn” is my government name (lol) and “Tiya” is the nickname I got in middle school. “DK” stands for my middle and last names. It made sense to me to keep both and have a separate name for my art.

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What is your art style?

My art style is mostly abstract and it’s free flowing. I do as I feel and once I get into my zone that’s when I feel most free and untouchable. Most of my work is abstract and on large canvases with mostly acrylic paint. Some of the other media I use to give different textures are fabric paint, markers, glitter. I texturize with various paint brushes, finger tips and other tools to create 3-D effects. All art pieces have a story/theme behind the work or a symbolic meaning which makes it more real and fun to discuss.

Tell me about your most significant art exhibit at the LOC (Library of Congress)

In May of 2013, I was asked to display artwork for The Library of Congress, Washington, DC for the Asian Pacific Islander Art Exhibit Archive. The theme was adoption. I had the opportunity to showcase new artwork and I decided to paint a gay couple with an adopted child. Washington, D.C., had recently passed the law for same sex marriage, so I thought it would be a great idea to creatively express that gay couples should have the same equal rights as heterosexual’s to adopt children. It was a good conversation piece.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Original Artwork Exhibit, Submitted 2013

Earlier, in 2011, The Library of Congress asked me to be a featured guest to speak on a panel and display artwork in their showcase. The panel discussion included other adult adoptees and we discussed the different struggles of being adopted and what challenges we faced growing up. It was an honor to be a guest and it was an incredible and humbling experience to be part of the panel discussion.

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Original Artwork Exhibit, Submitted 2011 – Photograph by Byron Curry

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC. Original Artwork Exhibit, Submitted 2011 – Photograph by Byron Curry

You mentioned your art works were also showcased at the Wing Luke Museum, tell me about this experience?

Yes.  Lorial Crowder, who started the Filipino Adoptee Networks (FAN), advised that I try submitting my work for the exhibit and I was excited it was chosen. The Wing Luke Museum is located on the west coast in Seattle, WA. Staff was looking for various adoptees who are artists to showcase their artwork for their exhibit opening. The work had to be judged to be approved for the showcase. I was selected and had my artwork hang for a few months. This opportunity gave me good exposure and an opportunity to share artworks with other adoptees.

Looking at your previous works, I see a stage play, “Conversations About HER” – Is this based on a screenplay?

Tim Odom is an amazing writer (and entrepreneur) who wrote the book, “Conversations About HER” and then turned the book into a stage play. It was set in an art gallery and it had a very artistic approach with a musical flare. His production staff researched different artists and asked if I would be willing to hang some of my work on their set. The play took place at the George Washington University Theater in Washington, D.C.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Art, Art Journey, Art Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Arm Artist

Tiya DK had the opportunity to display original artwork to create the feeling of an art gallery in the stage play set, “Conversations About HER” a Tim O. Production Event.

You say a percentage of proceeds of art sales and art works are donated to various charities and venues. 1st, how much percentage do you give?

It varies depending on the Venue.

2nd, name a few artworks you have donated?

I have donated artworks to several entities over the years. A lot of my original sketch books have been donated to the Library of Congress for their research and studies (Archive Department) and they also have several original paintings.

I’ve also donated artwork to the Prince Georges County Department for Child Welfare in MD; their fund-raiser was a great opportunity to meet foster-care children and adopted children with their new families. It was an honor to do an art piece that displayed a theme about adoption because I am also a product of that.

In addition, I’ve donated artwork to the Komen Breast Cancer fund-raising event, Dress For Success, The Sasha Bruce Foundation, and more.

Last, what are the charities you donated to and why did you choose them?

All the charities I have donated art proceeds to are organizations that help people get back on their feet: Children in foster-care & adoption, Cancer Fund Raising Events (attached below), HIV/AIDS, and other humanitarian organizations.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby Artist Journey And Her Comeback

You have some of your artworks displayed in an independent film. Wow! Which are they and what film is this?

A friend of mine who is a screenwriter and an independent film producer, Angel Sepulveda (Sepulveda Films), wrote a manuscript and shot the movie. He needed artwork for the set and reached out to me. I was honored to have some of my work hang in his production. I had three of my large paintings hanging on his walls (Artwork Used: Intertwined Lovers, Writer’s Block, and Rainy Miami). The film has not been released yet.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

Sepulveda Films, Setting for College Park Film

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

Featured Artist at The Washington Hilton Hotel, DC.

Looking at your Facebook page, art resume, and website, I noticed they were not updated for quite some time. Is this related to the tragedy of your father? (So sorry for your loss.)

Thank you. Yes, it’s been a very difficult struggle to accept the unexpected loss of my father. You never get over it, you slowly just learn to get used to it, which is an excruciating pain I live with every day. My life has changed dramatically…it will never be the same…so it has definitely set me back; however, I’m slowly bouncing back, and when I do, I’m going to come back even harder! The depth of this tragic experience will definitely affect my work.

Despite your loss, it must be hard for you to create again. How did you pull through? Did you paint during this period or was your painting much darker than you’re colorful bright art pieces?

I thought that was it! I was done because I really thought I had literally lost my mind!!!  I was extremely close to my father (I was daddy’s little girl and we also had a common interest through our work in transportation and construction, which made our relationship even richer), so losing him so tragically and unexpectedly tore my world apart and I became depressed. I had no motivation to paint or do anything for a while.

However, with time and also having such a great support team with my friends, family and even my job, I was able to slowly pull myself back together. I found myself getting back into doing some art pieces and actually shocked myself. I think my art now is deeper, more mature, more emotional, and richer. Attached is one of the new pieces I did for the one-year anniversary of his death.

Getting back to doing some art has been very therapeutic for me and it has helped me express my loss. I don’t think my work is as colorful (vibrant) and happy, but I still use bright colors…just in a different manner. Is it darker? Mmmmm…Yes, I would say so. I guess you could call it the “Dark Period”.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

New Artwork 2015, Medium: Acrylic | Title: “Fallen Hero Down Under”
(One Year Anniversary Tribute Artwork in Honor of my father, Dr. Ronald F. Kirby)

Reading the article, it was stated your parents adopted you and your brother in the Philippines. Has this influenced your creative style? At what age did you discover and started exploring your creativity?

Yes. My brother and I were and still are very blessed we were chosen. I think being chosen aka “adopted” has influenced me to be expressive and feel super fortunate, which gives me the motivation to express my gratitude, experiences, emotions, and who I am creatively on canvas.

Some of my pieces illustrate a lot of where I come from and who I am. I discovered art at a fairly young age and started pursuing it as a hidden hobby at 12 years old. I was shy and didn’t want anyone to know I enjoyed painting.  Being an artist and painting was considered lame and not cool (lol), I also really didn’t think I was that good. It was just a hobby and also a way to avoid getting in trouble. I would paint for hours and lock myself up in my room, but I never saw it being worth showing or talking about until my father found a painting behind my dresser ready to go to the trash. He absolutely refused to throw it away. Instead, he framed my artwork and after that…well, art became more than just a hobby.  It was a talent (that my dad helped me feel worthy of my niche, as he would call it). Eventually it became a passion that I cannot live without!

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

This was the first artwork created (at 12 years old) that was ready to go to trash and later it was framed.
Title: “Secure Comfort” | Photo was taken at The Library of Congress Art Exhibit, Washington, D.C.
(Photograph by Byron Curry)

I see that you are a member at Filipino Adoptee Networks

Yes. As I mentioned earlier, Lorial is a phenomenal Filipina who created FAN and has helped me and many other Filipinos network with appropriate people. She has a great vision to bring people together and help connect you with others.

FAN had a panel discussion on this topic. (http://www.loc.gov/today/pr/2011/11-192.html) In this panel, Psychologist Amanda Baden discussed identity crisis in teen years among the adoptees.

Yes, Amanda Baden is a great psychologist and I had the opportunity to listen to her discuss identity crises that typically start at a very young age and eventually can manifest to depression and other issues. We talked about our own struggles and discussed different scenarios, situations, how to possibly recognize children and youth who struggle with identity issues and to suggest ­­­tips to help minimize and possibly prevent them. It was a very interesting group and I felt extremely honored to be part of the panel.

Marilyn "Tiya DK" Kirby, Tiya DK, Tiya, Art, Art Journey, Artist Reflections, Artist Comeback, Filipina Artist, Fil-Am Artist, Pinay Artist, Philippines

“Celebration of Champions” with the 10th Annual Academy Awards celebration of adoption banquet, hosted by the Coalition of Adoption Programs, Inc. Walk the red carpet, experience all the lights, camera, and action as they honor deserving families.

Tell me about your identity crisis as an adoptee and mixing it with your creativity. Did you ever connect with your biological parents as I can see longing in some of your paintings?

Growing up was a challenge because I faced racial discrimination, abandonment issues, and not feeling wanted or accepted.  As a child, it was very hard to understand why you were given up, why your adopted parents don’t look like you, and also to deal with a lot of negativity as an orphan, etc. I definitely struggled with identity at a young age…I think we all do at one point or another, so being adopted (in my opinion) just makes it even more intense, strange and complicated, especially as a child.

It was my art that helped me evolve, gain confidence and see my self-worth. Art helped me forget my worries because I stopped sweating the small stuff that I couldn’t control and I started utilizing the things I could appreciate, value and control: my creativity. Art was the one thing I didn’t fear. I realized no one can take it from me and that’s what helped me gain confidence.

Some of my artwork definitely reflects my inner emotions and feelings of being given up as well as longing to meet my biological family, which I did. I did some of my artwork before I met my family (in the summer of 2005) and I have other artwork illustrating my experiences after I met them. Meeting my biological family was the most exhilarating, thrilling and amazing journey I’ve ever experienced.

In your BIO, you mentioned you are working on a book and a screenplay based on a true story—is this your story? Is this about your adoption and breaking stereotypes?

THE WORK IS ACTUALLY A SCREENPLAY BASED ON A TRUE STORY. So, yes, the story definitely has to do with adoption, breaking stereotypes, and most of all, educating those who lack understanding of adoption and foster-care. It also focuses on educating those who are planning or seriously considering adopting. I incorporated my amazing journey/experiences in the book to give the audience some of the things I’ve experienced and to help others be more aware of what it’s like when adopting as well as fostering children.

What is your plan for a comeback?

My plan is to paint more, have more shows and share my stories through my creative expression (art and writing). My ultimate goal is to have my story turned into a film. Being able to share my story and make others more aware of these issues, plus entertain people would be my ultimate come back!

A significant amount of any proceeds will go to adoption and foster-care agencies as well as efforts to stop domestic violence and gun violence (in honor of my dad who was gunned down in such a senseless manner). Long term, I would like to be a philanthropist and be able to help numerous organizations as my way of giving back.

I am very passionate about my gift, my art, and would like to share it with everyone I meet…share a piece of who I am with others and hopefully make a difference. I am seeking legal representation (agent) to help me produce the story as a film and play.  If you know anyone who wants a unique story and will believe in my vision and project, please send them my way! I’m also open to an art agent who can possibly book me for other art exhibits locally and internationally.

My website is www.tiyadk.com. My facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tiya-DK/190371861040167) and my email is tiya@tiyadk.com or  tiyadk@yahoo.com.

All images are provided by Marilyn “Tiya DK” Kirby.

Copyright © 2010-2015 Tiya DK. All Rights Reserved.

 

Artist Profile: Q&A with Joel Masaya and his Filipinism Art

When an artist says he is into Filipinism, one automatically associates it with pastoral life and rural Philippines. However, Filipinism in the past was viewed as very limiting but now; it is more of a blessing –artists like Joel Masaya gives his art a little spin by capturing the image with his brushes rather than a lifeless colorful stroke.

