Friday, June 21, 2013

Russian Malachite, Baltic Amber, and the World's Biggest Colorless Diamond... What a trip it's been.


Well, it's good to be back home, but the summer's over and the work season has begun again. June brings in a lot of rainy weather as usual, so the storms are probably going to last for a while. I wonder if anyone here felt the earthquake that happened just recently... at first I thought I was just imagining the shaking, but then it sunk in around 15 seconds into the rumble.



Just for fun, I've been experimenting a bit with the look of my social networking hubs. I can't get over the vibrant allure of malachite as an artistic natural texture. I've had the chance to see massive examples of this semi-precious gemstone during my trip to Russia.


Large vase-like decor and pillars as tall as trees were just some of the magnificent examples of Russian craftsmanship through history. They made use of gold-gilded walls and statues quite a lot as well. Even the tops of many cathedrals had a large amount of gold covering them. I found out that the gold gilding process back then made use of a mercury-gold mixture poured as a hot coating over the object. The mercury would later on be separated, leaving the object to shine brightly because of the gold cover. -That's what our guide mentioned anyway.

During my month-long trip, I also took a tour through the famous amber room, witnessed first-hand diamond polishing at the Gassan diamond factory, explored the "vault" at the London national museum, and finally saw the world's largest type IIa, D color diamond- the Cullinan I, a.k.a. the "Star of Africa" in the tower of London. Too bad a lot of these places didn't allow any pictures, I would have taken a bunch of them.



In any case, I feel like Europe's old world charm is still pretty much there, despite the modernization of our times. Amsterdam has a "unique" way of looking at "tourism". London's architecture never ceases to amaze. Russia's palaces are as huge as people say they are. Estonia apparently does not serve stone soup, as I was stupidly tricked to believe. Sweden has the cleanest air in the continent, and Finland has Nokia. Yes, I saw a lot of Nokia phones there, despite the Apple and Samsung craze of the whole entire universe. Well till' the next trip, at least I have a lot of fond memories to keep busy with. Though I might have dreams of living in the amber room... I'm betting the sunrise would be quite bright in there (like the ambiance in this picture from nbc news).

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Gemology Lab Classes at GIA Hong Kong

I started my education at the Gemological Institute of America, knowing right away that it would be a long and fulfilling journey. Now back home to finish the several hundred gem identifications from GIA, I still reminisce about the many laboratory classes I took while in Hong Kong.

It started with the diamond grading sessions, which was a tedious (but rewarding) experience. In that class, I learned more about the world's most famous mineral than I ever have in my entire life. It was also in this class that I met my mentor; Alan Chiu, and my good friends Elisa and Samson. Not knowing how to speak Cantonese, Elisa showed me the best places to have a good lunch after long morning hours in the lab. During the course, I learned how to use the planet's smallest ruler to gauge precise measurements and impeccable angles in more than several dozen natural stones. It was also the first time I became familiar with the GIA DL-Scope; a favorite instrument of mine to this day.


When I came back to Hong Kong for the second time, I was met with a couple of friendly faces and new personalities. It was the beginning of October and we started our lab on colored stones with Alan introducing the students to each other. I met Charlotte from Shenzhen, China during the first day of class. She traveled back and forth everyday to attend the laboratory classes, which were held once every year. Soon after that, I realized that while a lot of my classmates were in different industries, majority of the class was indeed rooted deeply in the Hong Kong jewelry trade. While this course was a great eye-opener to the world of colored stones, the next course was the one with all the hard-to-master instruments.

I took the introductory pearl grading course during late nights, but even with the long hours everyday I still found joy in the newfound information I was able to absorb minute by minute. Here, Stella Lee; director of GIA Hong Kong led us to learn a lot about Asia's most popular organic gem. We examined troves of Tahitian, South Sea and Akoya pearls, as well as the new spice colors produced by China's freshwater pearl farms near Shanghai.



The gem identification laboratory course refined my knowledge of the integral gemological instruments. Our teachers; Stella and Annie, were pro's in the field and shared a great deal of insight previously unknown to me. The refractometer, polariscope, and spectroscope were among some of the various instruments we were required to use in order to identify several dozen minerals from scratch. We used a fiber optic cold light source for the spectrum viewing, which proved to be a daunting task. Short wave and long wave UV light, and a hydrostatic method were also used to find out other basic properties like fluorescence and specific gravity.

I became close friends with some of my previous classmates who also returned for that course as well. During the breaks I spent time talking about jewelry and branding phenomena with my buddy Nelson who worked successfully for many years at Van Cleef and Arpels. Good chats with him and my friend Gary led to my curiosity in learning more about the exciting Hong Kong market. Gary and Nelson also brought me to a good place to buy gem equipment, which was a welcome sight for me (because it's terribly hard to find those at home.)


