Digital art off the wall

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Sunday, June 15, 2014


CEBU CITY—Unique, promising and above all (which is becoming overrated) alive and thriving.

Much has been said about Cebu’s art scene. Of course, it’s a dynamic domain down here. Not to mention the never-ending arguments on ingenuity, fame and originality.

The local art sector might be sliced into different coteries but whether active in a circle or just being a loner painting in the basement, one thing’s common (and unfortunate) among Cebuano artists: They are deprived of proper exposure.

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But you know that Cebu is replete with concerned players transforming initiatives into actions to toss local art (be it the traditional or the blooming digital) into the limelight. Not that it has never been exalted in the past (well, maybe not that highly exalted) but ah, such relief that the scene is headed upwards.

Homegrown graphic designe Edzel Rubite used to hit national galleries, exhibits and shows to browse, check and support what he’s always been passionate about—art (graphic art, for that matter), until the hunger to put the concept of gatherings (related to multimedia) into perspective back home led him to realize his own version.

Rubite had a dream to bridge the gap among co-players in the market; to standardize rules in the local multimedia world. What seemed to be a small initiative has morphed into a noise maker in the local digital art landscape.

In collaboration with co-graphic artists (and friends) Rainville Gemperoa, Anthony Aves and Roland Caballero, Rubite successfully mounted three independent fares of digital prints in Cebu with his brainchild project, Design Ubec. The first exhibit happened in 2012 followed by two other staging in 2013. The latest is the one running this year from May 24 to June 21 at Handuraw Pizza Café in Gorordo Ave. in Lahug, Cebu City.

Design Ubec points to all graphic design artists—students, professionals, free lancers, illustrators and the like. A parade of 21 printed pieces are displayed at the non-selling visual exhibet featuring Michele Liza Kaizer-Pelayre, Jude Crisostomo, Erick Mark Obispo.
Geraldine Sy, Nicolo Nimor, Ed Louie, Doyle See, Stephanie Tudtud, Karl Aguro, Van Kevin Opura and Patrick Mackay.

Rounding out the list are Aya Jugalbot, Francis Bitamor, Winston Cangsuco, Alwin Aves, Marc Abuan, Mark Deutsch and Johanna Velasco-Deutsch of Happy Garaje, Kat Bacasmas, Nikka Uminga, Aves and Rubite themselves.

From pop art to striking clothing designs, the four-week-long exhibit is a parallel flow of graphically delicious ideas served in a diversity of theme and careful details.

Design Ubec is lobbying for the celebration of Cebuano art, the unity of artists for an intimate graphic design chapter in Cebu, the progress of the craft and the establishment of the Queen City of the South as a Mecca for graphic design. The exhibitors, who hail from Cebu, Davao, Manila, Bacolod and even Malaysia were randomly scouted online by Rubite and were gathered accordingly into one big act, which is Design Ubec.

Equally abundant to Cebu’s history and culture is its ability to adapt to the needs of the future. The same can be seen in its art. The island has a good mix of traditional and contemporary or digital art, both being bullish in the international level. For the latter, worth mentioning are Nicebleed and Nimor who are remarkably suffusing waves all over the global digital field.

Although correlated when it comes to approaches, graphic design is still a separate dimension from that of traditional art—which is usually the more free and personal take. The former, per se, is more zeroed in on software-produced outputs such as illustrations, brands, logos, websites and billboards; the commercial aspect of the industry, that is. Simply, Design Ubec wanted to break barriers.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 16, 2014.

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