Joel Masaya’s art breathes new life into it, and makes it a way to celebrate life by utilizing the riotous colors and complex forms naturally abounding in these islands. This is what Joel Masaya has been doing in his paintings. This art form is a way of showing the real identity of the artist into their works as a Filipino.  He paints to preserve the life of the past and the forgotten culture long ago silenced.

Joel Masaya is an active member of Tanay Art Group founded by Tam Austria and Jun Tiongco. He retired from textile designing and is now a full time artist–100% devoted to his art. His series of mother and child are a tribute to the master artist, Tam Austria. His works are in the collection of prominent art collectors here and abroad.

Homage to the Master Sa Piling ni Nanay  Acrylic on Canvas, 2014 Private Collection

Homage to the Master, Sa Piling ni Nanay, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014
Private Collection

Q: Congratulations on your participation at the 2014 ArtAsia Gallery in SM Megamall. How was it like for you? How many of your works made it to the exhibit?

JM: Being part of that exhibit was a big deal and an important milestone for me. I can’t expect too much, two of my paintings showcased at the ArtAsia Gallery in SM Megamall. I was very happy that my works was part of the group exhibit.

Q: How was the viewers’ feedback regarding your obras (paintings)?

JM: Lots of collectors inquire directly to me and was able to raise three (3) commissioned artworks. Some collectors asked me if I have many paintings. A painting was sold as the result of the exhibit.

Q: You are a BSIE (Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering) graduate. How did you get into art?

JM: It was my auntie who advised me to take that course. But deep inside, my passion is on the arts. I set aside painting for a while until I met my mentor, Martin Catolos and Tam Austria, the Founder of Tanay Artist Group. I painted again under the tutelage of Martin Catolos and was influenced by Tam Austria. I was invited to join the group and also participated in their annual art exhibit from years 1986 to 1997.

Joel Masaya, Filipino Artist, Filipinism, Art, Artist Profile, Art Feature, Rural Art, Philippines

Homage to the Master, 4 Marias, 24 x 34, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014

Q: How come that you contained your career as painter mostly inside Pililla, Rizal?

JM: I was born in Pililla Rizal but was raised in Tanay Rizal. My hearts belong in Pililli. I feel great and more focused because of the poetic environment. There are plenty of inspirations in this town. I often go to field, markets, and fishing village to get my inspiration. I go around the town to find old custom materials for my art composition. As an artist, Pililla is a place where I feel more relaxed.

Q: How did you develop your love for art and your career-path towards it?

JM: Since I was I kid, I drew and painted for developmental purpose only. I continued my studies with the senior artist in Tanay who helped me improve my art. I also met Oscar Salita who at that time gave me an assignment to sketch. He once said, “Arts come from the brain close to the heart, to the hands that lines are remain in my mind.”

Joel Masaya, Filipino Artist, Filipinism, Art, Artist Profile, Art Feature, Rural Art, Philippines

Luningning, 12 x 24, Acrylic on Canvas, 2015

Q: You did textiles before. Why the transition into paintings?

JM: I worked as a textile hand painter for almost 20 years.”Ito ung binuhay ko sa pamilya ko.” This was my way of living for my family and at the same I painted and visited Manila to peddle my paintings door to door. It was very hard but I was prepared and experienced hard times as an artist. It’s a part of learning process. My hardships helped me enhanced my craft. I can’t escape art because it is my first love and my passion despite the hardships.

Q: You have a fondness for Filipinism and elements of the past. How so?

JM: As an artist, I work to develop the beauty of Filipina, the beauty that exist in the ruin culture, and traditions; Philippine urban style and the elements of the past is something I want to preserve in my art.

Joel Masaya, Filipino Artist, Filipinism, Art, Artist Profile, Art Feature, Rural Art, Philippines

Early works, Nippa Hut, 18 x 24, Acrylic on Canvas, 2012

Joel Masaya, Filipino Artist, Filipinism, Art, Artist Profile, Art Feature, Rural Art, Philippines

Early works, Golden Harvest, 18 x 26, Acrylic on Canvas

Q: What work of yours best embodies your ideals regarding Filipinism?

JM: My paintings titled, “Bahay Kubo, Golden Harvest, and Homage to the Master Mother and Child,” are subjects of Philippine urban style. I work hard to recreate Filipinism in all my art.

Q: How many of your works that went on exhibit last year at SM Megamall received raves from prospective buyers and actually sold? 

JM: One art piece was sold and the other piece was reserved to one collector. Through social media, I was able to get commission work. Social media is a big factor to make transactions with art buyers.

Q: What will you be painting next?

JM: As of now, I’m doing some sketches for a series—Beauty of Filipina since I’m inspired by Filipina beauty.

Joel Masaya, Filipino Artist, Filipinism, Art, Artist Profile, Art Feature, Rural Art, Philippines

Early works, Golden Field, 24 x 36, Acrylic on Canvas, 2013

Joel Masaya, Filipino Artist, Filipinism, Art, Artist Profile, Art Feature, Rural Art, Philippines

Early works, Windowing, 18 x 24, Acrylic on Canvas, 2012

Artist Contact Information:

Facebook
CP: 09484460544
Email: masayajoel@gmail.com

Images courtesy of the artist.

Q&A Omi M. Reyes: The Modern Realist Who’s Painted For The Sultan of Brunei

Omi Reyes has gone a long way as an artist who started as a textile painter back in the 1980s. In the early days of his career, he painted floral designs on diaphanous and gossamer material to accessorize fashion. Nowadays, his works revolve around modern realism.

Fresh from college at that time, finding a steady source of income was the only choice. His artistic soul hungered for venues that can showcase his creativity and celebrate the way he views the world around him through art.

He believes that a true artist is one who is not afraid of trying out new ways of rendering art. He plays around with depth and focus, photographic impressionism, abstraction, at times surrealism, juxtaposing different subjects, mixing light and shadow to create a rare hazy, smoky effect evoking evanescence and ethereal landscapes among others. Being a frustrated musician, he says that he always finds a way to convey his musical inclination regardless of his theme as suggested by his works “Rhythm of the Wind”, “A Symphony of Flowers”, “Harmony in Still Life”, and in his most recent one-man-show entitled “Omi’s Symphony” where he focused on musical instruments as a theme subject.

Art, Art Feature, Art Profile, Art Sale, Artist Reflections, Philippines, Omi Reyes

Men on Wheels — 12.5 x 28.75 x 3.75 Inches — Mixed Media 2014

Born on Valentine’s Day, Omi exemplifies love, dedication, harmony, peace where his art is concerned. Get to know Omi Reyes up-close, the modern realist who’s painted for the Sultan of Brunei. Enjoy!

You painted for Sultan Bolkiah of Brunei. Tell us how your painting/s ended up on the wall of the music room of the sultan’s palace in Brunei? How many are they and what are they about? When did this happen? How did it happen? Did he buy your finished work or did he commission you to paint on his requested theme and subject?

It was circa 1997 when I was referred by my late friend Oscar Salita who hired for a commission work at Sultan Bolkiah’s Mansion in Forbes Park. I did several paintings in different parts of the mansion. I painted the headboard up to the ceiling for his master bedroom. Aside from that, I have done some retouch for his indoor swimming pool ceiling since there were already existing murals done by young artists during that time. I was also sent to Brunei to do his music room in his palace but it was more of designing than painting.

You attended UE in Manila. You now live in Hulo, Mandaluyong City. Have you always lived in Mandaluyong? You said life was hard when you were a student because your parents were poor. How did you go about it and get by through college?

I was born and raised in Hulo, Mandaluyong. It has always been my home. I tried living outside Mandaluyong for a couple of years (in Quezon City) but my heart belonged here so I came back.

We were not born with a silver spoon in our mouths but we got by. My parents were micro-entrepreneurs so my siblings and I were able to finish college through that without really needing to work during school. My life as a college student was kind of normal.

Art, Art Feature, Art Profile, Art Sale, Artist Reflections, Philippines, Omi Reyes

Mechanical Elegance (Close-Up) — 24”x 26” x 26” — Mixed Media 2013 — Sold

It said in your bio that you realized that you wanted to become an artist when you took up Advertising Arts at UE. At what point: during your freshman year, in between, or during your senior year? Painting requires a lot of money to learn and pursue and then it is not a practical source of income. How did your parents take it? Were you open to your parents about it or did you mislead them to think that advertising was the route that you were going after college?

Ever since I started to learn how to hold a pencil I already knew what I wanted to be – an artist. I just wanted to draw. I hated school. I never knew how I persuaded my parents so that I can take Fine Arts in college. I guess I was just lucky that my parents understood. I majored in Advertising because I knew I can easily get a job at this compared to taking up major in painting. At least I have a chance to get by and be able to feed myself. I knew that painting was really not a practical source of income. Maybe I also realized at one point that I still needed education so I pursued finishing college.

After some experience working an office job in an advertising company, I realized that my passion is still painting. After work, I usually painted, so I managed to gather a few of my works. I met an art broker who handled me for about 3 years. After about a year, I had my very first painting exhibit in 1983 at Hyatt Regency Manila.

Art, Art Feature, Art Profile, Art Sale, Artist Reflections, Philippines, Omi Reyes

Wall Relief Resurrection Engines II — 48”x 24” Mixed Media

You started in art as a textile painter. How was that like? And how did you transition into painting beyond that and explore other genres?

When I was in the last year of college, I met a newlywed couple looking for an artist who can do hand painting on georgette blouses for Rustan’s Department Store. I made different kinds of floral designs and it was a sell-out. As I matured to being an artist, I was able to bring this specific style because initially I used flowers as a subject for my paintings. Then I discovered finger-painting technique using my index and middle fingers with a piece of cloth. Actually, it’s not the flower itself that I wanted to capture because sometimes I don’t even know what kind of flower I was painting. I wanted to capture the beauty in it. For me, it was the essence of what I was doing.

You do murals. You like modern realism, nature, flowers, birds and music. Which element most defines you as an artist? What have flowers done to you that they dominate a majority of your art as a subject?

I love nature that’s why most of my subjects I painted back then are flowers, forests, birds & mountains. I love music too. I even composed a couple of songs when I was young. I can say that what’s in your heart manifests effortlessly in what you do because I was able to come up with my 13th One-man show entitled ”Omi’s Symphony” (Reborn by Music). I painted notes and different musical instruments like violin, harp, guitar and more.

Art, Art Feature, Art Profile, Art Sale, Artist Reflections, Philippines, Omi Reyes

Wall Relief — Ode to Secret Surface — 32″ Diameter — Mixed Media

Flowers dominated most of my subjects because way back in the early 80’s to 90’s, art collectors loved beautiful sceneries and subjects that are easy on the eyes and flowers are one of them. These subjects were quite a lot of help financially so I was able to bring my kids to school and feed my family.

Art is your full-time job right now? How does that work for you? It says in your bio that your wife Susan helps you. Is she an artist too? How did you two meet and become a couple? How many years have you been together now?

Painting is my full time job since 1982. Susan and I met during college and have been married for 33 years now. She was also taking up Fine Arts in UE. She and I are more of partners & best friends. She does what I can’t, which is the selling part. She manages my career. Being an artist herself, she is also aware of the psychology of being an artist. As a painter, it is not easy to sell your own product. It’s not the same as selling a vacuum where you can just go on your day after being rejected for not being able to sell. It is also hard to praise your own works for people to be able buy it. As an artist, you just create. Hence, Susan’s job is really important for me. She’s been very supportive and more importantly, she is my number one critic. I was able to stand and survive as an artist because she’s been my stronghold.

