COLLABORATIONS between a young artist and her National Artist grandfather, and paintings of churches are the highlights of an exhibit Rustan’s For the Arts featuring Al Perez and Paulina Luz Sotto.

Rustan’s founder Gliceria Tantoco was an avid supporter for the arts, and since the founding of Galerie Bleue at Rustan’s Makati in 1984, Rustan’s has continued to celebrate Filipino talent. “We started Rustan’s for the Arts in 2016 and we exhibited various local artists that were not as known and that’s the core of the project — going back to our roots,” said marketing communications manager for Rustan Commercial Corp. Dina A. Tantoco. “Now that art is becoming a part of our lives and a lot of the local artists are being discovered and developed, we also have created a campaign to support them,” she told BusinessWorld at the exhibit’s launch.

Paulina Luz Sotto, who painted portraits in her teen years, only began painting abstracts in 2015 as a pastime after graduating from college. “I woke up one day, and I had this idea with lines. So, I put it on canvas and, like any millennial, I put it on Instagram. And then, when I had a few abstract paintings, someone asked me if I was selling,” she told BusinessWorld.

The artworks on display showcase her fascination with lines and geometric figures. Some were done in collaboration with her grandfather, National Artist for Visual Arts Arturo Luz. Their collaborative works are identifiable through the use of black, white, red, and gold — what Ms. Sotto describes as her grandfather’s color palette.

Asked if her grandfather mentored her as a child, Ms. Sotto said: “People think he does, but he doesn’t. I’ve [actually] never seen him paint. I lived with him most of my life, but he’s never really mentored me. He gives me advice, but [it’s] not really mentoring.”

Rustan's for the Arts 2
Miag-Ao Church, Iloilo City by Al Perez. — MICHELLE ANNE P. SOLIMAN

The 25-year-old said: “(The ideas) really just are all in my head. I’m not the type of person who goes out and observes everything… I’m more of — I sit in my studio. I sit in my chair. I think. And I doodle.” She said that she hopes to continue painting and that “hopefully more people appreciate my work. I’m just waiting for new ideas and to continue evolving.”

Al Perez brings history alive through his paintings of churches, travelling around the country to capture their beauty.

He told BusinessWorld that his fascination with religious architecture is due to the fact that he hails from Bulacan which is known for its churches. Aside from the churches, Mr. Perez has explored a variety of subjects, from Philippine rural life, nipa huts, portraits, nudes, and flowers. Despite his mastery, Mr. Perez said that churches are more difficult to paint compared to portraits and still life since “kailangan lahat ng detalye kuha mo (You need to capture all the details.)”

Mr. Perez has partnered with the Philippine Tuberculosis Society on a fund-raising effort where 40 of his church paintings were made into postage stamps and sold at P395 a sheet. The postage stamps are available at the Philippine Tuberculosis Society headquarters in Quezon city, Art Asia gallery in SM Megamall, and Rustan’s Makati.

The exhibit runs until the first week of April at the 4/F of Rustan’s Makati. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman