February is dedicated for the National Arts Month. This is the time of the year when we give recognition to the Filipino artisan. As a way of celebrating it, here are 4 young Aklanon visual artists to watch out for, and see how they answer the questions given them in an interview by Radyo TODO.
Jules Leanie Bautista
Age: 15 y/o
School and Grade/Year Level: Northwestern Visayan Colleges (NVC), Grade 9
Geneva Tumbokon Sinag
School & Grade/YearLevel : University of Makati, 2nd Year College
Name: John Gil M. Soguilon
Occupation: Portrait Commissionaire.
School & Grade/Year Level: Northwestern Visayan Colleges (NVC), BSEd MAPEH Graduate
Chris Janine V. Tolores
Nickname: Janine/ Nine
School & Grade/Year Level: Aklan National High School for Arts and Trades (ANHSAT) Grade 12
Radyo TODO: When did you first begin drawing / painting?
Jules Leanie Bautista: Since elementary.
Geneva TumbokonSinag: 5 or 6 years old, when I was in Kindergarten.
John Gil M. Soguilon: I used to draw on my notebooks and pad papers when i was still in Day Care, I was about 5 years old that time.
Chris Janine V. Tolores: I started young. I was in nursery then.
RT: Where do your ideas stem from?
JLB: My ideas usually stem from my mother and my siblings.
GTS: Sometimes, ideas just pop up in my mind, depending on my mood.. Mostly though, if I can’t think of something, I think of the current issues so that people can relate.
JGMS: I guess, from my relatives from my mother’s side of the family.
CJVT: I don’t really know, but I think it sometimes depends on what my emotions say. Then out of the blue, a picture will just pop out of my head then I startdrawing.
RT:What themes do you pursue?
JLB: Themes related to Baghay or BagongBuhay 2017
GTS: Landscape because I love nature, but as I mature, I want to pursue Social change/Issues. Anything that will capture the heart and raise awareness.
JGMS: I am into creating a variety of artwork pieces but I always make sure that every single artwork has a deep meaning that the others may not see.My artwork is usually inspirational and emotional.
CJVT: I’ve always wanted to paint hyper realistic that has a deep meaning.
RT: What is your favorite piece of work that you have done and what inspired it
JLB: My artwork for BagongBuhay. It is basically about starting a new life.
GTS: Among the entire piece that I have done, my favorite is ‘The mountain’. It was for my friend’s sister who is a teacher. Yearly, the school holds a presentation about the Love of God. They needed a background of a mountain. I cried on this one because it was my first time to paint on fabric plus it was very wideeeee and biggggg. Every night, I cry while holding the brush, exhaustedly and very praning (paranoid) thinking I may not make it. What if it turns into a disaster? But thankfully, it was good;they even won because of the painting that I made. They gave me 1K for the artwork. What inspired me to do my best on that mountain? It was because my first painting was also a mountain. I was 5 or 6 years old that time. My older sister, Glesi has lots of art materials and it was so satisfying watching her use those things. One time, while she was in school, I went to her room (Sorry, Ate). I took the water color and the small illustration board that’s always littering in the sala. On it, I painted a mountain. I painted a pointed brown bump on the left then another pointed brown bump on the right. On the middle, I placed a slim, dark brown tree. I feel proud and I thought it was beautiful so i placed it on the sewing machine so that everyone can see my ‘masterpiece’. The wind may have blew it away so my mother put it back without noticing it was placed upside down. They were all laughing and confused as to who painted the pointed brown butt with dark “poop” coming out of it. I don’t want a butt to become the background of ‘Love of God’ so I did all my best to make that mountain look realistic.
JGMS: My artwork “Whang Od.” Apo Wang Od is a legendary local tattoo artist who never gives up making tattoos, in spite of using an outdated style/method of tattooing
CJVT: My painting titled “The Search is Done.” It was actually it a self-painting. The meaning of that painting was, Me searching in darkness but still can’t find the way out. I was searching for the truth, searching for the right path. I was blinded, confused but now, I found him. Jesus was the one that I’ve been searching for. I was blinded by this world. The lamp represents the word of God which is in the Bible.
RT: What art do you most identify with?
JLB: Pagbabago ng isang taong gumagawa ng masama (A person who changed for the better, after doing something bad.)
GTS: Aside from drawing and painting, I always make designs for scrapbooks or portfolios. I am also into taking pictures, creating videos.
JGMS: My instructor told me that I should work for a monochromatic, earth colors on my paintings to make my own name in Aklan. And that’s what I am studying ’till now whenever I have free time. I am currently still exploring in the field of art.
CJVT: I’m not (really) sure.
RT: What are your thoughts on being a young artist today?
JLB: Imagination is important, as well as patience.
GTS: I think,being an artist of today’s generation is something we should be thankful for and be proud of. We are in today’s generation where you can do, create, and express whatever you want, with lesser judgment from the society. Art today is becoming less conservative and more liberated, so as an artist, we can express freely what we want without writing or talking because artists today don’t talk, they let their art talk for them.
