May 02
SALIN-GAMIT GALLERY by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Wed, May 2, 2007

The FAP Salin-Gamit is a tiangge of a different kind. Running for 25 days since its opening on April 25, the more than 50 booths offer bargains for the buyers. An instant hit are the items donated by movie stars with matching tags declaring the original ownership. And considering that the price is just right, the organizers are encountering problems on how to maintain the volume of items for sale.

Aside from the stalls that sell an array of merchandise, Salin-Gamit also has an art gallery participated in by the visual artists mostly from the movie industry. Half of the paintings on display were donated and the entire proceeds will go the drying treasury of the Film Academy of the Philippines.

In charge of the art gallery is Vic Dabao, a member of the PDGP (Production Designers’ Guild of the Philippines) who also writes scripts. Vic is known for his radical approach in his field. “Dapat kasi may improvement, maganda yung tuloy-tuloy ang development ng art. Hindi lang basta painting, oil o watercolor, maraming klase ng medium.” Painting bottles of wine or even patis bottles tickles Vic’s imagination. He was once featured in a TV interview on RPN- program to exhibit his painted bottles that sell up to 7,000 pesos.

One for the curious is the so-called mixed media done by Vic using unserviceable parts of the computer. Motherboard chips and cannibalized devices were pasted on the board and splashed with acrylic to give a neo-artistic impression. However, most of Vic’s mixed media on display give off a lurid picture similar to the art of Perdigon Vocalan, the renowned painter of Angono, Rizal. “Medyo horror ba? Hindi sadya yan, nasa mata lang yan ng tumitingin,” Vic explains with a chuckle.

From left: Narciso Santiago, Alex Cabrera, Vic Dabao, Crisanto Antonio, Fritz Silorio, Cesar Delgado, Lyndon Susi, Armida Francisco.

The group of visual artists is not a formal group at all. “Nagkasama lang kami minsan sa isang session,” confesses Lyndon. They exchanged contact numbers and when one of them has an activity, all the others are invited. Lyndon centers his art on landscapes which sells at a high price although for the Salin-Gamit, Lyndon discounted his tag price to a mere 7,000 pesos. “Fund raising daw kasi eh kaming mga artists we don’t paint for the money kaya kahit bawi gastos lang, sige na. Syempre gusto rin naming makita ng mga tao ang gawa namin, di ba?” All of the artists are in unison when it comes to finances, that they paint for the love of art.

As early as a week before, Vic Dabao had solicited pledges of donation from his fellow artists. Armida Francisco, the lone lady in their group, specializes in acrylic. She is so adept with her style such that one would think that Armida was only playing around because her fingers were much too fast for the ordinary eye. “Mas maganda ang kinakamay (laughs) kasi mas lumalabas ang expression.” Formerly married to an Arab, Armida had lived in the Middle East for a time and only came back when she was widowed. But all through those years, she had never stopped painting. “Masarap mag-paint, daig pa ang therapy. Medyo magastos nga lang dahil sa materyales pero it’s worth naman pag-natapos ang ginagawa.” True to her word, Armida was still putting on finishing touches to a canvass which was already on display. She said that art can always be improved so she retouches her painting whenever an idea comes to her mind.

Salin-Gamit visual artists in action.

Knowing that visual arts mostly cater to the affluent sector of the society, Vic and his artist friends agreed to hold an on-the-spot painting exhibition for free. Ordinary mortals who can hold their pose for 10 minutes or so are treated to several sketches for souvenir or as compensation for the stiff neck. “Ano ito, parang promo. Syempre maa-appreciate mo naman ang art namin pag ikaw mismo ang andun, di ba?”

Like Armida, Fritz Silorio also uses his fingers to form the background colors which provide as silhouette of his subject. “Pastel ito, parang crayola,” Fritz explains of the material he uses for the colors. His eyes shifts from the paper to the subject in milliseconds while his fingers move with dexterity. Finishing touches, however, is done by a dark pencil.

Cesar Delgado’s style is the opposite. Using the basic center-approach where he draws a cross to define the boundaries of his drawing, he takes extra care with the measurements like an architect. A master with the charcoal, Cesar uses pencil for the informal sessions like this one. “Madali lang naman kasi sanay na kami. Pero pag me bayad syempre mas mataas ang quality,” Cesar laughs at his own joke since he fully agrees that they paint not for the money but for the enjoyment. That may be the reason why some famous artists died poor. The satisfaction is not on the tag price but mainly on the appreciation. In fact, Cesar jokingly said that a buyer need not haggle because he can get the painting for a song if he properly expresses his appreciation.

Like cooks who apply different recipes for a single dish, artists have their own interpretations of the subject matter. “Iba-iba ang interpretation. Bawat artist, may kanya-kanyang impression ng subject kaya kung ano ang tingin niya, yun ang lilitaw sa interpretation.” Vic explains further that sketching is somewhat easy at first but becomes difficult later especially in the finishing stage. “Minsan kasi parang ang dali-dali gawin tapos pag nakita mo na sa malayuan ang gawa mo eh parang hindi pala yun ang gusto mo. Kaya pangkaraniwan ang retoke kasi sayang naman. Pero minsan meron talagang tapon.” It’s common for an artist to scratch or throw away some of his unfinished works whenever his taste disapproves with finality.

Some of the finished sketches are temporarily exhibited in the Salin-Gamit gallery. With this writer as the subject, sketeches done by Lyndon Susi, Armida Francisco and Fritz Silorio, from left to right.

Also eye-catching in the Salin-Gamit gallery are the works of Leopoldo Aguilar who seems like a tribal leader with his colored hair and dark skin. “Kalikasan ang forte ko eh. Medyo ethnic para maiba naman.” Aside from his abstract paintings, Leo had the same knack for Vic’s mixed media. He has a string of used CDs drawn with different images and designs. “Magandang pang-display sa study room… kung hilig mo.”

Leo also boasts of a CD album containing his compositions. All with ethnic sound, the songs used native instruments for accompaniment in the studio recording. His idea of a mixed exhibit appealed to Vic Dabao and some of the other artists. “Bago yung ganun. Naka-display ang mga art namin tapos may maririnig ka pang sounds na ibang klase,” postulates Leo who is intent on pushing his ethnicity to the public eyes and ears. It was unfortunate that they were not provided with a sound system. But for a consolation, Leo almost jumped in jubilation when Evangeline Pascual bought a CD even without sampling the contents. And to think that 250 pesos is not cheap for a never-heard album, Evangeline Pascual’s gesture was a clear support for the budding artists. By the way, Evangeline came with her mother who, despite her age, showed a clear-skin smile worthy of the toothpaste commercial.

Evangeline Pascual converses with Leopoldo Aguilar, who dabbles in ethnic and environmental work of art.

Salin-Gamit is mainly a fund raising activity in support of the Film Academy of the Philippines. The advertising approach is centered on the movie stars, of course. But the producer, headed by Espie Vivas, left no stone unturned in treating the public with a variety of dishes in the long list of menu, starting with the celebrities’ personal items to the performances, interesting displays and countless of activities. Truly, Salin-Gamit is one of a kind and hopefully would turn into an annual event, much grander next year.

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