“I think these images I create are a kind of Rorschach test for the viewer: it always depends on how the viewer perceives the symbolism he sees.”
How did you start your journey in art? Also, I read you started being a full-time painter only in 2019…what was the turning point?
I started early when I was 6. I enjoyed joining local competitions all throughout my childhood. It was also on this early period when I found out about surrealism. I had phases creating art through different ways from serigraphy, traditional painting or digital painting etc. The turning point just kinda happened when I felt I have a style I can work with and develop. And after trying many things I decided to go back to oil painting and I find it a lot more enjoyable now. Everything I learned from doing graphic design helped shape my current aesthetic and, today, my process involves this duality of a digital and traditional approach to image making.
Your paintings have a strong “open-ended” tilt to them…but is there something you would like your work to convey to the viewer?
I think these images I create are a kind of Rorschach test for the viewer: it always depends on how the viewer perceives the symbolism he sees. We have this instinct for seeing patterns in everything and we sometimes regulate our lives around these signs. Recurring archetypes on my paintings are about the unknown, transformation, cycles, anima, animus etc. If the painting gives the viewer a cathartic feeling while looking at it then I’d have done my job well.
In fact, archetypes and collective unconscious seem to me to be an important source of your figures. What of myths and archetypal stories interests you the most? Are there any you are more attached to?
I’m fascinated with old stories like ‘He who saw the deep’, the story of Gilgamesh and his search for immortality by going on a long journey to find the man who survived the great flood or the stoicism Krishna taught Arjuna, in the battlefield of Kurukshetra, where the resolution for war against his own kin seems questionable. I think that in our own personal ways, we also go through the same struggles and through these stories we find ways to overcome and find truths within us.
You are from the Philippines…how is the state of art, and painting in particular, in your country? How do you feel your work is perceived there?
I’d say it’s pretty healthy. There are a lot of really amazing artists in my country. Hopefully with this new internet age people will be able to see more of this in the future. I haven’t asked around yet, but my friends say they like it so I’m happy for that!
An artist that has particularly influenced you? In what way?
Swedish painter Anders Zorn. He famously used a palette limited to 4 colors namely: white, red, yellow and black. Something about this limitation feels like a challenge for myself as to what I can achieve with it.
A contemporary painter you want to suggest our readers? Why?
That would be my fellow Filipino artist Rodel Tapaya. I’m inspired with how he induces magic realism in his surrealistic paintings. His subject matter revolves around Filipino folklore…the best way I can describe his paintings to you is it’s like reading a Gabriel García Márquez book.
Next and upcoming projects?
I will be joining a group exhibition that will be hosted by the WOW x WOW online gallery called ‘Ecstatic Flux’. It’ll be held on the 10th of January to the 31st and I’ll be creating two new works for this show. I invite your readers to check it out, it’s a chance to also be able to acquire new works by up-and-coming artists!