SLEEP conjures dreams; clouds of endless possibilities. There, the dreamer ventures into places he wishes to be at, begins an adventure he’s never had and evades reality by simply closing his eyes. Sleep, indeed, is one mysterious activity as it brings to life so many things cluttered within one’s mind.
In the corporate world, sleep is a luxury because as people strive hard to be productive and make ends meet, sleep often takes the backseat. Raymond Legaspi depicts such relaxation in his paintings, and as the current featured artist of Qube Gallery he displays Dreamscape which is a collection of paintings of women sleeping peacefully; a depiction of the usual siesta that Filipinos have had ever since the Spanish colonial era.
Having previously worked in the advertising industry for two decades after graduating from the University of Santo Tomas with a diploma in advertising—from a production artist in 1987 to an executive creative director in 2006 after having gone through the circuit of seven agencies—Raymond explained that in the corporate world, a siesta was considered as The Great Escape.
“Siesta in the afternoon and sleep, these are some things I could do now because when I was working in Manila before in an advertising agency, it was a rat race and we lacked sleep because sometimes it was a 12-hour-day. So, a siesta is something that is a luxury. Now, I think it’s a great concept especially if you show it to people. They tend to react by being relaxed as well and it’s something I treasure,” said Raymond.
Having chosen to retire, Raymond stayed in Silay, his hometown also dubbed the Sugar Bowl of the Philippines. There, he turned to a different career, quite the opposite of what he’d been doing for two decades and became his own boss with no client, spending more time with his family and more time outdoors.
“When I decided to become a painter before I resigned from work, maybe within a year before that, I thought of my direction: ‘What will I paint?’ There were thoughts of landscape because I also love landscapes. I go around the country side and there were also ideas of the weird looking things or people with dramatic things. But I thought the best idea was to do the opposite of what I’d been doing for a long time in the office,” said Raymond.
Deciding to take the direction which is the opposite of what he has been doing for a long time, Raymond depicts in his paintings a glimpse of his idea of a utopian society. A society symbolized by abundance, relaxation, contentment, happiness and no judgments. Beautifully depicting rest in his paintings, Raymond creates a landscape in his paintings with the bodies of the women peacefully sleeping, who are painted as plump symbolizing abundance unlike those portrayal often advertised by the media. Those who are not naked are draped with duster—a lightweight dress often worn inside the home. The patterns and design of the background provide “horror vacui” with no space for silence, like the clothing and the bedsheets which serve as the noise in the painting ironically buffering the peacefulness and tranquility of the sleeping women.