April 15, 2011
REINERIO A. ALBA
I only started noticing these eye-catching street art late in 2010 dotting the McArthur highway (Valenzuela) on my way to and from my Manila office. One day, in February 2011, I finally had the chance to photograph most of it and immediately posted most of it in my facebook account. It soon got comments including one from poet Angelo Suarez who had been most helpful in helping me identify the artist behind it. Angelo suggested that I get in touch with Pilipinas Street Plan (PSP), specifically Mark Salvatus, a cross-disciplinary artist based in Manila and a core member of an artist-run initiative called TUTOK, as well as co-founder of PSP under the Boy Agimat tag. Salvatus has been instrumental in helping me get to know finally the mystery Valenzuela street artist.
Most of these street art/post-graffiti are casually in wall spaces where MMDA art are or walls of ruins that most often does surprise the passersby. On closer inspection, one would find that they are drawn on Manila paper, then wheatpasted on the walls instead of drawn or spraypainted directly on the walls (via stencil) much like the famous works of Banksy. To my mind, this being the artwork’s material, and considering the pollution and weather it is subjected to daily, makes these works of art poignantly ephemeral. Brian Barrio’s works capture spontaneous moments of individuals and groups, and for me, are always emotionally charged: a father carrying a son on his shoulders, a father hugging a son, a mother carrying her child, and always drawn in a manner that (at least, to my mind) sculptor Napoleon Abueva would have drawn in had Abueva chosen the medium (not meant to disparage Abueva here, I love Abueva). And these works coming from a 16 year old teener! Interesting, too, to note is that most of the drawings feature characters that are smiling. And then I came upon Brian Barrio’s blog site, which explains the “smiles.” I am glad to have captured a photo of most of his works in the streets of Valenzuela while they are still intact. Valenzuelanons, take note, Brian Barrios is a fellow Valenzuelanon after all! (and have your photo ops with the works while you can before the July rain slushes them away).
And am the more glad because I was able to engage Brian Barrios in a short light interview, which I am posting here:
Rei Alba (RA): Anu ba modelo mo? Actual na tao or sa isip lang?
Brian Barrios (BB): May reference ako. Pictures.
RA: Bat ayaw mo na pintahan mismo ung pader?
BB: Hindi pa ako sanay. Magprapraktis nga ako mag-paint sa canvas ngayon e.
RA: Ah oks. At saka mas matagal kang andun nakatayo, masita ka pa for graffiti nga 🙂
BB: Oo. Tama.
RA: Panu un? May dala kang balde ng pandikit at tambo ng walis?
RA: Anu time mo ba usually nilalagay?
BB: Gabi po.
RA: Super gabi?
BB: Hindi naman, basta dumilim na. Mga 6 o 7.
RA: Buti di ka nahuhuli. As in super bilis mo lang magdikit?
BB: Hindi naman ako natatakot mahuli e. Sa tingin ko hindi naman ilegal ang ginagawa ko.
RA: May mga naninita ba sayo?
RA: Ikaw lang talaga ang nagdidikit? Walang barkada?
BB: Wala e. Wala kase akong kaibigan na interested sa ginagawa ko. Isa rin sa dahilan kaya ako nag-street art ay para mgakaroon ng mga kaibigan na mahihilig sa art.
RA: Ba’t un bang mga kaibigan mong iba, anu hilig?
BB: Computer. Dotadota
RA: Nag dodota ka rin ba?
BB: Hindi. Internet lang.
RA: Nagba-bastketball ka rin?
RA: Ga’no katagal ka magdrawing ng isang tao or figure?
BB: Isang buong araw. Minsan dalawang araw, kalahating araw. Depende sa gagawin ko
RA: Sa salas nyo?
BB: Sa kwarto ko, kwarto namin. Parang studio ko na rin.
RA: Nag-background music ka ba habang drawing? O walang istorbo?
BB: Radyo. Ahaha. Simple lang. Ahahha.
RA: Nagbe-break ka naman para kumain or tuloy tuloy?
BB: May break syempre.
RA: May sketch ka muna sa pencil? Tapos pentelpen ba ung black?
BB: Paint po yun, latex paint. Opo sketch muna.
RA: Nakaka ilang lata ka ng latex paint? Ung maliit lang ba un? Puro black lang ?
BB: Actually, 2 lata ng maliit lang ang nauubos ko ngayon. 2 lata palang sa ngayon.
RA: Ilang brush meron ka para magawa un?
BB: Apat: Number 1, 3, 7.
RA: Tapos alin dun sa na piktyuran ko ang pinakauna mong nagawa?
BB: Eto. Medyo hindi pa ayos yung gawa ko dyan.
BB: Yung Smile Projects pala, positivity ang motibo ko dun. Kaya ginawa ko yun, kase karamihan ng mga street artist ngayon, medyo negative ang tingin sa kanila. So, naisip ko mas mganda kung gagawin kong medyo postive yung ipinararating nung mga gawa ko.
RA: Alin na ung first na work mo na part ng Smile Projects?
BB: Yung sa may Fatima.
RA: Yung may camera?
BB: Oo kasali din yun, pati yung mag ama.
RA: Mga kelan pa yun?
BB: Mga October 2010.
RA: Panu mo pinipili ang space mo pala?
BB: Basta pader na maraming makakakita.
Most recently, Barrios participated in Disconnect 3: Sticker/Poster Art Exhibition, in Kalye Art Gallery at 1220 Singalong St., Malate last May 21, 2011. This was organized by both Pilipinastreetplan and StreetKonect