How old are you now? How many years have you been an artist? Any children? How about grandchildren? Can you describe how life is for an artist’s family in Mandaluyong City?

I am turning 55 this coming February and have been painting since late ’82, so that would be 33 years of my creative career. I have two daughters ages 32 & 30 and an adopted daughter who just turned 16, and no grandchildren yet. They were all raised with the fruits of creative juices of the art industry.

As I’ve said, Mandaluyong has always been my home. I feel comfortable doing my works in my humble, little nook at the third floor of our home amidst the busy urban area. I have always found my heart in here.

Art, Art Feature, Art Profile, Art Sale, Artist Reflections, Philippines, Omi Reyes

Mechanical Elegance (Close-Up) — 24”x 26” x 26” — Mixed Media 2013 — Sold

I noticed that your recent works involve some metal or metallic crafts. How did you get into it?

I usually use wood, some metals and resin. It’s called “steam punk”. I was not aware about this genre until a friend of mine told me about it 3 years ago. I never knew it existed. I was doing this style since 1985 but during those times, it was a not a very sellable technique because art collectors weren’t that open to this kind of works. I had to survive. I had to provide for my family. So I had to settle for sellable works instead, such as floral, landscapes and still life paintings.

Only when my children finished school was I able to go out of my comfort zone and went back to this genre which enabled me to freely express what I really wanted to do. So since 2010, I was doing this style.

Aside from having Sultan Bolkiah as a client, his brother; and some churches in the Philippines, what other work/s are you proud of?

I’m really proud of my latest works, because as I’ve mentioned, I just got out of my comfort zone. The fulfillment that I feel when art lovers appreciate my works is beyond compare. Unlike before when I paint to sell, I do what I love now and can care less about whether or not people will buy it. Good thing is that many people are open to a wider range of style now so they are captured by my sculptures & wall reliefs. Buyers are just a bonus for me.

What are the latest breakthroughs or significant upcoming events in your career that you might like to share to our readers?

I have an upcoming group show that will be held in July 2015 in Art Center SM Megamall and a solo exhibit in Serendra. I cannot give away the details yet as we are just in the planning phase right now. But these are the things that I am looking forward to now.

All images courtesy by the artist.

Note: Images are linked to Artworks by Omi’s Reyes artist Facebook page.

Q&A: Flerrie Vicencio—The Widow Who Found Healing in Painting

Jenny’s Serendipity’s featured artist is Flerrie Valiente-Vicencio—a  Malabon City native and a graduate of UST Fine Arts who majored in Advertising. When her father died, she inherited an engineering company. With the help of her husband, she was able to manage her business.  But tragedy came too soon, her husband died and she was left to fend everything to herself. Thanks to her husbands loyal employees, the business survived. With the business, she then started an animation company back when it was new to do 2D animation.

Because of her struggles, her paintings became her way of relaxation.  Flerrie is an artist who paints from her imagination. I got to interview Mrs. Vicencio online and here is what we talked about how her art heals her:

You have a lot going on in your life. You graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, who majored in Advertising from UST, you inherited an engineering company, you do animation, and you are a visual artist on the side. In all these, what best defines you?

I love drawing women, sceneries, animals, houses. And a lot of times, I will switch to drawing volcanic eruptions, wars… even in high school. I still do that, especially when I am bored.

I hope through constant practice, my true character will show in my paintings. I’d like to be bold in my characters. I can say anything I want when I paint freely.

Art, Art Feature, Art Journey, Art Profile, Artist Reflections, Artist Confessions, Flerrie Valiente-Vicencio, Flerrie Vicencio, Art Heals, Painters Reflection, Philippines

Artist at work.

When did you start painting and what was your first work? Who or what urged you to paint? Who are your influences? Where do you draw inspiration from?

My father’s close friend was an oil painter. I remember him doing portraits, and sceneries. I really admire his style but I knew all along, that my father was just helping him financially.

Knowing that there is no money in art but despite that, I took up Fine Arts in UST and majored in Advertising mainly because we have our family business. Did not worry and hated Math… And most of all, I followed my heart’s desire.

My pleasant easy moments with my parents when I was a kid; my informal training and development I had experienced while watching my father draw images for me on pieces of plywood, while he was doing carpentry for our cabinets or whatever he was doing had a great impact with me.  During his break time, he would draw some images for me mostly animals, flowers, and people. Sometimes, my mother would do the same.  She would draw women with nice curly hair, flowers and bahay kubo.  I was too fascinated by just watching them draw for me. I remembered my father would draw big drawings using chalks and charcoals.  It was fun!  I would always get in trouble because my notebook was filled with drawings instead of lectures.

When my father died of leukemia, I had to resign and continue the family business. Luckily, my taste for guns helped me a lot, and my husband’s background in engineering was a big help too. Thus, we were able to continue. What we had then was metal, woodcraft industry, and some engineering works more on air-gun manufacturing.

At the same time, some animation friends gave me the idea, to open my own animation studio back in 2000; thus, Northkey Images was born. I was able to train some youths in our area. We were able to win some projects from big studios here in the country. The biggest project we had is Kong.

What is your most memorable painting and why?

My first finished painting is “The Man from a Novel.” I started working on that piece when I was very frustrated and desperate with everything that I did. I was almost gave up and then suddenly, I found this desire to paint again.

I grabbed my college painting set. Surprisingly, my oil colors were still okay.  I just worked freestyle until these images came out – “The Bearded Man, “The Snow,” “The Dog,” and “The Boat,” without any references.

The paintings are still with me but are now reserved.

Art, Art Feature, Art Journey, Art Profile, Artist Reflections, Artist Confessions, Flerrie Valiente-Vicencio, Flerrie Vicencio, Art Heals, Painters Reflection, Philippines

Fruit Trip — 24″ x 24″ oil on canvas 2013.

When the world was young--- 24" x 36" oil on canvas  2000-2011

When the world was young— 24″ x 36″ oil on canvas
2000-2011

You have been a widow for a while now. Do you have any children? How do you juggle all those different things that you do? Who helps you?

My most tragic blow in my life was when my husband was killed over a traffic dispute that was barely eight months when my father died. Those sad, tragic events kept lingering in my thoughts and would still make me cry to this day… But that sad episode made me stronger. Not a day will pass without me going to the firing range. I became more addicted to guns.

I still struggled to continue with the business, but with the help of my father’s most loyal employees, I was able to manage the business.

I was raised like a boy. I loved guns like how some girls adored their dolls. Our business was mainly focused on air-guns.

Flerrie at a shooting range.

Flerrie at a shooting range.

It is just me and my elder sister with no sons. So maybe my dad was too dreaming of a son so I grew up like a boy. I was able to survive more than 20 years and just recently, I decided it was really over, because it’s really difficult to compete with China—a major competitor.

My three daughters are all married and with nice jobs. I have a granddaughter and two grandsons. They are now on their own, have their own houses, and I could now spend the rest of my life painting and painting. I am comfortable, yes.

But my final wish, if I can still make it, is to build my dream rest house… My paradise where I can paint my heart out and paint all my dreams, for me and my family… And if I can continue with a food business, like how my parents dreamt, I will restart and do it all over again—maybe a cute, secret hideaway restaurant for artists and fans, and a nice gallery.

With all those different things you got going on, how often do you paint? When do you find or make the time for it?

When traditional animation (2D) here in the country turned slow and suddenly, India was taking over, I decided to close down because we can no longer compete with the price.

That’s when I started painting again because I was so missing the momentum I had with my animation business. Painting lessened all the strain I got from working on our business. Of course, it was more on troubleshooting. After my father died, financial losses, and uncollected debts, painting became my medium to release the stress.

Is painting a plain hobby of yours? Do you also get to join competitions and exhibits? And do you get to sell your paintings? Have you turned this hobby to a sideline job as well?

PAINTING is my passion, my comfort, and my source. Unlike before, I was very shy to join any contest, to join any art group. It is just here on cyberspace that by luck, I was able to follow the trails of some real life artist friends. I love the artist interaction especially Kimnetix.  I love that group.

I don’t know but I’m too tired of competing. All I want to do now is go with the flow. Whatever will come out of this, I am charging to experience. My painting is my own escape from reality but faith and fate will change its route and who knows what could happen but for now, this is a hobby.

Painting is like I am travelling into a different dimension....creating a world of my own....Thus,time passes by too quickly and I dont even notice..........My Passion :) --A Quote taken from her FB album.

Painting is like I am travelling into a different dimension….creating a world of my own….Thus,time passes by too quickly
and I dont even notice……….My Passion 🙂 –A Quote taken from her FB album.

What do you paint best? What is your specialty and what is your best sample of that which you did?

I have no favorite piece. I love all my creations. It’s difficult to separate from them. I love the feeling if some people will somehow treasure my pieces, keep them as their own and make them a part of their family—I will miss them though.

Tell us about your foray into animation. How did you go about it? How many projects have you done? Enumerate your best works. What is your future in animation (projects that will come out this 2015)?

We were then the pioneers in animation here in the country. I was employed by Optifex International, one of the first animation studios in the Philippines together with Burbank, and then finally made it at Fil Cartoons as a 2D key animator.

How long have you worked in advertising? Do you still do it from time to time?

I was able to finish my course despite being three months pregnant and having an early marriage. There was a two-year interval for all my three daughters, and in between those years, I managed to work and practice my course. I worked for a textile company as designer, t-shirt designer, and then finally, I made it to the animation industry.

What are future events in your life as an artist that you’d like people to know about?

Now, I’m more concentrated into painting. My mind is bursting with so many ideas. If someday I make it, I will be very thankful because it is my passion, my kind of fun, my healing, and my stress buster.

Thank you so much for the interest. I know you are very nice for helping artist alleviate the life of struggling artists. More Power!

All images courtesy by the artist.

Featured Artist: Sr. Venus Marie S. Pegar

Meet Sr. Venus Marie Pegar, the nun who paints on the side. She started drawing at an early age and continued her artistic pursuit even when she made the VOW to be God’s servant. She said she is grateful that her congregation, Sisters of St. Francis Xavier, supports her artistry but her community outreach will always come first.

Sister of St. Francis Xavier was portrayed by actress Jessy Mendiola in the August 30, 2014 episode of TV drama show “Maalaala Mo Kaya” on ABS-CBN Channel 2, for her incredible story of life, love, devotion, and vocation. (Please check a short clip of Jessy Mendiola below – Yeah that’s her) 😉

Every artist has an art journey to tell.  I as a blogger intend to showcase these stories. Sr. Venus hopes one day she will exhibit her work and that would be her first exposure to the art world including this feature article.

Nuns do paint too. Read her art journey and get inspired.  Enjoy!

You’re a nun. At what point in your life did you realize the artist side of yourself? When did you develop it and what influenced you to pursue it as one of your passions, second to serving the Lord?

Actually, artist runs in the family.  I started drawing at an early age of eight (Grade 3, at that time). My dad was also an artist but only known to some. He encouraged me to draw and supplied me with the materials. It is not really a second option together with serving the Lord. My siblings: my brother is a professional artist based in Cebu and my other brother is into graphics.

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Sr. Venus Marie S. Pegar, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Filipina Artist, Reflections, Nun Artist, Nun Paintings

Sr. Venus Marie S. Pegar was inspired to paint the Pope to commemorate Pope Francis Philippine visit on Jan 15.

