The Father of Philippine Art Workshops has recently opened his art facility to Cebuano artists. Running until April 15 at Fernando B. Sena Buenas Artes is a show featuring talented painters from the Queen City of the South.
Among the fourteen artists participating in “Sidlak sa Habagatan” are Alfredo Bitoon, Jr., Dominic Escobar, Arnel “Seven Snow”Casquejo, Jason Ejes, Adrian Perolino, Jolimar De Los Santos, John Paul “Jipi” Abejar, Mhelvic John Bensi, Jonessa Montesclaros, Marvin Castro, Jovani “Cloud” Rodriguez, John Monique Inion, Kevin Serad, and Raiñer Eco Duhaylungsod.
“Itong mga Cebu artists magagaling sa landscape. Kadalasan sila, pag gumagawa, on-the-spot,” says Fernando B. Sena.
Hanging on the walls are several oil on canvas artworks. There was a class on the day I visited Buenas Artes so there were tables and chairs all over. I didn’t get to scrutinize the paintings too much but I managed to take photos of the ones that immediately caught my eye.
“Tinayo ito ng mga students ko, sila ang nagfi-finance,” Mr. Sena tells me about his place. “Para ito sa mga artists na hindi makapag-exhibit sa mga malls. Kasi yung mga galleries sa malls, kinukuha lang nila yung mga may pangalan. Dito kahit walang pangalan, pwede.”
“Ang artist kasi, tulad ng palaka na nasa loob ng balon, ang tingin niya sa pag-asa niya, kasing laki lang ng butas. Pero pag tumalon siya nang tumalon, makikita niya na malawak pala ang kalangitan. Eh itong mga ‘to kung nandoon lang sila sa Cebu, hanggang doon lang sila. Kailangan ma-expose sila para makita rin ng mga ibang tao yung mga gawa ng mga taga-Cebu,” he adds.
“Ang mga artists sa Pilipinas, parang isla sa gitna ng dagat. Marami ang nakalubog, konti lang ang nakalitaw. Yung mga nakalubog na ito, hindi sila nabibigyan ng pagkakataon na makapag-exhibit sa mga gallery. Pero minsan mas magaling pa sila sa mga nakalitaw. Ang paniniwala namin dito, kailangan i-angat din sila. Parang sa pelikula, tulad ni FPJ, hindi naman puro siya eh, kumukuha din siya ng mga hindi sikat na maitataas niya,” he muses.
Get to know more about the Cebuano artists.
Alfredo Bito-on, Jr. was born in Danao City. A self-taught artist, he started painting at the age of 24. He usually painted landscapes, still life, and portraits. He was inspired by Juan Luna, Clint Normandia, Bernardo Hermoso, Wilfredo “Bobby” Cañete and Romulo “Mulong” Galicano. He took up BSIT major in Drafting at Cebu Technological University in 2011. Though he wasn’t able to finish the course, he still attending painting and other competitions. Alfredo is a member of the Portrait Artist Society of the Philippines (PASPI) and Let’s Paint Group.
Dominic Escobar hails from Ukuran, Zamboanga del Sur. Born in 1995, he grew up surrounded by the provincial sceneries and folklife of his hometown. In spite of his modest roots, he managed to obtain a degree in AB Philosophy as a seminarian. While he did not pursue priesthood, he continued his passion for the arts. A self-taught artist, he uses both wet and dry media but has recently been enjoying using oil. Filipino culture is his favorite theme, but he’s also been praised for his stylish portraits. Among his inspirations are the works of the famous Gieward Hulagno who he considers as his mentor who greatly influenced his style.
Arnel “Seven Snow”Casquejo was born in the small island of Cabul-an, Buenavista, Bohol and currently resides in Mactan, Cebu. He worked as a graphic artist in Saudi Arabia from 2014-2017 but has decided to focus on his art for now.
Jason Ejes is from the northern island of Cebu, Bantayan Island. He already had an interest in the arts as early as his elementary school days. Coming from a family who couldn’t afford to provide art materials, he used any material available. He is determined to continue his craft with patience, through self-study, and continuous practice. He is a member of Let’s Paint, PASPI, and the League of Cebu Artists.
Adrian Perolino is a self-taught, freelance artist from Carcar, Cebu. He is inspired by the works of his famous neighbor Martino Abellana and Romulo Galicano. He started practicing painting in 2011 with the help of his cousin Walter Vestil. He uses charcoal and pastel but his favorite medium is oil.
Jolimar De Los Santos is a native of the mountain town with alluring shores of Alcoy, south of Cebu. He began exploring his interest in drawing and painting during his years in elementary. His mother rarely found him home because after classes, he would immediately find his way to his mentors’ house – Sergio Seciban and Renante Mosquueda. His subjects often revolve around daily life tasks and landscapes.
