by SARA GRACE C. FOJAS
Page design by PINGGOT ZULUETA
Multitalented young artist Jerome Choco likes to express his love for music not only through his beloved instruments but on a white canvas, with Rembrandt and Caravaggio as his bandmates.
“Art, for me, is like a musical piece that I need to play by note and melody in order to give it a soul so that the viewers would also feel what I felt when I was creating it,” he says. “I want them to also hear my music through my art.”
His exhibit “Transposition II,” in cooperation with Nova Art Gallery, is inspired by the Dutch painter Rembrandt and Italian painter Caravaggio. “I carefully studied their lighting, colors, and honed my skills in creating hyperrealism in my art piece. I started with a concept in mind—minsan naiisip ko na lang bigla habang nag-paparada ang banda, nagbibisikleta, o nakasakay sa jeep (Sometimes it just occurs to me while the band is marching, while biking, or while I’m in jeep),” Choco says. “Then, it’s time for a photoshoot. After that, I will apply it on canvas. Habang ginagawa ko ito, dito lumalabas ang maraming layers at stories ng isang piyesa, ang kuwento ng isang banda, ng sarili ko, o ng society. Inspirasyon ko sa paggawa ang mga mahal ko sa buhay at ang mga pangarap ko na nakaugnay dito (While I do this, the many layers and stories of a piece come out—the story of a band, of myself, or of society. My inspiration is my loved ones and my hopes for them).”
At 27 years old, Choco’s love to expore different styles, through Google and the magic of the Internet, has honed his skills as a hyperrealist. His interest in art started when he was in high school at the Regional Pilot School for the Arts in Angono, Rizal where he first learned about drawing and different art mediums. As a student who loves art and music, money was scarce and he could not afford the instruments and materials. But the generosity of his classmates and friends helped him through it.
“I stopped studying for a year, before going to college, because of financial problems,” he says. “During that year, I could say that I honed my skills more because I would draw and paint every day. It was also that time when I joined a contemporary art group in Angono, the Neo-Angono Artists Collective, and I joined a marching band.”
At the Neo-Angono Artists Collective, Choco met his mentor, the hyperrealist Wire Tuazon who guided him in developing his skills. “My skills now vary,” he says. “I can say that I’m still in the process of experimentation and discovery, but my themes and concepts all have something to do with a marching band and with music, because playing instruments is one of my hobbies. I’ve started to perfect my skills in hyperrealism. Now I apply the colors of Caravaggio and Rembrandt, just like in my ‘Transposition I’ and ‘Transposition II’ exhibits at Galerie Stephanie and the Nova Art Gallery, respectively. I am able to show different emotions in my artworks and that makes me happy.”
Now, Choco works in a makeshift studio in Angono—an old classroom transformed into a museum of his and his co artists’ masterpieces. It is here where he continues developing his style and, soon, his masterpieces will likely be seen and known by more galleries in Manila. This 2020, he plans on exploring his talents even more.
“I realized that my art evolved fast, perhaps because of my continuous exploration and experimentation with various styles. This 2020, I plan to rest from solo shows and to focus on myself. I will do first what I really like to do on a canvas and, when the time is right, I will put them out there,” he says. “I realize that I have been fortunate to have had many deadlines for various shows or galleries, but I’m even more lucky to have time to work on my own art—the kind that’s wala lang, I just want to do it because it makes me happy. I think it is here that I am able to put out what’s truly in my heart. I am looking forward to the coming years for my artworks to be even happier and freer.”
‘Transposition II’ runs until Jan. 4 at Warehouse 12, A La Fuerza Compound, Don Chino Roces Avenue, Makati City. | 632 659 3697