How many years have you been a nun? Under what order or congregation? Do they support your artistry or did you struggle with that aspect?

I’ve been in the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis Xavier for eight years and a professed sister only for four years since I entered the convent in my later years after working outside.

My congregation and community supports me with my artistry. I’m so at peace in reawakening my passion even our superior general approves it with love. And most especially, the support of my brother who provides me with the materials.

How old are now? Where are you from? Your life story was featured on TV’s ‘Maalaala Mo Kaya’ (in the episode “Sulat,” last August 2014). How did they learn about you? Did you write to them and sent your story?

Last December 11, I turned 38. I was born in Leyte but studied college and worked in Manila. I hid my identity in my MMK story to protect everyone. I just made it known to some close friends and family. At the end of the episode, my pic appeared so some recognized me.

How many suitors and how many boyfriends did you have before you decided to pursue Holy Orders? Your last boyfriend must have been crushed with your decision to become a nun. Did he or did any of those men who came into your life inspire you to paint?

I had a lot of suitors during my younger years but I only had one boyfriend until the time when I decided to enter… My dad inspired me to paint since it was our bonding moment together before he died.

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Sr. Venus Marie S. Pegar, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Filipina Artist, Reflections, Nun Artist, Nun Paintings

The subject of the painting was based on a pink flower she saw at Tagaytay Picnic Grove. It is a meaningful remembrance of her first community outing.

What is your first masterpiece? Tell us about it.

My first drawing was when I was eight years old. My dad encouraged me to draw so I came out with the portrait of Ms. Gloria Romero in pencil. The portrait ended up as a birthday gift to my grandmother.

You are also an educator now? Where? What do you teach? How long have you been teaching? What do you always tell your students?

I am currently assigned as a formator to aspirant, and postulant of our congregation. My position helps them spiritually on how to be a Religious Sister of our congregation. I always impart in them the reality that we are created by our loving Creator so we need to be creative and express our great appreciation of all things around us by means of art like painting. Every Tuesday and Thursday night is their artworks and painting time with myself.

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Sr. Venus Marie S. Pegar, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Filipina Artist, Reflections, Nun Artist, Nun Paintings

The subject of painting is Estes Park in the U.S. where her best friend lives that she hopes to visit in Gods time.

As a nun, you also get to serve at masses. What is your role? Are you part of the choir, lector, communion minister, or donation collector?

Besides being a formator and vocation directress of our congregation, I’m also help in our mission in taking care of the elderly in our institution, the Mary Mother of Mercy Home for the Elderly and Abandoned. We serve and cater to 20 abandoned senior citizens. We have our own Sunday Mass wherein we ourselves are the choir, commentator, and lector. I also teach our candidates about music, singing, and playing guitar; flute and keyboard, a bit.

Who are the artists you look up to?

I look up to all the artists with their artistic masterpieces but recently, I have been admiring the works of United Women Artists Association of the Philippines (UWAAP)most especially, the obras (paintings) of Ms. Menchu Arandilla (Please check my featured post on Menchu here). So amazing!

How do you juggle your roles? What is your weekly schedule? What is your best art work? Tell us about it. Do you sell your paintings?

I just do my paintings on my free time. I don’t let it intervene with my mission work in the congregation. I paint during our evening recreation and sometimes Sunday afternoon.

The best painting I have is my second try with the oil painting, the sunflower. I took a picture of that sunflower somewhere in Tagaytay as we had our first community outing. I like sunflowers so I’m planning to paint more of it.

Before, I never thought of selling my art as I used to just give my charcoal paintings to some friends. But now I realized that I could contribute to the financial needs of our Formation and Mission Program of our Congregation. Wishing, I get to sell my art works and with the help of UWAAP (Check my UWAAP post here: Filipinas all over gather for love of art at the 1st SBMA ‘Bagong Pinay’ Arts Summit) I will fulfill my wish.

I would like to experience an art exhibit showcasing my works. This will be my first exposure to the art world and thanks to this article; she hopes to get more exposure.

What is the latest about you? Where can people view your work? Any upcoming exhibits or events you would like people to know about?   

I only started painting seriously. I just simply post it on my Facebook account. People can also just view the page of UWAAP as I also update my ongoing paintings there.

UWAAP, United Women Artists Association of the Philippines, Empowered Filipina Artists, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SMBA), 1st SBMA ‘Bagong Pinay’ Arts Summit, Ang Bagong Pinay, Pinay, Filipina, Filipina Artist, Art Summit, Women Empowerment, Art Exhibit, Interaction Painting, Philippines

UWAAP Member Artist. United Women Artists Association of the Philippines is an association of empowered Filipina artists in the Philippines and abroad.

All images courtesy of the artist.

 

Featured Artist: Marilyn Santos-De Lima

Marylyn like me started joining artist groups. In the beginning, she would just like all the art works until she started painting. A self-taught artist, guided by her Master artist friends from 4S Group Style Stroke Sketches Society made her more confident to pursue arts.

I came across Marilyn Santos-De Lima @ AFKN Filipino Art Community and viewed her albums and said to myself, she can be an inspiration to all Pinays here and abroad. So I asked her if I can feature her art journey in my blog, and she happily obliged.

Now this feature is in Tagalog and English (The same as my Featured Artist: Lord Ahzrin Bacalla post.). I try to keep the artist insights as original as possible with accompanying English translation for non-Tagalog readers. I’d like to be fair on the featured artist part, as he or she took the time out to answer their artist insights from the bottom of their hearts art journey.

A Bulaquena and a former overseas worker, who found solace in the arts, shared her art journey to me and to my blog. Enjoy!

When did you decide that you wanted to become an artist? At what age did you start? Who influenced you? What inspired you?

Ako ay isang batang laki sa iskwater at hirap sa buhay na nahihilig sa Art. Bata pa lang po ako ay mahilig na po akong magdrowing basta nakakakita ako ng lapis at papel. Mahilig din ako mag ekperimento sa larangan ng mga kraft. May kapit bahay kaming. Artist magaling siyang artist. Nauubos ang  oras ko at hindi naibebenta ang nilalako ko na paninda sa kapapanood sa kanya.

(I grew up in the slums yet I like art. I always drew when I got hold of paper and pencil. I like to experiment in crafts. We had a neighbor who was an artist back then and I would get distracted me from making sales as a street vendor when I see him paints.)

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Confessions, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Marilyn Santos-De Lima, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections

Marilyn Santos-De Lima’s art studies.

What do you specialize in when it comes to painting? Are there other art forms that you do?

Lahat ng klase ng midyum pinag-aaralan ko. Sa ngayon ay nasa oil painting na ako at sumusubok na rin sa canvas.

Pero nang napasok ako ng 4S at kinausap ng head admin, sinabihan ako na magpokus muna sa isang midyum at karamihan ng nagawa ko sa ngayon ay gawa sa pastel at colored pencil.

Sa mga gawa ko ring ‘yon ay nanalo ako bilang 1st runner-up at finalist. Nakapag-eksibit na rin sa Japan, nakapag-komisyon na rin.

Portrait ang nakakahiligan ko sa ngayon pero ang balak ko ngayong 2015 ay harapin ko na ang takot ko sa malalaking canvas at sa pintura at uumpisahan ko nang gumawa ng landscape at still-life oil man o acrylic.

(I study different kind of art mediums. I’m trying oil paintings on canvas now. Since I joined 4s, I was advised by the head admin to focus on one medium first. Prior to oil, I would use paste and colored pencil. I’ve won 1st Runner-Up and became finalist for it. I’ve also gone on exhibit in Japan and was commissioned. I like doing portraits but this 2015, I plan to face my fear of big canvases. I will start painting landscapes and still-life, in oil or acrylic.)

You worked as an OFW and then you became a businesswoman. Where did art come into the picture? How did it make it to your plans?

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Confessions, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Marilyn Santos-De Lima, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections

Marilyn Santos-De Lima’s very first Oil on Canvas 18×20.

Nag-aabrod ako at ‘pag umuuwi ako ng Pinas, hindi nawawala sa akin pagiging crafty. Madalas ako mag-sketch, (I go abroad and when I go home to the Philippines, I don’t lose being crafty. I often sketch) mostly charcoal, at ipa-freym kong mga iyon (and I have those framed).

Mahilig din ako sa (I also like) cross-stitch.

May mga gawa ako na (I have creations of) cross-stitch, 1997-1999.

Mahilig din akong mag-ayos ng bahay, simula sa kurtina (I also like to do interior design, from the curtains), center table, flower arrangement at ‘pag may handaan ay mahilig ako mag-ayos ng mga buffet settings (at parties, I also like to set the tables), simula sa (from the) table arrangement flowers, balloons, etc.

Hanggang sa nagtayo rin ako ng (Until I put up a) flower, gift shop & catering service dahil mahilig din ako sa food arts (because I’m also fond of culinary arts), hindi nga lang pinalad dahil salat sa kaalaman (it failed though because I lacked the knowledge).

Nag-aral din akong gumawa ng kandila sa (I also studied candle making at) Negoskwela at ang mentor ko ay si (where I was mentored by) Merlin Gepte anak ni (son of) Merlito Gepte, a sculpture artist.

Nagpokus naman ako sa paggawa ng kandila as sculpture at paggawa ng mga molde (I also focused on doing wax work).

Naging hanapbuhay ko rin siya sa loob ng tatlong taon pero nabuntis ako at natigil ko iyon dahil masama sa buntis ang amoy ng wax ‘pag niluluto pero patuloy pa rin ako sa pag-ukit ng wax at paggawa ng mga molde para sa mga design.

(It became my job for three years until I got pregnant and had to quit because the fumes were bad for the baby but I did it again after giving birth).

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Confessions, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Marilyn Santos-De Lima, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections

Marilyn Santos-De Lima’s portrait rendition by Filipino Master Artist Rafael Maniago.

2013, nakita ko sa (I saw here on) Facebook si Maestro Merlito Gepte. Naging friends kami (We became friends).

Sumunod naman si (Next were) Maestro Fernando Sena at (and) Julius Legaspi, mga artist sa pagpipinta (all artists who paint).

Taga-like lang ako ng mga gawa nila at simula noon (I was simply a liker of the works they posted then and from then on), unti-unti na rumami ang mga friends ko na artist painter, mga kinikilala sa larangan ng sining biswal (slowly, my painter friends multiplied until even those prominent names in the visual arts too made my friends list).

Taong ito, nakapasok na rin ako sa mga art group pero tagahanga lang nila ako at taga-like. (This year, I joined art groups but only as a fun and avid liker).

Early this year, nagdro ako at inaplowd ko sa (I drew and uploaded it on) Facebook. May mga nag-like at nag-comment (There were people who liked and commented).

Sabi ng isang artist, “Sabi ko na nga, marunong ka rin  eh.” (One of the artists said, “I knew it that you had it in you.”)

Doon ako nag-umpisang ma-encourage at magpatuloy sa paggagawa hanggang sa dumami ang mga friend kong artist at naaya akong pumasok sa isang (It was then that I got encouraged, my artist friends grew in numbers and I was persuaded to join an) Artist Group, 4S.

Napasubo akong gumawa.

Sobra pa akong takot noon sa mga kulay dahil (I was pressured. I was scared of colors because) pencil at (and) charcoal palang mga nagagawa ko (was what I only knew) pero sa tuloy-tuloy kong paggawa ay nakagawa ako ng isang obra na nagpanalo sa akin bilang (but I just went on creating until I made a masterpiece that won for me) 1st runner-up sa  (at the) tournament ng (of) 4S.