JGMS: (This is really good question) A lot of youth nowadays are into technology, into social media, into bad gang/ bullying, into early parenthood, into study distress and into so much into the feelings of falling in love. These lead them to depression and suicidal stage which is rampant today, so as a young artist I think making art even as a hobby helps you to overcome depression.It is way better to make artwork wherein you can put your emotions into rather than hurting yourself or the others. In that way it may become your alternative medicine to avoid or fight depression.
CJVT: Being a young artist is really kinda frustrating. Knowing a lot of professional and good artists makes me downgrade myself. But I know in myself that I am not that pro and still need a lot of practice. It’s a big privilege to inspire other people through my artworks as young as I am. But for me one thing that really inspires me to pursue doing art is to show other people what God has done in my life. That I am not able to create those artworks without Him and those ideas are not mine alone but it was from God. I want to glorify and share about God through my artworks. Live and create to inspire.
RT:How do you react when some people say artists are weird?
JLB: I don’t care about what people say. I just continue doing what I want to do because this is my passion .
GTS: Weird? “Yes! Because normal is booooringgg!”
JGMS: This is what they always say to me (laughs), I actually don’t speak much about this but rather I love to kill them on my own imagination (laughs even harder). But I guess being weird sometimes is an evidence of being introvert.
CJVT: Well, I once asked myself if I am really weird? Because most of the people say that artists are really weird. But, I’ve realized that there are some artists that other people tend to judge by their appearance or the way they create their art, without paying attention to the uniqueness of that person or the artist. Us artist express ourselves through our artworks, but also with the way we look, the way we act or talk. It depends on the personality itself. I just laugh whenever people say that I’m weird. Artists have a lot of emotions that they try hard to express but other people misunderstood those things and easily judge them.
RT: What is an artistic outlook on life?
JLB: How we react to challenges and success.
GTS: I think when we say artistic outlook in life, it is about being creative in handling problems. If life is giving you different colors of hardships, make a rainbow! You have no Paint brush? Finger paint!Artistic outlook in life is being creative and innovative in making something, out of nothing.
JGMS: Find your own uniqueness and embrace it because that is the art of God on making you as his artwork.
CJVT: Well, we think a lot of concepts, things that sometimes other people can’t appreciate things the way it could be. Sometimes an artist can interpret a lot of things just in their simplest ways…and try to show other people that they are unique… Creative is really a big impact in an artist life…we use our imagination to create and inspire other people.
RT: Do you think young artists play a crucial role in society?
JLBL: Yes! Because sometimes, artists fight for our society through paintings.
GTS: Yes, young artists play a crucial role in society. They are the hearing aid of the society’s deaf government.
JGMS: THEY CAN , and THEY SHOULD. Every individual must help and be responsible and by sharing their artistic talent in a purposive way. I’m sure this society will transform into a better place that no one could ever imagine.
CJVT: Yes, like not just young artists but youth has a big role in the society. We are the next leaders of our nations. We may become a legendary artist like Van Gogh, Leaonardi Da Vinci and a lot of famous artists, maybe someday we will be like them in the future. Our artworks in any kind of medium, will inspire others. We will be like paint that will make the world colorful
RT: What do you dislike about the art world?
JLB: Artists that make a piece of art for a bad reason.
GTS: Sometimes, we are not appreciated and our art is being misunderstood.
JGMS: I think I have no reason to dislike art in this world. However, if the art itself isdestroyed by somebody, there should be a fair punishment.
RT: What is your dream project?
JLB: Any project that will help me become a successful artist.
GTS: My dream project is to start the “Young Artist Foundation” for less privileged people with artistic hands. There, they will enhance their skills. Make them professional.
JGMS: To find a school where I can teach Arts and have an exhibition with my students.
RT: Name three artists you’d like to be compared to.
JLB: Sir RickyMolo, Leonardo Da Vinci and Micheal V.
GTS: Jose Rizal- kayan gbuhayin ang diwang Pilipino (can awaken the true essence of being a Filipino. Leonardo da Vinci- coz why not? and Sarah Geronimo – she can do everything plus she has a good heart at maganda (and she’s beautiful).
JGMS: I think this is a tough question as I’ve always seen myself TO be unique. But aside from Whang-od, I also admire the influences of Da Vinci, Salvador Dali and Bob Ross.
RT: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as an artist?
JLB: Imagine and draw, picture yourself as a world class artist.
GTS: Mag practice palagi (Keep practicing.)
JGMS: Being a portrait commissionaire, my father told me not to draw or paint after money but to be known by others whose passion is worth sharing.
RT: Do you have any upcoming exhibitions?
JBL: Not yet.
GTS: None yet, but hoping to have one or so someday.
JGMS: So far, we do have two exhibits this for the months of February and March in (the municipality) of Banga for the celebration of the National Arts Month, and March to April in Kalibo for the celebration of Aklan Day.
RT: Any advice to aspiring artists?
JLB: Keep doing what you do.
GTS: Mag practice palagi (Keep practicing.)
JGMS: Find your own uniqueness and embrace it, be it on your artwork or in your lifestyle, because art doesn’t just begin and end on paper or on canvass but usually in your personal life.
These young, talented artists surely made all of us proud to be Aklanons. Their talents are promising, their passion so contagious that the future of Filipino Art is now even brighter.
*Author’s Note: Unfortunately, Ms. Tolores was not able to complete the interview as she had a prior engagement to attend to.