More often than not, mental health illnesses are trivialized – to the point that it is apathetically dismissed and ignored as a mere attempt to bring an afflicted individual back on an emotional level that is more acceptable and manageable for the common man.
Mental illnesses are frowned upon with a stigma which is harmful to an afflicted individual.
Discomfort Room is an experimental group show attempting to engage that stigma. It is an experiential acceptance; that these problems exist within our material plane of existence, manifesting in our daily lives like broken furniture inside our own homes.
The room recreates the space inside our heads, decorated with the pains and illnesses depicted in different types of media. It communicates the ephemeral struggle against a constant burden in an individual’s daily life; and yet it is a safe-space, where the disturbed can realize that they are not alone in their fight.
As art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable, the room is set to comfort or discomfort the occupants.
Either way, welcome home.
Curated by WIPO and written by Wesly Sy, DISCOMFORT ROOM is available from August 5 to September 2 at District Gallery at Arts Above, Penthouse West Venue Bldg., West Avenue Quezon City.
Kris Abrigo is a sculptor, a painter and an illustrator, just to name a few. He studied in Fine Arts and majored in Visual Communication in UP Diliman. He has won a national sculpture competition and has had a handful of group shows under his belt. His work has gained much visibility over the years from doing street art for a year and doing illustrations and set designs for magazines, to creating murals for commercial and residential spaces, and crafting design sculptures for a furniture shop.
Gab Baez plays between two ends of the spectrum: the discipline of neatly cropped images and the crude rendering of ghostly visions. Her monochromatic paintings are images of experiences; moments captured by the eyes of others, borrowed as if to live in that reality or perhaps escape her own. She shows how fragmented her thought process can be and still make sense to the person seeing it. Seeing the face of a girl can mean one thing to the artist and another to the viewer. A hand is only a hand until it is transformed by a pun.
Franz Oliver Chan Casaclang (FOCC) transforms and channels his ideas through the virtual romance of 3D Graphics and Motion Design, churning in different sources primarily poetry and music and how it activates senses and sensuality. This is why FOCC’s works, although appearing to be arbitrary, carries innuendos that ironically reflects the truth about emotional and social interactions, even its paradoxes. The name speaks for such artistic discovery. FOCC took Visual Communication in the University of the Philippines-Diliman and is currently a Multimedia Officer in one of the country’s casinos.
Graphic Designer and Multimedia artist, John Hey graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines Diliman with a bachelor’s degree in Visual Communication. As a student, he was part of the varsity track and field team and was also a freelance designer and multimedia artist; maximizing his capabilities in different fields and balancing priorities as a student-athlete-artist all at the same time. As a young boy, he would frequently create different characters using clay as he was exposed to anime and cartoons in television. Sculpture is Hey’s main media for his works and his subjects derive from pop culture. In recent events, Hey’s works was part of the Mars Ravelo’s: Early works exhibit held in NCCA last April. The Ravelo family commissioned him to render a few of Mars Ravelos first comic book characters namely: Rita, Gorio, Tekla and Ipe into sculptures. It was the first time in 70 years that these characters where rendered from two dimensional drawings to three dimensional artworks. He currently works as a fulltime art director and graphic designer for an advertising agency and is also pursuing his career in creating designer toys/ Toy art.
Lorenzo Luis Hidalgo
With a background in filmmaking, Luis Hidalgo translates his skills into his video art. He draws inspiration from the human body, specifically the eyes. This part of the body becomes a medium to tackle themes such as the influence of media to the present generation and societal perception of current issues and norms. Hidalgo graduated with the degree of Digital Filmmaking at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde. In 2016, his thesis film “Nakauwi Na” was a finalist for the short film category.
Jeffrey Jay Jarin
The primary concept of Jeffrey Jay Jarin’s works are just simple day-to-day moments that basically anyone can relate to. He gives significance to things, places, and feelings that surround us, a common-ground — like plants for example. It is somehow innate to us to consider plants to be just a decorative object, something to fill those plain spaces we have at home, but little do we know about the so called filler, plants have personality, use, benefits and feelings too — just like us.
Visually, Jarin’s pieces almost always contain concrete elements to signify the stiffness around us and plants to provide balance between the living and the non-living things. A few other elements that he named “integral organisms” that wander and explore within the space can also be seen, as his representation of one’s curiousness and adaptaion to unknown spaces or situation to give us enlightenment of things on a much deeper level.