Doon na nagsimula ang lahat hanggang sa weekly na iinterbyu na ako at nirerepresent ko na ang mga artist sa grupo ko hanggang sa nagulat na lang ako at ginawa nila akong admin ng (It all started from there until I got a weekly interview {on AM radio} representing the) 4S group ni (of) Pops Noel David na (the) founder ng (of) 4S Style Stroke Sketches Society.

Nasorpresa ako nang gawin nila akong admin ng (I was surprised when they hired me as admin of) 4S.

Is there anyone else besides you in your family who is into art?

Gumuguhit din ang tatay ng nanay ko, kaya lang sa hirap ng buhay at kailangan niyang maghanap buhay nasaisang tabi niya ang (My mother’s father also drew but because he had to support the family, he had less time for the) arts.

Ang mga tiyo at tiya ko ay mahilig din. Maging tatay ko at mga kapatid ko. (My uncles, aunts, my father and my siblings are into art too).

May pamangkin din ako na nakakasabayan ko na rin sa pagguhit at pagpinta (The child of my sibling was also into drawing and painting).

Ipinasok ko siya sa (I entered the child as member of) 4S para lalo pa niyang mapagbuti (for further talent development).

Ang mga anak, ko ay mga musikero naman (My children on the other hand are into music).

They like playing instruments and vocals sa banda (in a band).

Ang pinakabata kong anak na lalake ay (My youngest son is a) dancer. Ang bunso ko na nag-iisang babae na (My youngest child and only daughter who is) six years old ay nagiging (is growing up to be a) singer, dancer, at pintor (and painter).

Artistik talaga ang pamilya namin. Iba-iba lang (Everyone in my family is an artist, only in different ways).  <Tumatawa – laughs>

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Confessions, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Marilyn Santos-De Lima, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections

This is a piece of art work she won 1st Runner Up on 3rd Anniversary Painting Contest called “Pinay in Japan.”

Are there any regrets in your life in the path you chose now?

Wala naman akong (I don’t have any) regrets kasi lahat naman ng nangyayari sa buhay natin ay may rason, may kanya-kanyang (because everything happens for a reason and a) purpose.

Pero kung mayroon man, hayun siguro ay ang maaga akong nagkaanak dahil hindi ko na-enjoy ang kabataan ko dahil sa hirap. Lahat ng puwede kong gawing source of income ko para makaahon ang pamilya ko, ginawa ko.

(If there was, that would be my becoming a mother at an early age. I didn’t enjoy my childhood because I needed to work extra hard to address my family’s needs and lift us all from poverty).

Kaya ‘di ko naipagpatuloy pag-aaral ko (That’s why I wasn’t able to finish school). Panganay kasi ako (I am the eldest child of my parents).

Although may trabaho si Tatay (my Dad had work), malaki ang pamilya namin, hindi sumasapat (but we have a big family and what he earned wasn’t enough).

Masalimuot ang kabataan ko subalit kailangan nating mag-(I had a rough childhood but we all must) move on to live in this world na makabuluhan (with meaning).

How does art make you feel?

Malaking bagay ang art sa akin (Art means a lot to me).

Nagiging masaya ako nakakalimutan ko ang mga problema ko ‘pag nakakatapos ako ng Obra ko at na uplowd ko na siya sa (It makes me happy and forget my problems especially when I finish a Masterpiece of mine and I upload it on) Facebook.

Nakikita ko ang mga (When I see the likes at (and) comments, sobrang saya ko na (that gives me much joy already).

Kapag may nagtitiwala sa akin at nagpapagawa ng (When someone trusts me to do their) portrait nila, sobrang saya ko (that gives me so much joy).

What is your best work? Favorite work? Most acclaimed/awarded work? You’re best achievement?

Sa ngayon po, baguhan pa lang po kasi ako. Ang masasabi ko lang na (I’m just new to all this that’s why I can say that my) best para sa akin ay ’yong pagkapanalo ko bilang (is when I won) 1st runner-up, ‘yong mga (my) exhibits ko sa (in) Japan at ‘yong (and my) portrait ng (of the) first family na gawa ko (that I did).

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Confessions, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Marilyn Santos-De Lima, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections

Her first exhibit held in Shinjuku Tokyo Japan at Mama Aki’s Ihawanshinjuku Kabukicho.

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Marilyn Santos-De Lima’s first commission work.

You do PR work now. How is it so far?

Nakakatuwa (I feel happy).

Naging (I became) PR  Admin ako agad sa (in a short time to our) group namin sa 4S.

Eto kasi si (All because) Pops natuwa sa akin kasi daw (believes I am the group’s) lucky charm ako. <laughs>

Hindi ko inisip ‘yon kasi para sa akin kung ano man ang tagumpay na mayroon ako ngayon ay tinatanaw kong malaking utang na loob kay (I don’t let it get to my head because whatever success I enjoy now, I owe it all to) Pops Noel David at sa mga (and to the) members ng (of) 4S, lalo na kay (especially to) Sir Norberto Villez, Tani Santos, Maryrose Soriano, Armar Ramirez, Marko Bello, Fher Mission, kasi sila ang nag-ga-(because they) guide sa akin (me) ‘pag may mga (when I have a) question ako.

Sa totoo lang, wala talaga akong kaalam-alam.

Basta guhit lang ako ng guhit (In truth, I don’t know anything. I just draw and draw). ‘Yong mga (All those) terms na (such as) medium grid, freehand, etc. <laughs>

Sa labas naman ng grupo namin, lubos akong (Outside the group, I’m also very) thankful kasi napasok din ako ng (because I also got to be a member of) ArtPhil.

Kina (To) Buhay Mendoza, Budz Convocar, Arturo Cruz, Joel Ferraris, Fidel Sarmiento, Matthius Garcia, na sinabihan akong ituloy ko lang ang paggawa ko kasi walang mali sa art, lahat tama basta galing sa puso (who advised me to continue my craft because there is no wrong or right in art, as long as it comes from the heart).

Sa (To) foreign artist na si Jesse Quintanilla na (who) step-by-step tinuruan din ako (taught me too), si (to) Sir Lito Ballaran na nagtiyagang mag-crop ng work ko (who had the patience to crop my work), kay (to) Mestro Rafael Maniago na napaka-(who’s very) down to earth sa kabila ng kasikatan niya (even if he’s famous) managed to guide and teach me, kay (to) Aubrey Pabuhat Yano, para sa mga (for her) artist na connections niya sa (in) Japan sa (for the) commercial ng mga gawa naming (of our art works), kay (to) Ma’am Nitz Cea na (a fellow) art enthusiast  na nag-(who did) encourage me na mag-(to do a) weekly DJ job on Radio Net Japan Tokyo Raydio Filipino, that got me appointed by Pops Noel David as Public Relations officer  kasi madaldal daw ako at mahilig daw makipag(because they say I am talkative and love to) communicate <laughs>.

Mahirap ang PR work (is hard) sa grupo namin na (in our group) 4S kasi may mga baguhang papasok (because there are newbies who join).

Need mo silang i-(to) guide (them), Minsan personal works ko nabibitin gawin kasi need kong gawin ang task ko as PR pero masaya kasi marami akong nakikilalang bagong kaibigan (Sometimes I sacrifice my time to finish my paintings just to attend to the needs of my PR job but it’s fun because I get to meet many new friends).

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Confessions, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Marilyn Santos-De Lima, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections

SEMI Finalist out of 28 entry’s on a Precious Child Tournament.

Do you get to travel? As an OFW, have your experiences in foreign soil influenced your art? What countries have you been to? Did you do any painting while there?

Sa pag-aabrod (When I was) in 90s, naikot namin ang (was able to travel around) Asia like Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Hong Kong as group at mahilig akong bumili ng mga (and I loved to buy) art works.

From 1999 to 2002, I was as an Overseas Performing Artist or OPA in Japan.

Mahilig pa rin akong mag-(I still loved to) sketch at mag-(and to) design doon (there).

I did Design ‘pag may (at every) event ang (of our) company.

Minsan may isang (Once there was a) Japanese na natuwa sa akin dahil sa (who liked my) sketch ko sa (on) table napkin.

My works were requested and then I was invited to an exhibit where I saw works of D’ Vinci Monet Picasso etc.

Nagulat talaga ako at sobrang tuwa ko (I was really surprised and overjoyed).

The Japanese offered if I wanted to pursue further studies on painting but it was not on my itinerary and so I forgot about it.

What are your future plans for the next five years? Any upcoming significant event to you that you would like to promote?

Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Confessions, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Confessions, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Marilyn Santos-De Lima, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections

Please support our own and watch her radio show, Raydio Filipino Tokyo.

Gusto ko makagawa ng isang Obra na kikilalanin talaga at makakatulong sa mga kapwa ko (Filipino Artist) para sa Bansa natin (I want to create something that will really be big internationally and will benefit our fellow Filipino Artists and the Philippines).

Sa (On) January 10,zd may (we have an) exhibit, 4S Group Artists entitled Abbygale in Style Stroke Sketches Society” at Four Seasons, Tokyo, Japan.

Panoorin ninyo rin po sana kami tuwing Sabado (Please also tune in to watch us every Saturday), 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Raydio Filipino Tokyo Radio net where I am co-DJ, sa paghahangad na maipakilala ang sining nating mga Filipino sa buong mundo (who aims to promote our Filipino art worldwide).

 

All images are courtesy of Marilyn Santos-De Lima unless noted otherwise.

Feel free to contact Marilyn (Apple D Apps) via Facebook.

 

Featured Artist: Marivel Mari-Galang

HER ART is her way to experience the pleasure and fulfilment that comes with the positive creation concept of colors, textures, techniques and evolution of form from its start to end. This dedicated homemaker of a banker found peace of mind and her heart rooted in art while keeping a watchful eye on her children who constantly dote on her. She is presently the founding member and treasurer of UWAAP (United Women’s Art Association of the Philippines).

Her challenging health that she suffered while she was a student and the sacrifices of her art career and being a mother to two kids may have been a cross that she had to bear all these years but she stands firm and is happy with her footing.

She is a veteran of painting circles, and has joined many art exhibits. She also sits as a judge and mentor to different workshops and painting competitions. She has showcased her works in numerous venues and sold pieces that made it internationally.

Jenny’s Serendipity’s featured artist’s is Marivel Mari-Galang. Get to know her art journey and how she was inspired by the divine:

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“BEAUTIFUL” – Experimental Series #1 May2012… Beauty is how you perceive ART around us. Challenges in life will make and break us. At the end of the day, stand tall and move on gracefully with Heaven’s boundless Love & Blessings to share along. Simplicity is indeed a Beauty with depth… — at ArtAsia Gallery, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong Philippines.. MAY 17 – 31, 2012…

You are a veteran already in the visual arts circle. You sound like a lucky lady surviving all those years with art alone. How has it been for you? Describe your saga and triumphs in the pursuit of this passion you have carved as a sideline career, being a full-time mother and wife.

Oh, seems like a veteran to be there by just doing and loving what I created, creating, allowing the viewers, and time to tell na lang.

Lucky? Blessed enough with what I’ve been through had no shortcuts; then, I turned my mindset creatively and enjoyed my early days in FINE ARTS that I majored in Painting at PWU, which challenged me to do better each day just to prove to my late beloved father my choice has made me happier and there’s really life in Art.

