MANILA, Philippines – We like to think of fine art as the sort of beauty that keeps itself confined to particular spaces: within a frame, on the white walls of a gallery, safely kept inside a building and reserved for the eyes of the scholarly elite. But bring fine art into the open and allow it to breathe in a public space, and it takes on a new life.
Art in the Park began to take form in 2006, a brainchild of Lisa Ongpin-Periquet, along with co-founders Dindin Araneta and Trickie Lopa, as a way of making art more accessible. “We wanted Art in the Park to be a friendly, informal art event that would bring art out of galleries and museums and into a casual open-air setting,” says Lisa. “We hoped it would help people want to learn more about art and artists in general.”
Whether you’re a hardcore collector or a casual observer, Art in the Park has something for everybody. And this year, Art in the Park is now 60 exhibitors strong, still utilizing the open spaces of Jaime Velasquez Park, in Salcedo Village. Come Sunday, March 22, frequenters and newcomers can expect something new and unique this year as one of Art in the Park’s main attractions this year will be a large installation called “Recipro City,” a monument made up of television screens and moveable parts, conceived by emerging street artists Bato and Jood Clarino.
At 25, a graduate of Far Eastern University, Bato has come a long way from his days as an architecture student and comic artist for the school paper. It was through meeting other artists that he found himself deeply immersed in the world of street art, eventually taking it upon himself to practice the city-bred craft of graffiti.
Bato is one of the two masterminds behind “Recipro City,” a large Rubik’s Cube made of LCD monitors made interactive and designed to twist and turn the way a regular Rubik’s cube does. The inspiration for the piece comes from the cube’s nature as a puzzle and how our daily realities represent the facets of our lives, compelling us to seek alignment and uniformity on all sides. “When you purchase a brand new cube it always (comes) out of the box solved. You can have it that way and never solve the cube ever, so it won’t be disarranged, but what is the point of having it in the first place?” says Bato. “Just like our life, we cannot move forward if we just stick within our comfort zones.” And judging by the scale and ambition of “Recipro City,” Bato has certainly been clawing out of his comfort zone, in earnest pursuit of the honest and original.
Street artist Jood Clarino, 33, is the other creative half of “Recipro City.” A graduate of UST who majored in painting in the College of Fine Arts and Design, Jood is well-trained in his craft. But it wasn’t until he found Pilipinas Street Plan, a community dedicated to celebrating the beauty of street art, when his art career really took off. “It started when I participated in a sticker exhibit, which is quite related to street art, and then eventually it just escalated into doing the city, making murals in public, and then eventually having galleries, including museums,” says Jood.
The goal behind Recipro City’s interactive nature and mixed media approach, according to Jood, is to inspire discussion. “That’s why it’s interactive, so it can create discourse among viewers. And at the same time, (there are) videos that can show different angles and lifestyles of city life and urban life.”
Representing Vinyl on Vinyl alongside Bato, Jood is ultimately thankful for what Art in the Park is doing for the local art scene. “I think that Art in the Park can address both artists or art writers or gallery owners to see what’s the progress or development in the local art scene,” says Jood. “Artists also have the challenge to be inspired more, or just challenge themselves to create better artworks.” So here’s hoping we see Art in the Park going on for years to come, and Jood and Bato continually pushing the boundaries of creativity.
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Art in the Park will be held at Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village on March 22.