While tons of styrofoam have clogged the world’s landfills and waterways, artist Juan Elani Tulas has created used styro containers as a medium for his art. The results of his experimentation with polystyrene, gasoline and tinting colors have produced numerous intricate mosaic paintings, exhibited both here and abroad. His latest solo show, entitled “Kadilian”, is ongoing at Samtoy Books at the La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center.
Kadilain, the Ilocano term for coral reef, never leaves his imagination. Born to Ibaloi and Bontoc parents, Juan was raised by relatives in the coastal village of Ricudo in Sinait, Ilocos Sur, where he paints 8 hours a day at his “bodega” of a studio. He says he dreams landscapes even in his sleep. I can imagine how deep Juan’s imagination is. He’s been painting for seventeen years and he says he still enjoys it even if his semi-dead fingernails say otherwise.
“You may see it differently, but I know what it is,” Juan says enigmatically.
Two particular paintings I like are Peace Pond I and II. He wants to show the richness of the coast up north, he says. Lovely art. I will definitely have to see Juan when my own dream of owning a house by the beach comes true.
Ten styro fruit boxes went into the painting in the background. One artwork takes one month to fully dry.
Many thanks to Juan Tulas and Gee Foronda Dianos and Mabeth Macayanan of Samtoy Books for the nice and cozy Sunday afternoon.