At first, it wasn’t easy. Our professors then will just gave us lectures and the rest you have do it yourself. You show your work, and will only guide you once and your next artworks outcome will be your grade na.sobrang (too much) freedom ibibigay sa’yo (they will give to you), kaya dapat ‘wag kang makuntento (you get a lot of slack from the professor but you shouldn’t be contented). You must ask and ask until the deadline is not near yet; or else, you’ll enjoy your grades from 1, 2, 3, and 5. You get a failing grade or better yet, repeat the plates and stay like an owl finishing your plates to get excellent or favorable grades than failed…WE used to have sleepless nights just to pass…

Later part, our school then allowed students to join several art competitions, on the spot, interschool, local, and international, representing our respective schools. You can be lucky to bag grand prizes even honorables etc, wow na wow talaga, you’ll get flat uno, exemptions to all subjects and Dean’s Lister’s. Then, dito lang ako nag-enjoy ng sobra-sobra noong kabataang estudyante ako. (Only here, I enjoyed my studies)

But my health suffered sa kapupuyat (for staying up late). Got sick due to kung sa sipag at tiyaga (patience and hard work) with my artworks since I never say no to it. That is only when I slowed down because of my health.

I learned a lot in the school of art, with schoolmates who turned buddies, professors, different people, from the vendors, janitors – kasi (because) we need them for our plate subjects. Reaching out to the masa, kasama ‘yan sa sining or else kulang ang pagiging isang tunay na pagiging artist (working with art aren’t complete if you don’t deal with the masses). ‘Yan, I learned (that), and deeper pa.

When I won the grand prize at the Folk Arts experience in 1980 and others, I felt the beauty of victory, na para bang mag-(that even if I) hybernated man ako, mayroon akong babalikan, itutuloy at iiwanang mabuting legacy sa kids ko, naging students, sa young generations, mapulutan man lang ng inspirasyon sa simpleng buhay sining aking nakayanan. (I will have something to return to and leave a legacy for my children and to all my students).

I was still single and a student when everything then was so easy at home even with the absence of my mother, my late father’s heroic supportiveness to me made me enjoy my art journey further.

Married life made me understand fully my stand to my commitment at home as a wife, and as a mom. I asked myself: What if I can’t find a trustworthy house helper anymore to assist me with house chores, etc.? Will I quit being married or go on with life, but then again I told myself NO to selfishness momentarily. My decision to be a hands-on-mom and ever supportive wife-partner to my one and only hubby will go on with God’s grace.

I made diskarte then that ART won’t leave my system. I do summer art workshops at different schools, home studios, galleries, at church and for our community. There’s decent life with art. Whatever happened then, I survived with realistic adjustment in life and willingness to stand up for every failure. The creativity turned out to be very productive in my life.

You mentioned that you offered an entire exhibit to the Lord. Are you a pastor’s wife? How old are your kids now? Are they also into art? How does your husband support your craft?

Thou ART in Me” was titled that way, not because I’m a pastor’s daughter or wife, DAHIL (because) it’s my way of gratefulness, THANKSGIVING to our GOD; The Giver, Blessor of everything. It’s my way of paying forward for the gifts and talent entrusted to us, so it’s fine with me having it sold, reserved or no sale at all. It’s alright with me.

I’m blessed with two children: my eldest is 25 – Hannah, who is a registered Interior Designer and part-time faculty at CSB. While David, my youngest is 21, is still in school finishing Multi-Media Arts. He doesn’t have many classes though because of his health condition but he’s into MMA- Multi Media Arts here in Southville. Both my children have art interest too. Both in a more techy way but they do freehand works as well.

My husband is in corporate banking and officer to one of our country’s top 5 although by profession, he is a Licensed Civil-Structural Engineer. God hath been so good enough to us, even we started as family from little, and my faith in having a talent and proper education made us live simple beginnings. Yes, my hubby supports me by driving, bringing me to my workshops, exhibits, and buys me art materials when I lack budget for my art stuff. It’s optional, not by force though. He’s my number one critic too. He is very good at reading people and their actions.

You teach art to poor children. You studied at PWU (Philippine Women’s University). Was there a point in time that you considered to join the academe full-time as art teacher to elementary students?

Marivel Mari-Galang, Art, Art for Sale, Art Profile, Artist, Artist Insights, Artist Journey, Artist Profile, Artist Reflections, Featured Artist, Filipina Artist, Philippines, Pinay Artist, Reflections, Artist Confessions

Joyful Moment with these beautiful kids ages 2yo to 6yo this Artsy at Le Louis Learning Center Inc…

There are too many talented but under-privileged kids, special, or disabled kids that I teach part time as per my doctor friends requests, and part of their art therapy and advocacies. It’s more on volunteerism projects.

Yes, there was a time I was a sub-art teacher at Brent School, Pasig. They hired me for full-time but I cannot sacrifice time looking after my kids and just leaving them with their nannies or house helpers. I could not leave my son because he had seizures with seasonal asthma every time the weather changes.

My daughter always had sad moments when I left them after a 10 hour day. She had flu due to tonsillitis from feasting on all the sweets in the kitchen when I was gone. And she was crying the whole time while she was devouring all the candies, ice cream, chocolates and cookies that she could find. I felt so bad for my kids being home alone without me.

I couldn’t afford to be working full-time teaching other kids while my own at home were having problems. I cannot trust nannies because my kids got bruised and bumps sometimes that the pediatrician advised that an adult must stay home to watch over the children.

Those were the times I received many jobs invitations, even to Singapore as a children art teacher to their in progress museum and part-time visual artist way back 1995 to 2000. But family and my kids matter most over career, fame, and money. After all, it’s all worth it. No amount of money will equate my kids’ progress and quality in character. I didn’t compromise my kids and family’s welfare.

I do business with Rustan’s as part-time designer and supplier. Plus, I manage a transportation business to school service where my kids then had their primary to middle, and high schools. Somehow I can watch and take care of my family with little business to help. Plus, as part-time art teacher to selected schools as my way to stay in the arts and help our family breadwinner as well. Teaching is ongoing, all year round for me.

What was your first masterpiece and when did you create it?

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“Playtime with Greens”..18×24..Acrylic on Canvass..1980..5th of March..,30 yrs old painting..This is her gift to her late beloved Father.. Framed simply, box typed black paint by the late sir IBARRA dela Rosa, one of her mentor and professor at PWU-CMFA…Her Father and Prof/mentor has gone but this painting is still with her hanging in her workplace that serves as her inspiration to go on..

Wow, this is so sentimental. I really had an artwork titled “Masterpiece.”  It’s a heavenly image, the style was so tedious but ended like a 3d effect on canvas, we had it exhibited our three-woman show – “TROIKA,” sometime 1981-1982. After our exhibit, we brought it home and somebody bought it flew with it to Canada! I’m still trying to find some saved photos of my artworks way back, hoping to find them around soon. I called, titled my serious artworks my “MASTERPIECE.” The playful ones are my plates with a heart in it too.

What is your most cherished work and why?

That is my daughter Hannah’s unfinished portrait when she was four to five years old, in oil and acrylic, 1995. It was my first portrait of her anticipating how she will look like when aged 18 and above. It’s still with us and she treasured it much.

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Marivel Mari-Galang 1994 Unfinished Oil Painting on canvas. Her daughter Hannah was only 5 years old. She pictured here how she’ll be as grown up. She found this hidden with her other treasured art pieces.

Your paintings make it to homes in four countries. How so? Describe this entrepreneurial achievement.

My early days in college were really a bigtime for me. I was lucky due to my late father’s friends’ friends, relatives who used to visit us at home. They would see my artworks all over the garage, the backyard loan, and all over the walls of our home. They will just pick and ask me when I reach home from school. They will reserve it as gifts for their homes and some flew with them to Canada, California, Vegas, Australia, and Hawaii; even around the Philippines, including Visayas and Mindanao.

When I was a student artist, I only sold two pieces at a group exhibits and the prices then were low. Chamba ang benta (You sell with luck). Sometimes people will request me and order and then there are times I will just give my works away as gifts. Entrepreneurial achievement is most likely doable and workable. I survive via commission for a portrait. For my HG Interiors package, it’s like more on half mural and mural sizes selectively. I don’t paint thinking of money.

I paint and create because I love it then when prospective owners buyers come, they will come even when you’re sleeping. You’ll find their messages on their requests and orders. One must learn how to save and reproduce for the next journey. When you have the right attitude, timing and vibes, even without a handler, it is possible to have decent entrepreneurial achievement by being with the right people and at the right places.

What is your expertise when painting? What are your favorite subjects?

I’m into Abstraction, non-rep. My favorite subject then was leaves. Using my playfulness in tech colors, I spread them around my canvas into different forms, reinventing mixtures of colors and textures, that’s how I create.

Who are your influences, local and foreign when you thought of going the route of an artist, which you realized in your high school days?

Influences here were my father’s nun cousin. I saw one of her oil painting – still life of a San Francisco plant. She visited us after her workshop from Amorsolo, and then I told myself, someday, I will be painting too.

My father smiled at me and said – “Pang-hobby lang ‘yan anak.. Magpaturo ka sa auntie mo or mag-CCP (Cultural Center of the Philippines) ka.” (That’s only good as a hobby. Ask your aunt to teach you or enroll at CCP).

I remembered what my father said from the start of my art journey till my dream came true. An artist will always be an artist. Agelessly, local masters, almost all of them: Van Gogh, Matisse, Joan Miro, and Glee inspire me.

What is a regular day like for you?

Mondays to Fridays are my regular days. Being a hands-on-mom, homemaker, little business errands, family matters, always a supportive partner to my hubby, kids, and friends like family in the art and outside. Saturdays are meant for workshops and art activities. Sunday is our Lord’s Day with family and bonding.

As a part of UWAAP, an active judge and mentor at art competitions and coaching poor kids in the arts, are there any events you might want to plug? 

2015 will be a fully loaded year.  UWAAP will be turning ONE Year this 11th of JANUARY. There are some scheduled celebration and this to be announced soon. (Check my UWAAP post here: Filipinas all over gather for love of art at the 1st SBMA ‘Bagong Pinay’ Arts Summit).

FEBRUARY  18 –  I was asked to head judging the annual PDA, poster making contest nationwide for elementary levels, venue to be announced since this will be an on the spot competitions.

MARCH – I am getting ready for a women’s month long invitational group exhibit by another friend.

MAY – Mother & Son exhibit for Mother’s Day and followed by my 2nd SOLO Woman Art Exhibit, venue update will follow soon.

Upcoming outside the country group exhibit too, almost after every two months my two art groups have exhibits scheduled. Still need to double check for the times.

UWAAP, United Women Artists Association of the Philippines, Empowered Filipina Artists, Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SMBA), 1st SBMA ‘Bagong Pinay’ Arts Summit, Ang Bagong Pinay, Pinay, Filipina, Filipina Artist, Art Summit, Women Empowerment, Art Exhibit, Interaction Painting, Philippines

UWAAP Member Artist. United Women Artists Association of the Philippines is an association of empowered Filipina artists in the Philippines and abroad.

All images are courtesy of Marivel Mari-Galang.

To contact the artist, please feel free to like her Facebook page. 

Featured Artist: Lord Ahzrin Bacalla

SHEER GRIT and TALENT in painting is what got one kid visual artist, Lord Azhrin D. Bacalla, closer to his dreams after being discovered and sponsored to his schooling now at Navotas Science High School.

It is his dream to inspire all Filipino kids to dream big and never give up.

According to our Facebook chat, he mentioned that with hard work and determination, he knows one day he will succeed in life as a painter.

