Luz Ocampo: Wrap Artist Par Excellence

pabalat ng pastilyas

The first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word Bulacan is pastillas de leche, those sugar-dusted pillows of carabao’s milk casually wrapped in white. As a child of the North, I routinely, quietly wished for them each time my mom and dad were out traveling.

Exploring Bulacan with the FoodPrints food travelogue show was more than a wish come true. Once there, it was the seemingly dying Filipino traditions that I wanted more to digest. One of them is the art of pabalat ng pastillas de leche, the endangered art of wrapping milk candies with billowy colorful paper cut outs.

Luz Ocampo

We met Nanay Luz Ocampo, an octegenarian who has made a mark in pastillas paper wrapper design and cutting. Hers are done in elaborate Filipino motifs, handcrafted laser cut-like patterns from the mind, inspired by her environs in San Miguel. Her artistry that started as a hobby when she was 12 years old was recognized by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, in books and in art and culture exhibits such as the University of Santo Tomas Likhang Bayan.

Pabalat ng Pastilyas

Skilfully cut tails in a kaleidoscope of colors add to a more festive spirit, making a conversation-worthy material. If they seem familiar, the elongated paper artworks have an uncanny resemblance to Chinese tomb decorations.

Daughter Naty tries to follow her footsteps. She traces her mother’s stencils on layers of papel de Hapon ((Japanese paper) and uses a pair of sharp point tip scissors to cut out holes. To sustain the fading craftsmanship, occasionally, they put to use the mastery to lecture in Bulacan and in other parts of the country.

Among Nanay Luz’s prized possessions are photographs of her art by prominent artist Jaime Zobel (top frame in photo below).

Luz Ocampo ResidenceThe Ocampo ArtCarved Dayap

Another story of mother Luz’s meticulous artistry is fruit carving she developed as a teen during WWII. In the same vein as she snips out shapes in paper, making intricate designs on fruits such as dayap or suha requires a profusion of love and serenity.

Fruit Carving

Mrs. Luz Ocampo 83 Inang Wika St., Malolos, Bulacan, Philippines (044) 791 5657

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Juan Elani Tulas: Painting his own path

Styro Art

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.

The ArtistMeeting JuanPeace Pond II by Juan Elani Tulas

“You may see it differently, but I know what it is,” Juan says enigmatically.

Picture 902Picture 893-02

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.

ArtSamtoy Books

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.

Juan Elani TulasCoral ReefSunday AfternoonSamtoy Books "Kadilian Exhibit
Photos by Gee Diaros and Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

Khervin Gallandez: Nurtured by Art

Khervin Gallandez

Twenty-two year old Khervin John Gallandez is one of the kids who at a pretty young age have already figured out what they want to become later in life. He remembers — “As early as seven years old, I would fill the back of my aunt’s thesis draft papers with doodles and cartoon characters.” Back then, his fascinations were Dragon Ball Z and the work of Philippine Star editorial cartoonist Rene Aranda.

Khervin's Studio

Khervin went to the Laoag Gabaldon Elementary School for his elementary education and for his secondary education the Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trades. Among his frustrations are the lack of a fine arts school in the province and the little availability of art supplies locally.

The young artist has the full support of his parents, George and Cristy. Darwin Co, the owner of Topside Marketing, who has given him space inside the custom framing store says of Khervin, “He is talented and his artworks are very detailed.”

I went to visit him at his shop this afternoon.

Khervin's studio

Q&A with Khervin Gallandez

Describe your art?

Random. I draw what I like. I can’t be stuck in one genre.

What inspires you as an artist?

The cultures of different peoples. Rembrandt and Michaelangelo, I also like classical.

What colors are you drawn to?

Vivid colors. And monochrome.

Paint Brush and Palette

Describe how it is to be a struggling artist in the province.

It is an independent thing. If only there were more art events and venues to promote local art. I’ve joined the Sama Summer workshops by the city government in the past. Samtoy Books has displayed some of my work which include an acrylic painting in memoriam of Robin Williams. I am hoping to be able to have my own exhibit in the future.

How have your clients discovered your art?

The social network is a big help to promote my art.

Madame Imelda

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

I was commissioned by a client to do an artwork of Mrs. Imelda Marcos as a gift to her for her birthday.

Did she like it?

I heard she liked it.

Khervin G. artworks

What is keeping you here in Ilocos? Have you ever considered moving to another place for greener pastures?

There is no place like Ilocos. I prefer to live here.

What other things interest you?

Photography and reading books about the culture and politics of other countries.

What other things are you passionate about?

Animal welfare and animal rights.

Khervin's artframed work

Khervin shares some of his memorable moments…

Artwork by Khervin GallandezArtwork by Khervin GallandezArtwork by Khervin GallandezIn memoriam of Robin Williams by Khervin GallandezKhervin at Samtoy Books

and photos from his phone.

Photo by Khervin Gallandez 2Photo by Khervin Gallandez

Khervin Gallandez does tattoo design, portraits, abstract expression, illustration, colored pencil design calligraphy, logo design and more. Find him at his space at Topside Marketing, General Luna St., Laoag City or contact him through his numbers: 0916 7988904/ 0923 1227058, or his Facebook page (here).

All photos of Khervin Gallandez at his Topside studio by Blauearth
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014