Filipino Artists Under 40 To Watch Out For
Paulo Vinluan, 39
Educated at the University of the Philippines and the Pratt Institute, this New York-based artist’s pieces are often exhibited at Finale Art File and Silverlens in Manila, as well as in galleries in Singapore and Hong Kong. His works are complex in theme and are presented creatively, showing a clear and strong narrative despite his experimental style.
Lui Medina, 38
What sets her work apart is how she uses landscapes as the framework for her pieces, rather than its subject matter. She experiments with form and figure to explore how topography can be easily moulded into other objects. Medina mainly uses graphite for her work, and has exhibited locally and abroad in countries like Indonesia, Taipei, and Singapore. She also recently finished a residency at Fusion Inaudita in Italy.
Faye Pamintuan, 24
She constantly travels between the two places she calls home—Manila and Texas—and this change in energy and surroundings has greatly influenced her works. Pamintuan’s paintings are highly colour-centric: she begins her process by making gestural stains with acrylic paint on her canvas to dictate the piece’s main theme. She graduated magna cum laude from UP Diliman’s Fine Arts programme with a major in Painting in May 2018 and continues to exhibit her work in galleries throughout the metro.
Ricky Ambagan, 38
Armed with an old school style of oil painting, Ambagan’s works evoke a sense of nostalgia in his audience. While inspired by memories from his childhood in conceptualising his pieces, he admits that his art style has grown over the years. Starting out as an abstract artist, he later evolved into an impressionist who finds more satisfaction in the academic way of painting. He has won numerous art competitions locally and his works have also been exhibited in Art Trek Singapore.
Costantino Zicarelli, 35
His work has evolved from oil paintings and mirror installations that centre on the dark side of pop culture into elegant graphite drawings and wooden assemblages that make references to science-fiction. Zicarelli’s pieces have been displayed both here and abroad, in Kuala Lumpur and Brooklyn among others. He has won his fair share of accolades, including the CCP’s Thirteen Artists Award in 2012 and the Ateneo Art Awards’ Fernando Zobel Prize for Visual Arts in 2017. The latter granted him a residency at Liverpool Hope University last year.
Ciane Xavier, 31
Originally from a small town in southern Brazil, she has lived in 14 different countries since her teens. The constant movement shaped what she calls the identity loss and reconstruction that is apparent in her work. Xavier experiments with silicone and expendable foam among other kinds of materials to create pieces that use pop culture to reflect on the boundaries of today’s society. Though a self-taught painter and sculptor, she studied interior design at the Philippine School of Interior Design and has had her work appear at Provenance Art Gallery and Vinyl on Vinyl.
Krista Noguerras, 31
In creating her sculptures, she finds intimacy in the process of working by hand. Her primary medium is clay, but she also experiments with metal and other found objects to create her pieces. Her work explores themes of femininity, sensuality, and mental health while observing different cultures. She has exhibited with Artinformal, among others, and recently finished a month-long artist residency at T U Collab in Singapore.
Ryan Villamael, 32
Fresh out of college, he worked as an assistant for three different artists while trying to figure out his own creative path. The use of paper as his medium was born of necessity rather than desire as it was more affordable than paints or sculpting materials. Through working with paper, Villamael realised that though the material was simple, it was just as expressive as the more typical mediums. These days, he experiments with other materials like metal and mirrors. He worked on a special exhibition for the recent Art Fair called Behold A City. Villamael’s work has also been exhibited in Japan’s Biwako Biennale and Thailand’s MAIIAM Contemporary Art Museum, among others.
See more of Ryan's work here.
Renz Baluyot, 29
Though he often works with traditional painting media such as oil and acrylic on canvas, he has experimented with rust to serve as both a material and subject. Thus, it is fitting that his work centres on bringing awareness to the issues that plague the country. Baluyot has had exhibitions in Singapore and Hong Kong as well as fellowships and residencies in Osaka and Vermont. This exposure has added to his artistic knowledge and has helped him create works that spark meaning and hope.
Isobel Angeli Francisco, 30
She graduated with a degree in Humanities from the Ateneo but took no formal application courses in fine arts, save for an Introduction to Drawing class. Francisco was drawn to digital art, for which she exhibited in 2011, but after her computer broke down, she learnt how to paint with oils on her own. Her works are driven by music, with a curated playlist for certain situations she finds herself in. She has staged exhibitions around Metro Manila and in Hong Kong.
Jappy Agoncillo, 24
With acrylic and spray paint, Agoncillo breathes life to any surface he considers a canvas. His strong illustrative style commands attention as his murals exude a high energy. His works are inspired by comic books and films, particularly by cinematic masters like Quentin Tarantino and Ridley Scott. He belongs to FOBB, a Filipino art collective based in New York, and has exhibited there as well as with Tarzeer Pictures in Manila. He has also painted murals in cities like LA and Mumbai.
Zean Cabangis, 34
Despite his work being abstract in nature, there is a sense of familiarity to Cabangis’ pieces as they are based on landscapes from his travels. He places heavy lines and planes to redefine the spaces and structures in the images he portrays to create new and imagined places. In the Philippines, his work has been exhibited in galleries across the metro like Artinformal and has also had his work exhibited in Art Basel Hong Kong and in galleries in Singapore. He was also an artist-in-residence at the Southeast Asia Art Group Exchange Residency in Indonesia in 2011 and received the Thirteen Artists Award from the CCP in 2015.
See more of Zean's work here.