It is in the Philippine Horticultural Society Inc (PHSI) ART COMPETITION 2013 where he got the chance to learn art from Master Artist Fernando Serna. He asked if he could use his 2 art workshop stubs to be able to attend his art classes.  He said, no problem, you are an art scholar for life.

Follow Jennifer Bichara’s board Filipino Artist: Lord Ahzrin Bacalla on Pinterest.

This article is the longest article I have done and this is the most personal.  I have never met such a kid like Ahzrin with so much grit for the love of his art.  I am practically close to 3,000 words and I could not edit it down.  All I want is for this kid to succeed and I know he will. I sent him a couple interview questions for his artist insights and this is what he said:

You’re so young. Only 13 years old. Grade 8 in High School. At what age did you start painting? Who or what influenced you to pursue it?

Bata pa lang po ako mahilig na akong mag-drawing.  (I love drawing since I was a child.) (I was) Nine-years-old po ako nang una akong sumali sa isang (when I first joined an) on the spot poster making contest. Luckily, nanalo po ako ng (I won) second place.  Simula po noon, nagustuhan ko ng sumali sa mga (Since then, I liked joining) drawing and poster making competitions sa (with the) guidance ng papa ko na si (of my father) Dario Bacalla.  Marami po akong sinalihan na mga (I joined many) drawing competitions, simula sa (from) school napunta sa mga (to) district competitions, division level, NCR, regional at (and) international.  Kadalasan masuwerte naman po ako na nananalo. (I’m lucky to win, most of the time.)

His first time to join a drawing competion at 9 yrs. old.

His first time to join a drawing competion at 9 yrs. old.

Follow Jennifer Bichara’s board Filipino Artist: Lord Ahzrin Bacalla on Pinterest.

Gusto ko pong magkaroon ng isang  (I want to have) formal art lesson or makaranas ng mga (experience) art workshop, pero  hindi naming kaya na mag-(but we can’t afford to) enroll sa mga ganoon (to it) dahil sapat lang po ang kinikita ni (because) Papa para sa mga (only earns enough for our) needs naminAkala ko noon hanggang pangarap na lang pero isang araw dumating ang (I thought that I could only dream about this until it arrived, the) opportunity.  Nakita ni Papa ang isang (saw an) announcement online na magkakaroon ng (that a) drawing contest bukod sa (was going to take place and the) cash prize at (and) art materials, magkakaroon ng (there will also be) free summer art workshop ang mananalo (for the winners) sponsored by Rotary Club of Makati-Pasong Tamo at (and the) Art Discovery and Learning Foundation, Inc. ni (of) Sir Fernando Sena ang (the) Father of the Philippine Art Workshop. Naging (I was) first place po ako out of more than a hundred participants. Masayang-masaya po ako. (I was very happy). Nagsimula ang (My) Free Summer Art Workshop ko (started) April 2012.  Sa (At the) summer art workshop, isa po ako sa naging (I was one of those who became) outstanding student ni (of) Sir Sena, at dahil sa nakita niya daw po sa akin ang tiyaga at determinasyon kinuha na niya akong scholar niya sa pagpipinta. (and because he saw the patience and determination in me, he took me in as scholar in painting.) Isa po ako sa maraming (I am one of the many) under-priviledged children na binigyan niya ng (he gave) opportunity na maipagpatuloy at ma-(to continue and) develop ang talent sa pagpipinta (in painting).  Kaya ngayon po ay tuloy-tuloy pa rin akong nagsasanay sa kanya. (That is why I continue my training with him.)

You’ve won two international competitions and was awarded by the NCAA    because of it. Tell us about these experiences. Who urged you to join internationally? What were the themes of your winning works?

 **UNGEI Drawing Contest 2012-2013.  Ang UNGEI (United Nations Global Education Initiative) ay isang (is a) branch ng UNESCO.

The theme was:   “What can a teacher do to ensure girls and boys benefit equally from quality  education?”

*Isa po ako sa mga nanalo (I was one of the winners) in over 800 entries in the Asia Pacific Region.

**The 2013 International Drawing Competition by YUNGA (Youth United Nations and Global Alliance) had the theme: “Protecting our Fisheries Inheriting a Healthier World.”

*I finished at Second Place in the Under 11-15 years old category. I won in over 1000 entries from 50 different  countries.

Dahil po sa pag-encourage sa akin ni Papa, nagpadala po ako ng entry outside the country at hindi po ako natatakot ipakita ang kakayahan ko dahil palagi nasa tabi ko si Papa. (Because of Papa’s encouragement, I sent an entry internationally and I am not scared to compete because he is very supportive of me.) Dahil po dito, (Because of this, on) February 2, 2014 ay naging (I became an) awardee po ako sa (at the) 6th ANI NG DANGAL ng (of the) NCCA for achieving the highest level of excellence in the field of visual arts. At para po sa akin, isa po iyon malaking karangal at  (And for me, that is one big honor and) inspiration para lalo kong pagbutihin ang aking ginagawa (to keep improving what I am doing).

You are a student of Navotas Science High School and yet, you are inclined towards the arts. How does that work for you?

 As a student of Navotas Science High School, I balance my time in studying and painting.  But I give more priority to my studies, since I’m in a special science class and I have a certain grade to maintain. I must see to it that I get excellent grades.

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Is your inclination towards painting a prelude that you will be taking up Fine Arts in college? 

Yes. Gusto ko po talagang kumuha ng kursong (I really want to take up the course) Fine Arts at sana po matupad ‘yon (and I hope it comes true). Sana maging (I hope to become an) academic scholar ako.

What was your first masterpiece when you started as a painter? And what was your first winning piece?

Hindi pa po ako talagang nagpipinta noon eh. (I wasn’t really painting before.) (I was in) Grade 3 po ako, (at) nine years old noong unang manalo (when I first won). Iyong unang (My first) winning piece ko po may (had the) theme na: “Pangangalaga sa Wika at Kalikasan, Wagas na Pagmamahal  Talagang Kailangan” (True Love Is Really Needed to Preserve Language and Nature).

What is your most important work? Most awarded?

Bukod po sa dalawang napanalunan ko sa (Aside from my two wins from) UNGEI (UNESCO) at (and) YUNGA, maituturing ko po na ‘yong ginawa ko sa (I consider what I did at the) on the spot painting competition ng (of) Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) last December 13, 2014 na napasama (that made it) as finalist  ay (as my) most awarded. Ito po ‘yong obra na (It’s my masterpiece with the) title ko po ay “Don’t Look at Me.”  Kasi po nakasama ko po ‘yong maraming magagaling na artist. Ang iba pa po sa kanila mga hinahangaan ko po.  Kaya po nang mapasama po ako as finalist kahit hindi po nanalo ay isang malaking karangalan na po sa akin at ako po ‘yong pinakabatang sumali doon at napabilang sa finalist. (I didn’t win but I was a finalist and I felt honored being the youngest and meeting professionals and my idols there was a privilege for me already.)

Lord Ahzrin Bacalla and Sir Fernando Serna

Lord Ahzrin Bacalla and Sir Fernando Serna, Master Teacher

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Acrylic, Oil, Soft Pastel, Oil Pastel; Hyperrealism, Portrait, Still-life, Surrealism. What drew you to do these and choose these forms of art?

Noong hindi pa po ako (When I wasn’t a) scholar sa (yet in the) painting class ni (of) Sir Fernando Sena, madalas ko pong gamitin ay  (I often used) oil pastel dahil pamilyar na po ako sa (because I was already familiar with that) medium na ‘yon.  At sa mga (And at) on the spot contest(s) po na sinasalihan ko, kadalasan (that I joined, often) oil pastel po ang (is the) medium na ipinagagamit nila (that they make us use). Sa pagtuturo po ni (In the teachings of) Sir Sena at ng kanyang (and his) staff, unti-unti kong natutunan ang iba’t-ibang (I learn piece by piece various) painting medium(s), na sinasabayan ko rin po ng pagbabasa, ‘pag re-(that I reinforce with reading when I do) research at panonood (and viewing) online kung paano gamitin ang iba’t-ibang klase ng (how to use the different) painting medium(s). Saka nagtatanong-tanong din po ako sa ibang (I also ask my) FB friends ko na (who are also) artist(s).

Pinag-aaralan ko ang iba’t-ibang (I study various) painting style(s) para matuto po ako at i-(so I will learn and) challenge ko po ang sarili ko sa kung ano ‘yong mga kaya kong gawin (to know myself and what else I can do).  Saka po sabi po ni Sir Sena (told me) bago lumipat ng ibang (before you jump to a different) style dapat po alam mo na or na-(you should have learned and) perfect mo na ang ibang (the prior) style of painting na gusto  mong malaman (that you wanted to learn).

“3 of his favorite paintings”

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What is your most cherished work? Your favorite and why?

Sa mga nagawa ko na po, tatlo ang (Among my works, I have three) favorite(s) ko. Sa (From my) series ko po ng “I Am Beautiful” ang (my) favorite ko po ay ‘yong (is) Classic Red Lip, ito kasi ang kauna-unang gamit ko ng (because it’s my first) oil paint at kauna-unahan kong paggawa ng (and my first try at) hyperrealism. Isa po siyang (It’s a) photo shot na nakita ko at ipininta (that I saw and painted).  Isa pa po ay ‘yong (Another is) “Me and my Teddy.”  Natutuwa po kasi ako sa kapatid kong lalaki sa hilig niya sa teddy bear. Kapag natatakot siya, natutuwa  at sa pagtulog lagi niya, yakap ang teddy niya. Kaya lang ‘yong painting ko po na iyon ay ginawa kong girl version. (I was inspired by my kid brother’s fondness for his teddy bear. I painted it but a female version of him.) At ang isa ko pa pong (My other) favorite ay ‘yong katatapos ko lang na (is my recently done work) “Holding My Time”.  Kasi po (Because) part of me was represented in the painting – ‘yon pong kapag may (when) opportunity, ‘wag pong palampasin, hawakan mo po ang mga oras na nabibigyan ka ng pagkakataon ipakita at pagbutihin ‘yong mga ginagawa mo (comes to you, grab it and do your best to make it worth it).

Lord Ahzrin Bacalla, Ahzrin Bacalla, Artist, Art, Filipino Artist, Pinoy Artist, Artist Journey, Featured Artist, Artist Profile, Art Profile, Artist Reflections, Artist Insights, Philippines, Art for Sale, Reflections

Preparing for his
” PROTEKTADO AKO LABAN SA DROGA”
poster making contest.

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Aside from you, is there any artist in your family? How has your parents nurtured or supported the artist in you?

