Up close with the artists of Cevolution
By Tiny Diapana
Photos: Ernest Diño
THERE’S a surge of urban development running across the city, and with the metro growing a monotonous beard of condominiums and shopping centers, it’s hard not to notice the community calling out for some color.
Hoping to improve Cebu City’s image not only as a booming economic center but also as a place of culture and creativity; Create Cebu decided to start Cevolution, a public art exhibit that makes use of exterior urban spaces.
Together with Crossroads Cebu, Qube Gallery, and Island Premium Paints, the organization partnered with a select group of Cebuano artists to spice up the exteriors of Crossroads Cebu with eight different murals celebrating the diversity of the city’s art scene.
After the group launched the exhibit back in June, SunStar Weekend got to sit down with the Cevolution artists at Turning Wheels Cebu Brewery to have a little chat about their work and art in public spaces.
Stand-alone Cevolution Artists
Because there weren’t that many avenues for artists to showcase their works back in the mid 2000s, Kidlat started doing street art with a few friends in 2006. Along with another Cevolution artist, Ivan Zaldarriaga, Kidlat and his friends started the UBEC CREW, a group of graffiti artists who eventually gained prominence in the country.
Working on stencils, Kidlat’s thought-provoking work is influenced by Basquiat, Blek le Rat, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, and Aryz.
“My work mostly stems from my fascination with social realities and social structures,” the street artist explains. “There is really no direct message but I guess in a way I’m archiving our collective experiences as a society and as humans through my work. I hope to get to share the message that we are really not so different from each other”
Starting with “sticker bombing” in public spaces back in 2015, Lean’s one of the newer street artists who stands out with his eclectic and colorful art style that approaches pop surrealism. Inclined towards waggish characters, Lean says he likes juxtaposing “characters or beasts with exaggerated distortions and details” with “autobiographic stories, metaphors and human behavior.”
Influenced by his close friends, the street artist says he does his urban art projects with his buddies in an attempt to bring art to the general public outside of the usual closed wall establishments like galleries.
“Continue to do art pieces with or without reward or recognition,” Lean tells other young street artists. “Always be open to improvements. Let’s make Cebu a city not just of great urban advancements but as a city that has a great art scene as well. But most of all love your craft and be passionate with what you do.”
Daot began working on murals when he was an assistant to his teacher back in high school. He started doing street art last year because he was intrigued by the feeling of using spray cans for his art.
Because his art style focuses on realism, Daot feels challenged by taking on walls with spray paint and is really enamored by the works of Insane, Saturno, Inti, Roa, Etam Crew and Smug one because they’re all realist street artists who take on monumental dimensions.
While his art process for street art remains the same as his process for canvass painting, he really enjoys playing around with composition, hoping to reflect the things he observes around him as well as his personal and vicarious experiences.
“Young street artists should just keep doing what their heart tells them to. Keep practicing to get better. Heads up, but always keep your feet on the ground.”
The Monday Playgroup Cevolution Collaborators
Though Golda is more of a fine artist than a street artist, street art is something that she’s always wanted to explore.
“I have so much respect for street art and artists,” Golda says, “And a lot of my work is inspired by the work of street artists who have also now ventured into fine art.”
Of all the street artists, Golda says she really admires Connor Harrington’s work, explaining that she likes how his street art follows closely with his work on more traditional surfaces.
Meanwhile, when it comes to her work, Golda explains that her process involves the creation of color studies and sketches.
“Then there’s a lot of introspection — looking back to events in my life that’s has in one way made a substantial impact,” she adds on. “Then, I paint. And then there’s a lot of fear, anxiety and feeling stuck in between layers of paint. And I muscle through these emotions and make the best possible work I can.”
Ivan’s been in the street art scene for a very long, long while. Starting out in the late ’80s where avenues of showcasing art were very limited; Ivan says he was raised by the street. Taking his creative work more seriously in 2006, the creative formed the UBEC Crew with a few friends and has now become one of the most prominent and most experienced street artists in the scene today.
Influenced by his friends, his enemies, and his surroundings in creating his art, this street artist is playful creative that’s filled with zest.
“My style is the style of no style,” Ivan explains, “My main message is THINK. I don’t want to explain my art. I want people to put in what they think and make their own conclusions. I hope to be a catalyst more than a preacher.”
His main word of advice to the kiddos in the art scene is “Don’t get into trouble.”
Ronyel doesn’t really think he can call himself a street artist, but rather a creative involved in independent art making.
“Ever since I entered UP Cebu as a fine arts student, we (students and teachers) did guerilla art performances in random spots and experimented out of the norm installations and pieces,” he says.
Ronyel is the kind of artist that starts working based on the available material, creating pieces based on how the material’s potential use and potential appearance. His latest series right now, “LUTA” or “LAKRA” is a set of imprints on fabric where he rubs fabric against a textured surface to leave an imprinted design.
Ronyel personally doesn’t follow a specific style of art but is instead drawn to the concept behind them, including the subversive and individualistic nature of street art. Admiring the works of Banksy and other low brow artists, he says that it’s interesting to see new artists and new art styles popping up around the city.