Sculptors of Note

My mind’s still on sculpture.

I now recall some exciting and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities in college when the exposure in Art was more than I can imagine. We may not have created fantastic works of Art, nor did we get to exhibit any of our works, but we were able to go to various exhibits, meet notable artists, study their work, and interview them one-on-one.

One such instance was with Tence “Bogie” Ruiz, who, to my great surprise just recently, was the creator of that 3D thingamagig exploding in discombobulating colors, the Erding Erdrayb and His Scene-Stealing Palace (see pic above), exhibited in the library of Ateneo de Manila, which was one of the sculptures that had a lasting impression on me.

Back in college, my class partner and I had to do a final paper for one of our Art classes and we chose Bogie Ruiz as our ‘artist’ study. All I knew about him was from what I’ve read in our of our Philippine Art History readings, which says that he was among the forerunners of ‘Social Realism’ in the Philippine Art scene. Now how often does one get to meet important artists such as himself in this lifetime? I was so excited I was all in jitters!

It was pins and needles for me when we met him at his strangely-designed but remarkable house. It was strange in a fascinating way: it actually looked like a warehouse of creativity. A Venus de Milo-like sculpture of his was right by the dining area, and… if my memory serves me correctly, so were these strange sculptures on the wall; the industrial-looking iron steps/bridge high above us which turned out to be where their bedrooms were, his shelves and shelves of Art books, and of course, I cannot forget the number of times he cursed habitually.

We were so afraid of making a mistake during our visit. We bought him a cake from Red Ribbon in appreciation for the time he had given us to interview him and let us in his home. I shall not forget that experience. You could say, I was quite star struck.

Another probable inspiration is Agnes Arellano, whom I didn’t get to meet personally, but whose house I had the privilege of visiting during one of our class field trips for Art History — and it was amaaaaaazing! Her spacious backyard has a Pinoy nipa hut on the left side and a small Japanese house on the right. I fell in love with the Japanese house. You can view this house in one of her daughter’s music videos. Her daughter, by the way, is Mishka Adams. Not far from these houses is of course her studio where some of her inspiring works are made and stored. I really wish I could learn how she did all those casts. One particular sculpture of hers which had a very strong impression on me was her Carcass-Cornucupia (see below). I thought that was really a striking piece sculpture that speaks volumes of women’s rights.

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