Wala pong ibang (There’s no other) artist sa pamilya namin maliban sa akin (in our family, but me).  Pero si (But) Papa ko ay marunong din mag-(knows some) drawing. Dati pangarap niya rin kumuha ng kursong Fine Arts (was also once his dream) at magpinta pero hindi niya nakuha ang suporta ng magulang niya (and painting, but he didn’t get the support of his parents).  Kaya po ngayon, sila ni (That’s why he and) Mama ay ibinibigay nila ang (now give me their) full support nila sa akin.  Kahit na po minsan (Even sometimes it’s) out of budget na pinipilit nilang i-(they find a way to) provide ang mga pangangailangan ko sa pagpipinta lalo na noong nagsisimula pa lang po ako (my needs in painting, especially when I was still starting).Hindi ko naman din po sinasayang ang suporta na ibinibigay ng (I don’t waste the support of my) parents ko. Mahal ko po at pinagbubuti  ang ginagawa ko. Nakikita ko kung paano nila pinaghihirapan at nagsasakripisyo  para lang po maibili ako ng mga gamit ko sa pagpipinta.  Kaya po kahit may ilang nagsabi sa akin na pangmayaman lang daw ang pagpipinta, hindi ko po ‘yon pinapasin.  (I love what I do so I don’t waste the sacrifces of my folks just to buy the materials that I need in painting. Even if others discourage us because they say painting is only for the rich.) Sabi ng iba, kung wala daw po kaming pera para makapag-exhibit, hindi rin makikilala ang mga gawa ko kaya balewala daw po. (They say that if we cannot afford an exhibit, it is useless because my works will not be known). Mas pinaniniwalaan ko po si (I believe more in my) Papa. Magiging (I will be) successful ako. Sabi kasi niya, ang success daw wala sa nakukuha mo agad ang gusto mo, kundi nandoon po sa kung ano ang mga paghihirap na dinaanan mo para makamit  mo yung goal mo (My father said that it’s not about getting to your goal the easy way, but the climb).  Kaya pagdating ng panahon ‘pag nakatapos na po ako sa pag-aaral at nakilala na ang mga gawa ko, ako naman ang magbibigay ng mga kailangan ng parents ko saka ng mga kapatid ko. (When I finish school and become successful, I will be the one to help my family.)

Where do you see yourself five years from now? Any major event you want to plug? Do you sell your paintings?

Five years from now po, malamang po “kontisero” pa rin ako (I’ll still be a contestant in painting competitions. <laughs>Tuloy -uloy po akong  sasali sa mga (I will continue to join) contest(s) hanggat puwede ako at may pagkakataon, manalo man or matalo, (win or lose, I will join if I can) kasi sa bawat (because for every) contest  na sinasalihan ko ay natututo ako at nakakakilala ng mga bagong kaibigan (I learn something new and I meet new friends).  Siyempre po, nasa tabi ko pa rin ‘yong mga kaibigan na tumulong at nagmalasakit sa akin. Hindi ko sila iiwan.  (Of course, I will still be there for my friends who stayed with me on the way. I won’t leave them behind.) At higit sa lahat, isa na po ako sa mga (I have high hopes that I will be an) assistant ni (of) Sir Sena. Kasi pipilitin ko siya. (Because I will insist.) <laughs> Ise-(I will)share ko ‘yong (my) talent ko dahil sabi nga po ni (because) Sir Sena binigay ng Diyos ‘yon at hindi dapat sinasarili kundi ibinabahagi (said it’s God-given and meant to be shared), lalo na’po sa mga bata na may talento pero walang kakayahan na magbayad sa (especially for poor kids who win the chance to be in) painting class or art workshops.  Tuloy-tuloy po akong mag-aaral para mapalawak ang kaalaman ko. gusto ko kasing mag-inspire ng mga bata. Gusto ko po na hindi nila iisipin ang isang bagay na mahirap gawin. Basta enjoy lang po nila at isang araw makakatulong din sila sa pamilya nila. (I will continue my studies to better myself and I aim to inspire other poor kids to rise from poverty by doing what they love. Just enjoy and give their best and they can give back to their families later and help others too.)

Opo. ‘Yong mga (Yes, I sell my) paintings ko po ay binebenta ko, kasi po ‘yong napagbentahan ko po part of it ay ibinibili ko rin ng gamit ko sa pagpipinta (because I use the money for my studies and painting materials).  Mahal po kasi mga gamit sa painting. Ang iba po ay isine-save ko para sa amin ng mga kapatid ko. Mahal na mahal ko po kasi sila eh kahit makukulit. (Painting materials can be expensive. I also share my savings with my beloved siblings. They can be naughty at times but I love them very much.) <laughs> ‘Yong iba po minsan itinutulong ko sa mga gastusin sa bahay, kusang-loob ko po ‘yon binibigay sa magulang ko. (I also try to help with the monetary needs at home so I volunteer to shelf out money when my parents are short of cash).

All images are courtesy of Lord Ahzrin Bacalla.

To contact the artist, please send a friend request @ Facebook, or call him at 09335318224 / 09224716128 or via his emails:

Lets all support this kid fulfill his dream.

Featured Artist: Heidi Rodriguez

Her renderings of her subjects embody whimsical and playful presentation of colors. Strong portrayals of mixed cross-cultural elements can also be observed. Avid or not, she so strongly emphasizes the masks behind human existence, like imprints that lack the shadows, and depth of gradation challenged by man’s inability to love and hope. The interplay of colors represent irises ceilings men build their foundations on, that is a life of fantastical sheer joy and full providence sans suffering. The brighter her art, the sadder and more melancholic she is. An extreme opposition to what many critics think that bright hues, shades or tints manifest happiness equivocal to its thesauri synonyms.

Heidi Rodriguez is a self-taught artist who is highly influenced by Afro-Asian and Mexican Art. She mentored in the university for 14 years but left the world of education because of extreme politics and unchristian ways. Crippled for three years because of a neuro-muscular disease during her teaching career, she devoted her time painting after being declared an invalid for life.  Despite her trials and tribulations in life as a single parent raising an only son, her illness and being a full time artist; she managed to rise from the ashes.  She is what I call,  Freda Kahlo of the Philippines.

Get to know how Heidi’s paints her dreams via Jenny’s Serendipity set of interview questions.

Enjoy!

Heidi Rodriguez, Art, Artist, Art Profile, Art For Sale, Pinay Artist, Filipina Artist, Reflections, Artist Reflections, Whimsical Art, Tribal Art, Cross-Cultural Art, Fantastical Art, Tam Awan Artist, Baguio Artist, Painter, Modern Art, Modernist, Philippines

Mitch (a former student) and Heidi with her painting, Grand Monarch of Revelries, Acrylic 2014 Via Michel Ranges/Facebook.

Can you say that your paintings through the years are the fulfillment of that dream considering you studied AB in English? 

Well, yes and no.  My dream as a child was to be become a very happy painter.  For some reason, that did not materialize. Painting through the years became my therapy.   I tried to painting as a form of a balm for human suffering, an escape to reality.  The late Santi Bose once told me that painting was not existentially provident but passionately fulfilling.  He gave me an advice to finish school then pursue art when I finished.  So I took an AB English course initially in preparation for law school which did not also materialize. Thus, I ended up teaching and taking units in education and a Master’s in College Teaching.  In Painting however, to create something after hours of labor is as fulfilling as holding a diploma in your hands because it affects people in many ways.

How is it to be a college teacher?

Teaching in college was great and fun. It had its downsides like “Hitlery” bosses, deadlines, stress and its likes. In the same manner as my students learned, I did too—loved my students.  I taught in Saint Louis University and aught art in the subjects humanities and Literature only to liberal arts and humanities students of all courses, except fine arts students as there were no course offerings in our school in regards to fine arts offerings.

You mentioned that you got ill, which was a factor of you leaving the academe. How did this change you and lead you towards working more as an artist?  

The illness I had was a combination of nine illnesses, a neuro-muscular disease that led me to be crippled and had tremors likened to arteriosclerosis and initial stages of Parkinson’s disease. I underwent therapy and by God’s grace was able to overcome it.  It was impossible to paint with a trembling body.

Heidi Rodriguez, Art, Artist, Art Profile, Art For Salse, Pinay Artist, Filipina Artist, Reflections, Artist Reflections, Whimsical Art, Tribal Art, Cross-Cultural Art, Fantastical Art, Tam Awan Artist, Baguio Artist, Painter, Modern Art, Modernist, Philippines

Other than personal reasons, I felt the calling to move on in life.  I believed it was time to pursue another career that did not feed on my time and freedom.  Teaching became mandatory, commandeering, mundane and mechanized it was no longer a happy place to be in 8 hours daily from Monday to Saturday.  It was no longer psychologically, spiritually, morally, and emotionally healthy to stay in that environment.

It was difficult at first.  After all, 14 years was a long time to adjust.  Honestly, I had to get adjusted to my finances at first.   It was a struggle.  But painting for some reason healed me and my family.  My paintings brought certain joys money or even a degree can never buy. It fulfilled the soul.  Entering the art world was a challenge; some artists found my work against their tastes but many did accept me.  I gained new artist friends and some become close friends.  I paint to keep myself sane and be free from inhibitions in a morally heartless and callous world.  In the world of painting there is peace and harmony for the soul.

Why did you say were your works criticized for being unrealistic? Has fantasy played a huge role in your work?

My works have always been criticized for lacking depth and gradation, swimming in color, and my human figures are dis-proportioned and against realism.  Many other artists say they look like cartoons, animations, and amateurish.

Perhaps you could say I have a strong inclination to the fantastical and children’s literature.  My works manifest elements from legends and myths like dragons, mermaids and fairies.   Perhaps influenced from my literary influences like Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, fire side poets, Guillermo del Toro and Stephen King . My works show swirls of incandescence reflecting infirmities of the flesh….iridescence of psychoses of the soul….vexations of the human spirit in surreal worlds oozing with neurosis collide in my art.  A carnival of surreal flatulence, dreamscapes, and magical emporiums that traverse reality are strongly imprinted in my canvas.  Judged for its brilliance in color, strong lines, eccentric lack of depth, strange mirages of composition, and often flooded with whimsical little elements is plotted together in my canvas.  I have always deviated from the doctrine that universals have a real objective existence specifically in presenting my subjects.  Often, my art has been shunned for its unrealistic representations and execution. My renderings of my subjects embody whimsical and playful presentation of colors.  Strong portrayals of mixed cross cultural elements can also be observed.

What are your best works throughout the years and why? 

This is a tough one.  I am not particularly sure which are best because every time I finish an artwork I see it to be not good enough.  There is one I like though since I call it my “laboratory petri dish” it birthed all my works at present. It is an Engraving on my mother’s sewing machine of a modern day Honda car.  Such engraving got me whips for branding a brand new sewing machine when I was three.  The tiger and koi fish would follow suit and my studies of Frida Kahlo.  Animals hold a special place in my heart for they are kinder than humans in certain ways.  Animals teach us a variety of feelings which some humans are incapable of.  My works are menageries of animals and plants as I try to reconcile co-existence and unity with the universe in an evil world.

I have always favored my “Marrionettes”, “Red Moon Rising”, and “Vexing Thoughts”.

You are now a full-time painter? How does your pending PhD work with your future plans?  

Yes, I am now a full time painter.   I finished some units in my pursuit in taking a Doctorate in Educational Management.  At the moment, I have no future plans of pursuing it perhaps in time.

Coming from Saint Louis University and Benguet Mountain Province, are there touches of local color from the mountain province that you showcase in your creations?

The atmosphere maybe but for some reason I had a hard time trying to embed my paintings with vignettes of the same as my influences are not Cordilleran.  Although some tribal art is found in some of my works, being a Tam Awan artist requires that my paintings should contain aspects of the Cordillera.  Mine is tweaked a bit adding bits of fantastical fun.

Are you exclusive painter now to your full-time employer or are you allowed to sideline and paint for other people? What is your specialty when painting? 

I am independent usually but is a member of Tam Awan Village Artists in Baguio.  Yes we are allowed to have sidelines.  I specialize in conceptual fantasy art usually.

Do you plan of going back to the academe after you finish your doctoral degree? What are your long-term plans, in so far as painting is concerned? 

Perhaps, if God wills it.  But this time, in the line of art.

I hope you could come see our Ayala exhibition this January and Baguio Museum exhibition in February.

All images are courtesy of Heidi Rodriguez who goes under Ignis Airie in Facebook.

To contact Heidi, please call 09279803384 or via email kraen9@gmail.com