Here are nine Filipino Visual Artists who are doing very well in the US. Some of them were featured in the exhibit at the Los Angeles City Hall for the 111th Anniversary of Philippine Independence, others are striking out on their own and blazing new trails.
1. Multi-awarded visual artist Lynda A.N. Reyes who is also an art historian, describes her style as “representational with a touch of the contemporary.” She explains: “In my portraits, I am challenged not to simply capture the likeness but the character, personality and life of the subject. In every artwork that I do, I want the viewers to “talk” to the subject and the subject to “talk” back. The subject visually comes out of the two 2-dimensional plane to make that contact with the viewers. For me, this is a mark of an excellent portrait. My hands, mind and heart all work in unison to achieve the awe that viewers experience in their initial encounter with any of my art works.”
Reyes uses the same interactive approach to her landscape paintings. “I want to create a picture window where people are invited to stop and ponder the imagery and perhaps, picture themselves as part of the scene. My scene paintings are almost hypnotic. As the painting lures its viewers to a deep contemplation of the subject, the viewer unconsciously participates in the creative process.”
Although primarily known for her watercolor paintings, Reyes has also gained recognition for her landscape paintings in oil. Her work titled “Dusk at Port Hueneme” was chosen as one of 73 finalists in the 27th Annual Art Competition of the Artist’s Magazine, out of a total of 6,200 participating artists from all over the US.
In the academe, however, she is best known for her pioneering book, “The Textiles of Southern Philippines” and her published studies in Philippine ethnic art.
Her watercolor painting, “Exit Path” will be on view until October 28 at the Brand 40 Works on Paper Exhibit at the Brand Library in Glendale, California. From November 4 to 30, two of her watercolors titled “Father and Son” and “Morning News” will be on exhibit at the SOMArts in San Francisco. (Check out www.LyndaANReyes.com for more information on her).
2. One of the very few Filipino-Americans to be awarded the prestigious Durfee Foundation grant is Vics Magsaysay who is also the recipient of numerous art recognitions and commendations in LA, San Francisco, San Diego, New York, Manila and Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei).
This Fine Arts photographer has a very defined perspective when it comes to his work: “I love to infuse the philosophy of life – oneness, simplicity, beauty and joy – in every art that I do. People describe me as a photographer who makes an ordinary plant, flower or scene become extraordinary. For me, photography is not about what we see but basically how we see it. Reverence and respect for Mother Nature is a must if we want to delve deeper in her inherent mystique, beauty. I also do paintings and sculpture that focus on the figurative message of strings that bind anything, anyone to one another – interconnectedness is something truly undeniable.” (See also www.vicsmagsaysay. com or yessy.com/vicsmagsaysay for more information).
3. Then there’s Eliseo Art Silva, an amazing muralist, who created the mural in Historic Filipinotown among other things (check out www.eliseoart.com).
4. There’s also Rodolfo Samonte, the country’s first representative to Brazil in the ’60s, who is currently preparing for a one-man exhibit in Manila on December 5 at the One Workshop Gallery in Bel Air II, Makati, and a two-person show with a photographer in the same gallery on January 5, 2012. (For more on Samonte, read his blog at http://rsamonte2. blogspot.com/2007/02/art-of-rodolfo-samonte.html)
5. Rafael Maniago, whom some art critics consider as the contemporary Amorsolo, also shines in the US. (Know more about him at www.rafaelmaniago.blogspot.com. For a peek at this art, check out www.rafaelmaniago. multiply.com)
6. Arts & Culture Commissioner and multi-awarded artist Fred de Asis is based in Chicago
7. Very accomplished artist Salvador “Dodong” Arellano, son of National Artist for Architecture Juan Arellano, has a coffee table book of his amazing artworks.
8. Her father might have excelled in the literary arts, but Melissa Nolledo has done as well in the visual arts. This contemporary digital artist is based in Eugene, Oregon
9. Finally, the Philippines has another worthy contribution to animation via Jess Espanola, the first Filipino to receive an Emmy Award for his work on the long-running TV series, The Simpsons. Gathered by Susan R. Castro, with help from Zen Lopez