December 6, 2022

Roy Espinosa: Rising to the level of a lotus

A solitary, many-petaled pink lotus blooms majestically like the mountain range in the horizon with a sky anticipating rain as newly plowed earth awaits irrigation. A bud patiently pauses to open in a thicket of deep-green, shield-like leaves in Roy Espinosa's masterpiece of calm and quiet, the18-by-24 inch, acrylic Lotus Flower Series 8.

Narrating the infinite cycle of life, it inspires the viewer to dream beyond reasonable doubt, a clear testimony that nature has the ability to self-cleanse and self-regenerate. This nature-centric storyline tells of a personal backstory. Espinosa rises to the level of a lotus, making it the emblem of his resurgence as artist.

This work's awe-inspiring silence predicts Espinosa's present style of subdued realism that took two years to evolve since his comeback. After experimenting with various media and genres as visual artist, he blended two styles in self-interpretations that mirrors his self-effacing personality.

This style produces realistic landscapes in altered impressionism, producing a unique synthesis inspired by realism - reality that is ordered, wonderful and uplifting such as in the 18-by-24 inch, acrylic on canvas A Day in the Countryside in the freshest of green and breathtaking pink cusping with violet.

This July, Espinosa will showcase subdued realism painting, the four-by-three feet acrylic on canvas Summer Solstice, in "ArtDialogo 2016" - an art exhibit to be held from July 29 to Aug. 4 at the Ministry of Tourism and Culture Malaysia, 109 Jalan Ampang in Kuala Lumpur. A brainchild of chairman Nemi Miranda and co-chairman Anna Karina Jardin, its Philippine counterpart will be at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts Gallery, 633 Gen. Luna St., Intramuros, Manila, from Nov. 20 to 28.

Espinosa also launches the coffee table book entitled Watercolor Magic, Book 2 of Different Strokes, and its exhibit component that highlight the latest works on paper by the country's best watercolorists at Art Asia Megamall on Aug. 8 at 6 p.m. Noel Barcelona wrote the book and edited by Paula Isaiah Panganiban.

Espinosa reflects about art and artistry in 13 answers:

What fascinates you the most about art? Whenever I see beautiful works of art, I become fascinated. They arouse my curiosity, and I often I ask myself: "How did the artist do that?" I am interested with the aesthetic process and how I can, in some way, apply that process in creating my pieces.

Who is the artist that inspires you the most? My late professor, Ibarra de la Rosa, had the strongest influence in my art. Ibarra was my inspiration why I pushed myself to become an artist. I cannot forget his philosophy in creating art. He once told me, "Do not work under the influence of alcohol or drugs, because it is not your art." These words embedded in my consciousness and become my own philosophy. You don't need to get drunk or intoxicated to become creative; creativity is within your heart, your mind and your soul.

What training did you get as an artist? Aside from the techniques that I have acquired from my mentors at the Philippine Women's University, I always practice. I see to it that notwithstanding my busy schedule as husband, father, businessman (I own a small advertising shop), publisher, and art and cultural advocate, I still paint or do some sketching to hone my craft.

Are your works Filipino in spirit? I always paint about ordinary folks - street vendors, farmers busy harvesting the fruits of their labor; children at play; life in the rural areas; and the beautiful sceneries of our country. I think those subjects make my works essentially Filipino.

How do you determine when an artwork is done? Let me borrow from Da Vinci: "Art is never finished, only abandoned." Only if you are satisfied with your own work, then you can say it is done. However, there is always room for improvements.

Do you associate with other artists to stay competitive or to socialize? That is not me. I do it to learn more and to get new ideas. I don't compete with them; I only compete with myself. I see to it that every time I create a new painting, it is better than the last one. Besides, I don't believe in competing with others although it is nice to win awards in art competitions.

How do you market your art? I only sell my artworks during exhibitions. But to bring my piece and try to sell it to the client - I don't do that unless there's a prior arrangement or the work is up for delivery.

Are you a prolific artist? I just came back from a three-decade hiatus in the art world. Honestly, I am still relearning how to paint. I believe that artistry is an evolu-tionary and revolu-tionary process. Art is always fluid. There is always a room for improve-ment; there is always a new subject or genre to explore. I mean I cannot rate my own self since I am not used to give myself labels as an artist. Let the audience and history decide if I am prolific or not.

How do you keep your art fresh? Art is dynamic. Since the art world is constantly changing, you need to go with the flow. And to cope with those changes, you need to reinvent yourself; you need to try new approaches, new techniques to keep your art fresh.

Do you think an assistant makes an artist's work less important? With all honesty, I don't believe of having a "taga-mantsa" or an assistant. It can be compared to painting under the influence of drugs and alcohol for it is not you who created it; it was your assistant who made it. I don't want to take the credit from the original creator. And isn't it more fulfilling if you are the one who creates, and that you do not depend your "creative output" to others?

What aspect of your art is distinctively yours? I think what makes my art different from others is the brushstroke and how I use colors. Many people say that even they are looking from afar, they can recognize my works because of its texture, the brushstrokes and the color scheme.

How do you foresee Philippine art three years from now? If the new government will just support the arts and our artists, local arts will be more recognized internationally in that time span; and the works of our local artists can compete with the big names in art from around the globe. As of the moment, as you may observe, there are only a handful of artists whose creative outputs are recognized. We are dreaming that in our NGO, The Filipinas Institute for the Advancement of Arts and Culture and its magazine, Filipino Artists magazine, that the Filipino ingenuity in arts will be put in the map, once again.

What is the question you'd like to ask yourself and how will you answer it? This is a tough one. Well, I will ask myself: "Roy Espinosa, what will you be as an artist, five years from now?" And the answer: "A reputable one, not only here in the Philippines, but in other countries as well."

Source: Tribune