A Glimpse of My Artist Personality
A portion of my early childhood during the early fifties was in Tondo, Manila where my artistic interests were born. People in the neighborhood earn their living, if not employed through peddling fishes, delicacies crafts. The crafts include making frames for pictures and glasses. Those craftsmen, tried to enhance their business by making simple framed artworks like pencil drawings, charcoal sketches and later on scenes in colors on velvets or canvasses. Most of their subjects were scenes like volcanoes, mountains farmlands and sometimes religious icons.
My uncle used to peddle those frames and artworks. Sometimes he made the artworks himself. I had seen how he made sketches in simple pencil lines and shades. I asked him to make me one and he did. I was inspired. Since I was just a first grader then, my teacher taught me how to write my name in long hand by tracing a pattern she prepared on an onion skin paper. This gave me an idea how I can draw. I started copying the drawing my uncle made for me. Later on, I applied the idea on copying illustrations on books, magazines and comics.
The business in the vicinity slowly boomed. Some were able to expand their business at home, those involved in craftsmanship built shops within their homes or rented ones. The simple frame and artworks business evolved into signage and billboard makings. On my way to school I will walk along Herbosa Street, and I can see artist working on as billboard on top of the public market painting pictures of a cinema show using brooms attached to a long handle and latex paints. I was fascinated. This drove the passion in me not only to appreciate but the desire at first how to draw and later on to paint.
After my first grade in school my parents separated, I stopped schooling, then continued, second grade, then I stopped again and lived with my mother. I worked at the farm in Bataan at my young age then we moved forested area where homestead are available where I engaged in slash and burn farming, but my desire to pursue my studies never died. After a few months, I saved a few pesos for my future purposes.
My eldest brother visited us and stayed with us for a month or so, before going back to my father. I decided to go with him to pursue my studies. It was a hard farewell for my mother. She cried and didn’t want me to go but I told her,”Ma, I have a dream, I want to study.”
In school year 1966, I continued my third grade. My art is born. I started using crayon first then I ventured in water color but my thirst with art didn’t quench. If I had assignments, requiring visual aids, I will do it myself until I became known to other class sections and teachers. I explored the world of color in the elementary art class but I wasn’t able to get what I’d wanted.
My informal mentor who really motivated me was Romy T. Gamboa, the head artist of Boy Scouts of the Philippines and an illustrator to various local comics and magazines. He introduced me to the works of Norman Rockwell, made me apply me apply the finishing touches to his sketches to be used in the boy scouts workshops and training.
As I go along with my artistic quest I bought pocket books for line drawing, and oil painting magazines to learn about color principles and applications. I associated myself with group of professional artists to gain more how to be an artist. I’m not a professional artist, but I’m an artist by my own right or you can say a DiY artist, so to speak. Yet, my works speak for themselves.
Creativity During the Dull Moment