Lilianna Manahan, 33
The outcome of her work is often perceived to be whimsical, but as Manahan herself says, there is more to relate to the longer one looks. A graduate of Industrial Design from the University of the Philippines and Foundation Studies in Art and Design at the Central Saint Martins College, she works with metal and ceramics to create her pieces. She won the Rising Talents Award at the Maison et Objet Asia in 2014 and has had exhibitions with Silverlens, Finale Art File, and Salcedo Auctions.
Melissa Lara, 26
Influenced by old photographs from the ‘40s and ‘50s, her works evoke a sense of nostalgia for a bygone area. Lara’s pieces are reminiscent of vintage fashion portraits and moments captured on camera but are instead drawn and painted by hand. She names artists like Constantin Brancusi, Helen Frankenthaler, and Kees Van Dongen as her inspirations, as well as photographers Richard Avedon and Vivian Maier.
Tammy De Roca, 24
Though her first professional art training started when she entered University of the Philippines’ Diliman’s Studio Arts programme, her interest in art and dedication to the hustle started long before that. Her work explores the textures of ocean currents as a form of meditation and is heavily influenced by Elaine Navas’ bodied and strokes as well as seascapes from her travels. De Roca has had her work exhibited in Mono8 Gallery, Vinyl on Vinyl, and Manila House.
JC Jacinto, 34
He graduated with a Fine Arts degree from the University of the Philippines, Diliman with a Painting major and participated in a residency project with ARTHUB Abu Dhabi in 2014. Throughout his career, Jacinto has exhibited in numerous galleries within Metro Manila, including Artinformal, West Gallery, and even Art Fair Philippines. Apart from Abu Dhabi, his work has also been featured in Art Stage Singapore last year, where he explores the autonomous nature of rocks and minerals.
See more of JC's work here.
Yeo Kaa, 29
She graduated with an Advertising degree from the College of the Holy Spirit in Manila and trained in Fine Arts during her time there. Kaa uses acrylic for her paintings and resin for her sculptures, and her works have often explored dark themes like depression and anxiety. This may come as a surprise as her pieces are bright and candy-coloured. These days, though, she finds that she cannot contain her joy and paints about it, too. Kaa’s work has been exhibited at Art Fair Philippines, Art in the Park, Art Basel Hong Kong, as well as in galleries in Switzerland and Shanghai.
Sid Natividad, 30
A graduate of Far Eastern University, Natividad also took up an Intensive Drawing and Painting programme at the Florence Academy of Art. Critics say his works evoke a sense of maturity and restraint that is rarely seen among local artists, making him one of the most promising realist painters of his generation. Being a free diver, water is close to his heart. Thus, it seems only natural then that this is one of the themes he successfully explores in his works.
Chelsea Theodossis, 27
Her works are easily identifiable with their cool and restrained colour palettes which have become crowd favourites. The subjects of her works are usually objects that one encounters in their daily lives that are painted with dramatic lighting and are visualised in a way that captures borrowed time. Theodossis has exhibited in Ysobel Art Gallery, Provenance Art Gallery, and The Metro Gallery, among others.
Isko Andrade, 23
Even at a young age, Andrade has shown prowess in creating hyper-realistic paintings. His works are rendered in sepia with subtle contrasts of light to display the intricate details of his subjects, resulting in pieces that evoke a sense of nostalgia. Apart from having held exhibitions around Manila, he was also the grand prize winner of the 2015 Philippine National Oil Company Art Awards for the Oil on Canvas category and received a special citation for the 2018 Metrobank Art Awards.
Enzo Razon, 24
He lived in the States for five years before moving back to Manila where he grew up in. Razon co-founded Tarzeer Pictures, a photography gallery and creative agency that specialises in documentary short films. As an artist, he works on a variety of media: photos, ink drawings, videos, installations, and paintings. His works have been exhibited around Manila, and was part of the recent group exhibition, In The Near Distance, at Leon Gallery.
See more of Enzo's works here.
Jesse Esplana, 30
This visual artist hails from Marinduque and is also a trained chef. He is self-taught in his craft, and finds inspiration from music, poetry, and films. Esplana is also inspired by the masters he admires, particularly Amadeo Modigliani and Paul Gauguin. The narratives of his works are expressive as they are abstract and surreal. Aside from exhibitions, he has also won several national art competitions and was shortlisted for the Philippine Art Awards in 2017 and 2018.
Jel Suarez, 28
With the collages she creates, Suarez is able to explore the past through the objects she collects and re-arranges. The emotional hold in the details of these found objects is what moves her to create, as well as being inspired by textures, shapes, and patterns in her surroundings. Suarez’s exhibition at West Gallery last year, Traces By Which We Remember, was re-mounted for the Ateneo Art Awards and here she received the Embassy of Italy’s Purchase Prize through Ambassador Giorgio Guglielmino. She has also exhibited in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore.
Kristine Caguiat, 30
When asked to describe her works, Caguiat finds that they are very mercurial. Her pieces can either be vibrant or sombre, depending on her mood for the moment. She uses different materials for her collage pieces as she finds meaning in the process of putting broken pieces together to create something new, and enjoys using graphite on paper. She is mostly self-taught and has grown from experimenting with various media but graduated with a degree in Information Design from the Ateneo and took a short course on illustration at The Slade School of Fine Art in London.
Wawi Navarozza, 39
This multimedia artist is popular for her photographs, which speaks more of her ability to visually direct an image than to document what is before her. Such is evident in her tableaus, portraits, still life photographs, and installations. Navarozza has had a wealth of exhibitions both locally and abroad, including (but not limited to) the National Museum of the Philippines, Art Basel Hong Kong, and the Singapore Art Museum 8Q, and has also published two books which have been launched in Paris and New York.