Arts & Leisure

Discover young artists in Art in the Park

Posted on March 11, 2015

A FANTASY SCENARIO: You but the work of an unknown young artist for an affordable price, then years later that artist becomes a superstar, and you’re suddenly in possession of an expensive work of art. That scenario has actually happened to several collectors who obtained works by young artists at the affordable art fair Art in the Park, said Trickie Lopa, one of the organizers.

A PIECE by Studio 1616 artist Yeo Kaa
Ms. Lopa said that she herself discovered Rodel Tapaya at Art in the Park several years ago. At the time Mr. Tapaya was not yet a highly sought artist, a winner of numerous awards such as the Cultural Center of the Philippines’ 13 Artists Award, and not yet an auction darling who commands formidable prices.

Back then, he had just come back from his first one-man show in Boston Gallery, which didn’t sell. So the works from that exhibit were being offered at Art in the Park. Ms. Lopa remembers choosing between one work that cost P3,000 and another at P17,000. She bought the cheaper one but now regrets it. The more expensive one was eventually auctioned off in Salcedo Auctions for a tidy sum, she said.

The thrill of discovery -- that’s what Art in the Park promises as it returns on March 22 at the Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati. The art fair will run from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. To make the art accessible, none of the works on offer can be priced for more than P40,000.

Art in the Park -- a project of the Museum Foundation of the Philippines and Philippine Art Events, Inc. (which also organizes Art Fair Philippines) -- started in 2006 when Ms. Lopa and Lisa Periquet were helping conceptualize corollary events for the second anniversary of the Salcedo Market, a regular Saturday food fair at the park.

Starting out with 12 participating galleries, Art in the Park has grown into a separate event with 60 art galleries as well as independent art and student groups participating.

Aside from young artists, established artists are often asked by their respective galleries to come up with artworks that fit the budget limit, said Ms. Lopa. So an artist that one cannot afford anywhere else might just be within reach at the fair.

A sudden burst of applause at the fair ground means that a member of the artist group Studio 1616 has made a sale, said Yeo Kaa, one of its members. “We’re really happy when someone sells an artwork, so we celebrate,” she said.

Composed of students from the Technological University of the Philippines (TUP) and Ms. Kaa who is from Holy Spirit, the members met each other through art contests, and many of the 25 members have won awards. Studio 1616 (named after the number of the apartment they used to hang out in) was formed in 2011, and its member’s styles run the gamut.

This is Studio 1616 fourth Art in the Park. Ms. Kaa said that the group’s first year at the fair gave them exposure and led to invitations to exhibit at galleries -- it has since been featured in Boston Gallery, Pinto Art Museum, West Gallery, Secret Fresh, and Vinyl on Vinyl.

“The next year, the collectors were already looking out for us,” she said in mixed English and Filipino. Just last year, a collector arrived at the park at 7 a.m. and went through their pieces. The collector bought so much by the time the fair officially opened at 10 a.m., that by noon their booth had barely anything to display. “People thought we weren’t selling anymore but in truth we had ran out of things already,” she said.

For the upcoming fair, they are going to sell paintings, bags, and shirts. They have also invited artists from Batangas to join them.

There will be many new attractions at Art in the Park. Right now there an online auction ( of two drawings by artist Danny Dalena with starting bids at P9,000.

Fair goers will be able to play with a giant Rubik’s cube-like installation at the entrance of the parking area. A project by Vinyl on Vinyl gallery’s artists Jood Clarino and Dennis Bato, the seven-foot-high work features LCD monitors that visitors can turn to complete an image on one face of the cube. The various monitors will play different videos that represents people’s goals and desires for a good life, said Mr. Bato.

There will also be a selfie spot to raise funds for artist Lirio Salvador, who is in a coma. The spot will feature Mr. Salvador’s signature guitars made of metal bit and pieces like spoons and gears.

New to the fair are gallery 1335 Mabini, Paul Muchi Lao (son of Lao Lianben) who will be showing his photographs, and a wildlife photography group.

For details, contact Irene Venturina at, 831-0953, or visit or www.facebook/art-in-the-park. -- Jasmine Agnes T. Cruz