Monday, October 13, 2008


I first came across a graffiti that made me think when I was in college way back in th early 90's. Passing along Katipunan from U.P. on the way to Aurora Blvd., I remember seeing scribbles on a wall across Ateneo. I would, of course, pass it by never giving any notice. However, I do know at least that the text written on the wall changes every now and then.

One afternoon, I was caught in a sudden shower that made me take shelter under a shed that faced the same graffiti'ed wall across the street. From my spot, I could make out what was written and in bold, red letters it said, "Art is never ONLY for the RICH. Open your EYES. It is on the STRIT!" (I remember even the wrong spelling for I wrote it down in a notebook that I found again after more than a decade stuffed in one of my boxes.)

A few months ago, I passed by the same spot. The wall's not there anymore. I never knew who did those graffiti. I don't even know where he gets his quips and quotes. All I know is that it somehow got stuck in my memory and managed to provoke me whenever I'd remember some of those words.

I guess that's the nature of graffiti. Fast. Fluid. Provocative. Much the same way as this artist has managed to provoke many minds with his work. I speak here of secretive and existing-on-a-pseudonym British artist Bansky. His works speak loudly from the gallery of the streets.

... and I found out that Bansky is in New York doing a streetside installation art. It's a mock pet store with animotronic "creatures" in cages. The whole store's insides can be seen from the street through the big shop windows where one has to do a double-take when he/she sees the caged "animals".

It's called "Village Pet Store And Charcoal Grill" and opened only for the whole month of October. Here's a quote from the artist, ""New Yorkers don’t care about art, they care about pets. So I’m exhibiting them instead. I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming, but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing. I took all the money I made exploiting an animal in my last show and used it to fund a new show about the exploitation of animals. If its art and you can see it from the street, I guess it could still be considered street art".

I wish I am in New York to see this freaky "animal" show. I personally love the hotdogs in the cages. Watch the videos and you'll find out. :-)


I mentioned in a past post about this young artist whose postcards I saw at Cubao Expo and I will mention him again - DEX FERNANDEZ. It's refreshing to see young and immensely great talent in some of the most interesting places. In this case, happily too, I saw his images on a set of postcards he was selling on small table with a female companion on the street.

Now, there are artists and there ARTISTS. This kid is the latter. I leafed through his cards, bought a few and luckily he had on the back a url where some of his works are placed. Check out KRAYOLAEATER. I figured he was one of those kids who eat their crayons while doodling. no wonder his images turned out to be crazy and wonderful "doodlettes". (Hmmm, our mom fed us boiled eggs everyday. I wonder if that's one reason my works turned out to be plump.)

Dex's illustration style also reminds me of Henrik Drescher with a little more edginess and is way much fuller in in color. I figure someday, some publisher would spot this guy's work and give him a children's book project. I would love to see his monsters on print as a book someday.

Now, take a look at some more of his creations. My favorite is his 'Garapata' series. (Garapata, I think is a tagalog word for tick.)

"Feet Everywhere"
(They look like a hooded Ku Klux Convention attendees)

'Ugly Elepop'
(I swear, if I get to ride the bus where he drew this graffiti,
I'll tear off that leatherette cover and have it framed.)

'Battle of the Unknown'
This piece of his that he feature on his deviant art page
was bought by some unknown buyer. Dang! Whoever got it sure
knows what good art is.

'I Made My Own Monster'
Strange, but this reminds me of Soviet Communist-era
public murals

I figure, this guy will someday be big. I am eager to see how big he'll be as an artist in the future. In the meantime, I can't wait to finally get the t-shirt he designed next weekend when I find myself again in Cubao Expo.

Oh, and if you can't buy his works on paper, the next best thing would be to buy his cards and t-shirts. You will LOVE... LOVE... LOVE... his t-shirt designs. Well, I do. :-)

Get them from Pablo Gallery in Cubao Expo or text him or his posse at 0922-2335510 or (and I just found out now that they have funkier stuff pa) connect with them at bigtimeplankton


Happy Coconut crabs said...

Its similar to your works but on a "pop"-ish visually blasting level! where are your bizarre, iconic works Dan? my neurons need a work out!

SeƱor Enrique said...

From way back in January of 2006, I've blogged about Banksy, the zany "art terrorist" -

and graffiti or street art -

We should have the same in Manila.


palma tayona said...

@ Happy Coconut Crabs: Hahahaha... i can't help but laugh at the idea of giggling nut crabs. I see them crawling on the beach shaking their pincers in a drunken dervish. hehehe... crabs drunk from lambanog.

my iconic works?? i would hardly call them that. well, am finishing some here at home. but they're too large that i can't put them on a scanner. dang, i need a digicam.

palma tayona said...

@ Senor: hmmm, didn't know you wrote about it in your blog. street art and graffiti in manila, as fas as i can remember, was very much alive in the 80's when the dictatorship was abuot to fall. during the mid-eighties, there was an upsurge in "protest street art" and from which ranks came the visual artists of today that make socio-realist art. it was also in that period when the U.P. CFA started doing street art in the campus. we were given chalks, cans of paints and we'd make large paintings and drawings on the streets. eventually, this spread int he other universities.

with today's young generation of artists, i see a movement towards re-interpreting images from popular media like anime, cartoons etc. into street level art.

i figure street graffiti and art also sprung as a sort of commentary on the pressures of urban jungle living. I would doubt if there are street art and graffiti in rural environs. :-)

JayAshKal said...

Thanks for sharing and introducing us (me, specifically) to Dex Fernandez and his wonderful works of art.

You guys are my two favourite Pinoy artists at the moment...

palma tayona said...

glad you enjoyed his works as much as i do. he rocks. ;-)