Raw talent draws global admiration

(Photos from James Abayon Lolo Facebook)

SOCIAL media is a double-edged sword. It can be a platform for rants and negativities and for works whether literary, arts, or humanitarian, to be appreciated.

But for Dabawenyo young artist James Abayon Lolo, 20, he uses social media to attract online attention for his self-styled art - ballpoint freehand sketch.

The Maco, Davao de Oro-born lad shared in an interview with SunStar Davao his overwhelming feeling after his sketch of one of the world’s greatest artists, Vincent van Gogh, went viral online using only his Titus pen.

He uploaded his sketch on February 10 and as of February 21 the post garnered more than 17,000 reactions and 16,000 shares. His sketch, seemed to be made by an established artist, was also featured in different famous art pages that drew admiration across the globe.

Lolo recalled that he did not expect his work will be much appreciated. The piece of art was just a product of whiling away his time at school that he decided to draw a sketch. Being a self-confessed fan of van Gogh, he chose him as a subject as his simple tribute.

“Naanad naman gud ko nga mag-draw jud pag naa sa akong chair kay di ko gusto wa koy gibuhat tas na-addict sad ko sa pag-sketch kay gituman man gud nako akong motto nga draw everyday (I get used to draw every day. I don’t like not doing anything whenever I’m sitting so I always sketch. I live in my motto to draw everyday),” Lolo said.

From school competitions, Lolo found a new platform for his arts where he can exhibit these thanks to social media.

Lolo, a second-year college student at the University of Southeastern Philippines (Usep), has dreamed of taking up art-related courses but due to financial constraints, it did not push through. Right now, he is taking up a Bachelor of Technical Vocational Teacher Education (BTVTED).

But this did not stop him to continue in pursuing his creative aspirations in life.

Lolo narrated that when he was six years old his mother gave him old crayons from his cousin. Being hooked to watching cartoons and anime such as Dragon Balls, what he did was he melted the crayons and used it to paint on their wall.

“Nabantayan ni mama nga tanang makita nako akoang gina-memorize tapos pag abot sa balay akong gina-draw. Then at the age of 7 gipalitan ko niyag drawing book and art materials. Tapos nag-drawing ko nga wala juy gatudlo (My mother noticed that whatever I saw, I memorize it and every time I arrive at the house, I draw it. At the age of 7, my mother bought me drawing books and art materials),” Lolo said.

Because of his talent, he participated in different poster-making contest in his school and joined in a national competition. He said there are moments he wins and times that he loses but what he cherished was the experience and the opportunity to be able to inspire others and showcase his talent to a wider audience.

“I believe nga do what you love and love what you do. Di nimo mahibaw-an nga na-achieve na diay nimo imong gusto ma-achieve. Tapos i-accept tanang mistakes because mistakes are portals of new discoveries,” he added.

Lolo was overwhelmed by the tons of appreciation he received from the people. It fueled him to do better on his craft to help his parents. Though being a self-taught artist, he said it comes with a lot of challenges. However, Lolo learned how to face the setbacks head-on and be strong in believing in his dreams.


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