John Paul “Jipi” Abejar drew cartoon characters in his elementary years. He joined inter-school competitions for editorial cartoons, poster-making, and painting. The first gift he gave his family was a DVD-VCR player, after winning a competition. His dream was to get a degree in Fine Arts but he is now a licensed teacher for children with special needs. He is often commissioned to paint portraits and landscapes. For inspiration, he credits artists spanning a wide range of styles and times, from Leonardo da Vinci and Rijn Rembrandt to Fernando Amorsolo and Romulo Galicano. He recently won as finalist during the Mayor Nicepuro Apura Painting Competition of the City of Carcar. He is a member of Let’s Paint, (PASPI), and League of Cebu Artists.
Mhelvic John Bensi is from Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu. He started making animated drawings 6 years ago until he became one of the members of the League of Cebu Artists where he learned other art styles such as realism. He then met and observed works of various Cebuano artists and was given the opportunity to be part of other groups like Let’s Paint and PASPI.
Jonessa Montesclaros started painting at the age of 17. In 2016, she began joining various art exhibits showcasing her work in watercolor and oil, mostly in realistic expressionism style. She took inspiration from various Filipino artists like her fellow Carcaranon Romulo Galicano and mentor Clint Normandia. Aiming to improve her skills, Jonessa continues to practice the craft despite already being a mother. Her dream is to help other aspiring young individuals to develop their passion in the arts and to provide a source of living through their artistic gift.
Marvin Castro is from Danao City. He was exposed to art at 4 years old. He has represented his school in various art competitions since Kindergarten until he graduated with a degree in Architectural Drafting. The numerous awards he has gathered has kept him motivated to further improve his craft. Art is his guiding star in achieving his dreams. He became a licensed professional teacher because of his advocacy to teach less privileged children who have great potential in the arts.
Jovani “Cloud” Rodriguez is a freelance artist from Mandaue City, Cebu. He started as a doodle artist at a young age, using pen and ink initially then moving on to adding subtle touches of colors. A much brighter flame ignited within him after placing in a doodle competition in 2015 where he met friends in the art field. He is hoping to learn more about portraitures and landscapes.
John Monique Inion’s interest in the arts was evident as a child making rough sketches in notebooks and small-piece sculptures with wood and sea stones. He stopped making crafts when he entered college and studied BS Computer Science. In 2013, he fell in love again with the arts and found interst in making portraits using pastels. He became a member of art groups such as Let’s Paint, League of Cebu Artists and PASPI. He focused on portraiture with pastels for 3 years until he explored other media like watercolor, charcoal, acrylic and oil and joined variosu group exhibits within Cebu.
Kevin Serad was born and raised in the coastline outskirts of Mactan Island in Cebu. He discovered a connection with the magnificent seascapes and skyline in his surroundings and wanted to transfer these natural wonders to his work. He considers himself as a disciple of classical art. He wishes to continue learning the traditional approach for his realism works on portraits, figures, scenarios and landscapes. Though started as an animation student, he shifted to Fine Arts to fulfill his burning passion. He studied various mediums such as charcoal, watercolor, pastels, acrylic, and even tried sculpture. Now he focuses on oil paints. He aims to convey mood and feelings in the images to relate with daily life and impressions on the viewers. He also does murals on various establishments. To continue inspiring other young artists, Kevin founded the League of Cebu Artists. He is also a member of local and national art groups, including the online group Let’s Paint.
Raiñer Eco Duhaylungsod is a graduate of Saint Columban College with a degree of BS Hotel and Restaurant Management. A former restaurant supevisor, college instructor, and government employee, he started to venture into cake and pastries business in 2016. He discovered a love of art at an early age, sketching nature and portraits. He honed the gift through the years. He started his artistic career in 2014 when he was introduced to some of the great artists in his city like Dr. Jose Armin Virata, Jerome Castillo, Gieward Hulagno, and Randell Villanueva, where he found great artist brotherhood and camaraderie. Moreover, he was greatly influenced by Art Renewal Center living master and multi-awarded Cebuano Orley Ypon. Currently, Raiñer is a proud member of Aroma Art Atelier that is founded by Ypon. Raiñer is now a full time artist based in Toledo City. He considers himself as a Classical Impressionist Realist artist.
Fernando B. Sena Buenas Artes Art Facility is located at Unit C-1 Windsor Villas 348 Tandang Sora Ave. corner Congressional Ave. Extension Quezon City, Philippines. For more information, visit their Facebook page @fernandobsenabuenasartes