03/06/2015

Back to the future

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Flower power: 24-year-old Isabel Santos shows humanity some tough love in her exhibit “In the Year 2000.” Photo by Joseph Pascual
Flower power: 24-year-old Isabel Santos shows humanity some tough love in her exhibit “In the Year 2000.” Photo by Joseph Pascual

If there’s one thing we can learn from hardcore fangirls, it’s that images on a wall can boost morale. They can even be powerful.

There’s something about a powerful image—be it Harry Styles’ face or a poster calling for a revolution—that pushes us to move. And even history says so. Just look at famous Rosie the Riveter (commonly known as the girl in the “We Can Do It!” poster) and the “Keep Calm and Carry On” poster designed by the British government to raise the Brits’ morale during the Second World War. It took a while to overcome these issues but the images definitely inspired people to move, fight for their rights and hope for the best.

This is what 24-year-old artist Isabel Santos hopes to achieve in “In The Year 2000,” an exhibit she did with fellow artist, Ian Jaucian. The two artists explore the year 2000 from a non-specific point in the past. From futuristic robots to Superman, the universe Isabel and Ian paint may be reminiscent of science fiction novels and movies but with technology developing faster than the time you try to save money to spend on it, it doesn’t seem impossible at all. Their art is a reminder of the potential doom that’s looming over humanity. “(I want our audience) to realize that it’s time to make better choices and to care about the world around them,” says Isabel.

Isabel’s love for the environment goes way back. “I was part of a junior environmentalist club in grade school,” she says and reveals that if she weren’t an artist she’d probably be in an NGO or working on a farm. Even though she thinks she hasn’t done as much to help out as she wants to, the exhibit is definitely a step forward.

Something superhero: “(Art) can spur something in people that can affect change,” says Isabel.
Something superhero: “(Art) can spur something in people that can affect change,” says Isabel.

This week, we caught up with Isabel to talk about her past; her imagined post-apocalyptic future, and how art can save the world. Because at the rate that humanity’s going, we need all the help we can get.

YOUNG STAR: What were you doing in the year 2000?

ISABEL SANTOS: I was 10 so I was probably in grade school and being a suck-up to my teacher. (Laughs)

Did you know early on that you wanted to pursue art?

Yes. There was a point in high school where my peers and teachers boxed me as the one good in art or the apo of (award-winning artist) Malang Santos. I wanted to prove that I could do more than art. I really like science so I focused on that for a while and I was even in advanced physics in my senior year. But in college, I got bored with my course-related (European Studies) work and enjoyed anything in line with art instead. I took a year off after college to travel and eventually got back to art.

How did growing up in a family of artists help you find your style?

What helped me is they exposed me to art early on. I went to museums at the age of two. The museum, gallery and studio visits developed my taste of what kind of art I like and don’t like. I think my style isn’t 100-percent there yet but it’s a fun ride of trying, failing and trying again.

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Aside from your family, who else inspires and encourages you?

I used to accompany my notes with drawings of Ernest Rutherford or other scientists so I could remember them easier. My friends encouraged me after seeing my doodles. The majority of the inspiration I got outside my family came from the life stories of people I admire like Van Gogh, Jim Carrey, Conan O’ Brien and Ira Glass.

Do you think art can save the world?

I think about the value of art a lot. And I’m leaning towards saying yes. The value of art for me is in doing art and experiencing it. Iba-iba effect ng art sa tao eh. It can spur something in people that can effect change.

If you could bring three celebrities to join you in a post-apocalyptic army to save the world, which three would you pick?

This is purely for the selfish reason that I want to meet them. I would pick Roger Federer and Amy Poehler. I would also have Martha Stewart there for utility purposes.

Any tips for kids born in the year 2000 and up?

Be kind to everyone… unless they’re a-holes. (Laughs) Do work regularly even without a deadline. Expose yourself to as much art as you can.

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Check out “In the Year 2000” at Silverlens Galleries at 2/F YMC Bldg. II, 2320 Don Chino Roces Ave. Ext. Makati, City. The show runs until March 21. Visit their website for more details: http://www.silverlensgalleries.com/

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