Friday, September 24, 2021

Neri: Homegrown artists


THERE’S a line that goes... ”Artists are born, not made.” These refer to the artists at heart, to persons with inborn artistic talent. However, talent needs to be nurtured in order for it to fully develop and flourish.

In our family, it is our youngest son Jovi who has an artistic bent. He was about six years old when I noticed that he loved to draw and spent much time copying images from his coloring books. I was happy and excited with visions of his future landscape masterpieces swimming in my mind. I then arranged for him to have private lessons.

Jovi was under the tutelage of Mar Vidal, that time an up-and-coming artist. To my surprise/dismay Jovi chose to draw comic book characters especially superheroes like Superman, Batman, Spiderman, He-Man etc. Teacher Mar let him be and encouraged him to do what fascinated him most. Well, I thought to myself—let the child be a child—but then he never outgrew his penchant for drawing faces and figures. And that was the end of my dreams for a future Monet in the family.

After about four years of giving lessons to Jovi, Mar became so busy as a painter that he had no more time to give private lessons. Jovi was left on his own but he had learned enough from an excellent mentor.

Now a lawyer, Jovi makes time to do artwork because his love for drawing has remained. He is into portraits (most acclaimed are the portraits of U2 led by Bono) and full figure illustrations, mostly of famous athletes like Tiger Woods, Manny Pacquiao etc. For his black and white works, he uses charcoal, and for the colored ones, he uses colored pencils and colored markers. His works are gaining followers here and abroad. He has a waiting list of commissions which he hopes to work on when time permits because he is busy with his law practice. It’s a good thing that Jovi has successfully maintained the two things that matter to him—he has the logic of a lawyer and the magic of an artist!

Jessica Igana Dantes is first and foremost a travel agency executive. She spends a lot of time creating travel itineraries and traveling around the globe. She is a bubbly wanderlust who is actually an artist at heart. Not too many are aware that she dabbles in painting during her “me” time. When travel became a no-no because of the pandemic, she became restless. She then unleashed her energy by frenzied painting.

Basically self-taught, Jessica said she is a late bloomer and seriously took to painting only four years ago. However she remembers that as early as Grade 2, she was drawing faces and flowers instead of practicing and mastering her writing skills. Other pursuits in life put her interest for painting on hold and it was only when supportive husband Joseph asked her to brighten up an entire wall in their home that the artist in her “resurrected.” She did some experimentation in mixing colors and turned to YouTube for guidance in painting techniques. She is partial to acrylic and oil on canvas.

Jessica considers artist Gilfrancis Maningo as a valued mentor. She calls her style Figurative Expressionism. This is because when she paints people and places, she does not work on physical likeness but on “how they appear in my heart.” She further shares that “engaging myself in art is also traveling... this time inside myself.”

Tina Marie Himalaloan Gandionco completed a degree in Fine Arts from UP-Cebu. Yes, she has a passion for the arts but sadly didn’t get the chance to pursue this passion for decades because work (in a completely different field) and attending to a growing family got in the way. However, the dream to create works of art had always been at the back of her mind.

Presently, she works as the environmental service manager of a private hospital. When she was asked to take charge of the hospital’s art appreciation and exhibit project a few years back, she was able to reconnect with her artist friends. The project also strengthened her resolve to pursue her passion. She had a lot of “refreshing” to do after decades of putting her artistic inclination in the back seat. So she began to attend art workshops and took private art lessons after office hours and on weekends.

With her dedication and determination, Tina soon got invitations to join art exhibits. Her works are done in oil, acrylic, pen and ink and watercolor.


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