Jeffrey Jay Jarin received his B.F.A. major in Advertising at the Technological University of the Philippines in 2013. Currently, Jarin dedicates most of his time to being a full time artist.
“I am Doktor Karayom. I am the living fear of Russel Trinidad. I’ve taught him how to be brave, alert and inquisitive. I showed him how to be sensitive to things. I used the world of horror as an outlet for him to showcase his feeling. I’ve trained him to use the color red as a more effective tool for his story telling. I’ve instructed him to infuse his feelings in every line and every stroke, base everything on each pulse and emotion. Every new piece has no do over. I’ve taught him to sketch in paper, paint in canvas, and go out the streets and make something out of the walls because I don’t want to limit Russel’s talent and the thing he does. Together we met creative people and friends, ive givent him knowledge on carving and sculpting things. We converse a lot when he gets tired of this reality. I let him enter my domain to talk. During morning, he is awake for his job as a graphic artist. Me on the other hand I wake at night to draw, to carve, and to sculpt and during these hours I watch over him as he dreams and aspire to reach his wish in life. I’ve lent him my courage… and he in turn help me live in this reality.”
Born in Quezon City, Philippines in 1993, Celine Lee grew up as a city girl. For most of her formative years, Celine always had an appreciation for the arts, most especially in visual arts. What she thought was just a childhood dream, eventually became her career.
She graduated with honors from The University of Santo Tomas in 2015 with a BFA degree Major in Painting. Months after graduating, Celine briefly worked as an intern for Secret Fresh Gallery. On October of that same year, she also had an internship at the Lopez Museum and Library in Pasig. More than a year after graduating, Celine landed her first group show at The Metro Gallery and has since been joining several group shows at different galleries within Metro Manila. Although she graduated as a painting major and was exposed to traditional art, Celine eventually explored different materials and medium for her works. Celine’s fascination of the universe, time, astrology and everything else beyond what people perceive now as absolute truth and what is myth is the inspiration for most of her pieces. What the artist would like to show to the spectators is how science and art can come together as a way not only to teach or show an idea, but to ultimately contribute to the progression and vitality of human life.
‘’PISSSQUIDHEAD’’ – is a street / tattoo artist from caloocan city. He is one of the founding members of the street art/graffiti group known as ‘’THE VOID CREW PROJECT’’. In 2007 He graduated from the Technological University of the Philippines taking up product design and development technology, after graduating from TUP he then took up Bachelor of Fine Arts – major in advertising in University of the East Caloocan. While attending school in UE, he ventured into street art, painting his trademark character in different parts of metro manila. He was also active in joining several painting competitions during his time in college. being nspired by other painters and street artist local and International, such as Nemo Aguila, Froilan Calayag, Andres Barroquinto, Osgemeos, Herbert Baglione, Banksy and many more. His works are basically a product of long bus rides, staring at clouds while joining the infamous mosh pit in the MRT, a good stash, and lots of cups of coffee. After finishing his bachelor’s degree, he then again ventured into a different genre in art this time making the human skin as a canvas. He then undergone apprenticeship to Ryan Bernardino and Kenneth Iwarat , two of the best tattoo artist of today. PISS is now a freelance tattoo and visual artist, pursuing his journey in art.
Rafaelle Louise San Agustin approaches painting as an interplay between control and chaos. Appropriating chance with a calculated focus, her works oscillate between action painting and minimalism. San Agustin reflects through painting a personal vision of contemporary existence, combining a wide array of mediums from traditional oil and pigments to acid colored spray paint, recognizing the ordered hierarchy of art while assimilating the sensory overload of living in our urbanized pandemonium. Rafaelle was born in Quezon City, Philippines in 1990.
She currently resides in Fairview and owns an advertising agency in Project 4 where she works as a Digital Marketing Executive and Art Director. She majored in Visual Communication under the College of Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines Diliman (2012). Her shows include The King’s Garden, Light & Space Contemporary, Fort Victoria (2014), Light & Space Inaugural Exhibition, Fort Victoria (2014), Ornamental Burnout, 182Artspace, Tainan, Taiwan (2016).
Reuel Yap Rendon
Reuel is a self-taught artist. He quit his job as a hotelier and returned to Philippines and started a career as an artist. Mostly inspired in renaissance, surrealism and pop. His works is juxtaposing cartoons and reality, a kind of reinventing himself and trying new ideas in abstract and figurative art.
