CREATIVITY comes in more ways than one. It can be as grand and inspiring as a painting on a large-scale canvas or a thought-provoking kind of mural to designing an innovative new product. Others may come in minute output but bear great significance if not to the eyes of a spectator then to the artist whose ingenuity and novel workarounds are made. In a way, almost everyone has a little creativity within.
To find someone who can express a quality of beauty and intensity both in visual and written presentation in a distinctive style and rhythm is an extraordinary gem I am fortunate to have met in the person of Architect and entrepreneur Fredi Agunoy, fondly called “Mang Fred.”
Art has always been a passion and has consistently opened a lot of doors for Fredi. As a boy, he drew on the paper bags that carried pandesal he used to sell. He even landed a college scholarship as an editorial cartoonist for their school paper.
A self-taught artist who enjoys watching art sessions on YouTube, Fredi started painting under the mentorship of senior visual artist and renowned impressionist, Roland Bay-an back in 2000. His passion, however, was put on hold for quite some time because of work but was reignited in 2010 after the completion of his FREDS serviced apartments located at Greenwater Village Road, which now houses Freds Gallery, home of Baguio’s very talented and young artists and a venue for creative collaboration and community fellowship.
He never stopped painting since then. He found himself converting his farm in Dingalan to an artist village where he and his artist friends convene to gather inspiration and share creative works, at the same time, joining art communities, hosting art exhibits and putting together a group of not-so-young artists he named “Salonpas Baguio Artists” who, according to him, was coined because of the age and persistent back pains of all the artist members, namely, Roland Bay-an, Buddy Cabrerra, Camilo Santiago, Mario Calub and Carlos Oseo.
His age was no excuse for what his art can reach even during these trying times. The pandemic, according to him, forced most artists to challenge their creatively on how they can share their art and use it to take part in the community efforts to ease the difficulties brought about by the quarantine. He made use of social media and the vibrant online community to exhibit his work where part of the proceeds was donated to a community kitchen, to “Ayuda Eskwela” in Quezon City, frontliners and other artists in need.
Just as most young artists take inspiration from his work, he takes his from the art of Jackson Pollock, an influential American painter, and the leading force behind the abstract expressionist movement in the world.
Aside from painting, “Mang” Fredi does hot works and metal sculptures from recycled scraps which he calls “junk art” and has recently rediscovered his love for making rhymes giving birth to “PINTULA,” a combination of the words “Pinta” and “Tula.”
The Birth of PINTULA:
Q: How did you come about with PINTULA?
A: “Back in college, I was one of the staffers for our college newspaper. I was an art contributor. I used to submit rhymes and I made line drawings to match my compositions. These days, I usually compose rhymes at night when I have trouble sleeping. In the morning, I will do a painting to match the theme of the rhyme. Sometimes I do the painting first then later on compose a rhyme to go with it.
Q: Where do you get your inspiration?
A: I take a lot of inspiration from current events and political issues. I match the rhymes I come up with watercolor, acrylic, or graphite drawings.
Q: Your Pintula series has produced a distinct style of art that is uniquely yours. How would you describe your work in terms of thto and form?
A: I developed this style during my college days when I was a contributor for our school paper as an editorial cartoonist. The theme of my rhymes always has something to do with the issues in our society.
Q: What medium do you usually use and are most comfortable with?
A: I usually use Graphite and Ink, Watercolor and Ink, or Acrylic.
Q: How much on the average would one “Pintula” artwork cost?
A: The average price is P5,000 to P7,000.
Q: What advice can you give to new and young aspiring artists?
A: “For young artists, just keep painting. For the older ones, it is never too late to dream. Keep painting.
“PINTULA,” I can say, is a collision of two worlds where genius ensues. What comes before or after like the chicken-egg tale heeds no relevance, as both painting and poetry harmoniously blend into one beautiful work of art that can be read and compiled as a visual diary filled with powerful insights by one creative fellow.