Reflection of the artist's heart

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Monday, January 6, 2014


IN THE past, painting a portrait was the only way to record a person’s looks or profile. It was more of a necessity rather than vanity. Today, many reasons are given, such as for posterity, to capture a person’s soul and persona, or to honor a friend.

Whatever your reasons are, 24-year-old Archie Manabat Estoconing, is doing portrait painting not just to release a lot of creative energy, but, as he points out, “as a humble obedience to a calling that is much higher than his aspirations.”

If you look closely at his private life, and how most of his time is spent in church activities, he might as well be called to the priesthood. For if a priest’s vocation is to spread the word of God, Estoconing’s calling is to spread the “image” of the Divine. You see, most of what he considers as his masterpieces are images of the Sr. Sto. Niño, the crucified Christ, Our Lady of Guadalupe and our Lady of Fatima, and that of San Pedro Calungsod.

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“When I started to get interested in portrait paintings, I dabbled on famous personalities and my favorites then were Harry Potter and the F4. I was drawing on ordinary bond paper using a pencil or ballpen. When my friends saw them, they were impressed so they encouraged me to pursue portraiture.

“Later on, I realized that I did not just want to create art, but as an expression of what I really am,” Archie made this revelation. “I wanted to have life and more meaning to what I am doing, so I began painting images of the Sto. Nino and Mama Mary.

From then on, I was beginning my own spiritual journey, one that made me closer to my personal God.”

For someone who idolizes Leonardo da Vinci and looks up with great admiration to local artists like Pempee Ybanez and Jun Impas, Estoconing is slowly gaining public acceptance himself, and certainly a smile of approval from the heavens above. He says that to be able to express oneself on canvass indeed evokes powerful emotions and it is very fulfilling on the part of the artist. But to be able to capture a person’s personality and soul on canvass, not to mention a near-perfect likeness, gives even greater pleasure for the artist for he knows that people will cherish them forever.

Estoconing prefers to create portraits from photographs. His art studio is his humble home in Guadalupe. He will be having a one-man exhibit of his Sto. Niño and Virgin Mary portraits on Jan. 13-15, at Raphael’s Coffee Shop located along Andres Abellana St., Guadalupe, Cebu City.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 07, 2014.

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