Whimsical, melancholic, and quirky – three words to describe Raha Rodriguez, a graduate of industrial design who has an eye for upcycling unwanted objects. His designs present materials in a different light, different form, and different use. He has this desire and curiosity for experimentations with merging unconventional methods and materials from which his artistic philosophies also project by constructing a series of sculptural works that are heavily driven from the aesthetics of toys but contesting the notion of toys being just objects, and one for children specifically. Raha wanted to make something that was a little bit more adult in the thematic choices and show that toys could be an avenue to tell an array of stories through infusing heavy themes relating to societal ills involving history-contemporary events to which involves his day to day experiences and of those around him by rendering his pieces to a much lighthearted and indirect approach, a marriage between satire and sincerity; a commentary that usually relates to current events or personalities. The artist consider toys as possessions that does not only offer a series of momentary leisure, but rather something that sets the platform from which indoctrinates a specific societal role for the juvenile individual that contributes to the formation of the persons archaeological identity – thence of larger groups of people constructing society.
Mark Jeffrey R. Santos
Mark Jeffrey R. Santos is a Visual Artist residing in Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines. He studied BS Multimedia arts and Sciences (MAS) in Mapua Institute of Technology where he began his ventures in the creative industry. He studied traditional to digital art, photography, graphic design, and specialized in the field of Film and video not knowing that these are just stepping stones to become an aspiring Visual artist. As of now the entirety of his art focuses mainly on his own experiences. he usually exhibits scenes of his own real-life stories and he translates it into his own vivid world of creatures and oddities.
Red Salonga is a Manila based multimedia artist. A graduate of Asia Pacific College; majored in game design, yet has went back to his roots of traditional mediums. Depressed and Anxious. Transient in terms of skills. Career highlight: Pinto Art Museum Sunflower Mural.
Wesly Sy is a copywriter and graphic designer based in Marikina. He took his English degree at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines with a personal bias towards poetry, literary review, and linguistic research. He approaches art and literature as two sides of the same coin, using literary theories and artistic license to achieve a unified message that he hopes will transcend both niches to clearly signify an impactful message. His current art style is an amalgam of techniques he’s picked up on the way from friends and mentors, experimenting and playing with different mediums in the process. His discomforts include depression and anxiety. He performs poetry and has collaborated with a few artists before. He believes that Sisyphus, pushing a boulder up the hill day and night, is happy.
The art and architecture of the Manila-based artist Jose Tong is not a separate practice from his other artistic activities but rather a gesamtkunstwerk which includes installation works, drawings, object design and performance art. His whole opus is an antiestablishmentarian commentary on global and local geopolitical dynamics, global capitalism, class struggle, repressive apparatuses, gender conflict, history and technological inhumanity. His ideas stem from post-Nietzschean ontological problems in the complexity and contradictions in a hyperdense Asian megalopolis. His works doesn’t impose a perfect solution by a singular mind but rather questions, challenges, augments and creates an open-ended narrative in which a community could participate and develop. Simply put, his works are an expression of ultimate freedom unbounded by the fetters of a societal superego – a Hegelian process of constant challenging, restructuring and shapeshifting.
Miguel Lorenzo Uy
Miguel Lorenzo Uy is a multimedia artist born in Manila. He is acquainted to art at an early age through his love for art books and encyclopedias. His work explores on the ideas of beliefs, hopes, and despair of people and how it affects one’s perception of reality. He is still currently studying at DLS-CSB and is taking up Multimedia Arts to further expand his knowledge and skill in the use of different modes of communication. His first group show was in 2016 at Metro Gallery and from there still continues to practice and explore different forms of media and art.
His works attempt to explore the relationship between human and corresponding surroundings by progressively learning human behavior. He used to combine the past and present experiences as an opportunity to expand his abilities through constant experimentation. Unconscious movements, automatism, serendipity, bold style of dynamism by infusing abstract and making accidental discoveries are the way of expressing himself. His works focus on the analytical depiction of depression, mental disorders and mental health conditions.
Asking everything “Why?”, curiosity, existentialism, and anxiety attacks are the major influences of Wipo’s works. Human behavior and human psychology, emotions and feelings and persona are his main interest. Portrayal of his works are depiction of depression, mental disorders, and mental health conditions.