After the initial sessions, I hung out with Loh who worked in the Malaysian jewelry trade and AB who came previously from the Indian gemstone industry. The lunch sessions were as much an eye opener as the classes because a lot of these people were quite knowledgeable about the industry.
Before our final exams, our group of buddies had a 'last supper' at a local Hong Kong style diner. Despite the usually crowded eateries, we found a place where the ten of us could actually sit together! I'll most likely hear more stories about these sessions the next time I make a stopover at Hong Kong and meet up with everyone again.

It's still a long road before I earn the G.G. diploma from GIA, but these experiences have given me a bright motivation to push forward and learn as much as I can about being a professional gemologist. It's a path I know that I'm going to master one day. The learning doesn't end though, and that's the beauty of my trade. I can't get enough of this colorful world. :-)

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tracing My Roots

A couple of months back, me and dad joined up with other Chinese-Filipino artists to take part in an exhibit that brought us back to the roots of our Asian heritage. Gulangyu island is a place that's familiar to many Chinese-Filipinos today. It's been a part of the numerous stories passed down from our taikongs and taimas (great grandparents) to our grandparents.



This exhibit was the brainchild of a new foundation for Gulangyu island and the heritage it represents. Some of the artists who contributed to the meaningful endeavor were Seb Chua, Rudy Yu, Addie Cukingnan, Janice Young, Patricia Yu-Vanasse and many others including myself. It was held last June at the Robinsons mall, with the help of the Gokongwei family (who also have roots from this historical island). The show was a first of its kind, aiming to educate the younger generations and expose them to the intricacies of their ancestors' homeland. Unfortunately, I was abroad during the opening night, so I have to thank the foundation and its supporters for the snapshots here.

Our exhibit was also featured in the Philippine Star news, with an online summary at their website here.
The Chinese Business magazine also published writings on the show with their July issue. In the article you can see some of the group's works and one of my past works; Dendrobium, which was also featured at the exhibit.



Sunday, June 3, 2012

Remembering Lladro and Swarovski

As a young boy, I often stared curiously at the glossy figures on my ama's living room shelves. At the time, I didn't realize they were meticulously made out of high-fire glazed porcelain.

Lladro is one of those legacies that has been ever-present since my generation's childhood days. It was one of the catalysts that got me onto the art track way back when I could only sculpt in play doh. Swarovski, the well-known crystal company is also in the same boat. These two brands, although centered around decor over art, make up a good influence in my early days of creative interest. Lladro helped me realize that sculpture is something that can portray both demure beauty and spectacular ambiance. Swarovski's crystals made me wonder about light-return and gave me the curiosity to collect minerals and eventually take up gemology.


Today, I see them as a reminder of my first steps into this field, and I appreciate their space in the world of luxury goods. Though timeless as they are, I'm not too fond of their newer creations however. I used to love Swarovski's clear sculptural displays of color dispersion, but nowadays they're creating effects that supposedly resemble opal's play-of-color and solid hues like those of topaz. For me, these newer pieces don't match up to the old classics that still have that spark many of us love.

Lladro's attempt on abstract sculpture was a little too simple to begin with. They made a comeback though with new movements such as Re-Cyclos that made novelty uses of older designs. In a way they were able to come into a contemporary nature much more than a modern one. They have newer collections these days that touch a bit on surrealism as well.

Why am I writing this post despite being an independent sculptor? Because it's interesting to me :) Kind of like when we were kids, we loved Superman so we followed all his comics all up to his newest movies. These two companies are some of my childhood heroes that I'll remember even as I evolve in my own art form. Art is significantly different from decor in many ways such as originality, uniqueness and even investment, but the influence I took from these companies was their undying love for visual beauty. That is something I share with them deeply.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Discovering Gems and Gemology

Not too long ago, I had the chance to visit the Australian Museum in Sydney during our trip to Australia. As a side perk I was able to walk through the Albert Chapman mineral collection on one of the higher floors and take a peek at some very interesting specimens of the natural world. It's indeed a treasure trove of playful colors and magnificent formations. I was barely able to see anything else in the museum because I spent around four hours on that floor alone.


Among the diversity of rocks and minerals present, there were also some very nice (and very large) cut gemstones of topaz, beryl, corundum and several other varieties and species. I saw a particularly large number of bright orange crocoite specimens that had fine sharp needles. The shelves were also filled generously with hundreds of rare minerals that couldn't usually be seen in their natural state these days.

Thinking back on the trip, as well as some of the other times I've seen large gem collections, I believe my interest in the field of gemology seems to be growing stronger. One day I would like to tie this interesting field to my existing role in abstract art culture. Gemological sculpture may be a prospective project for the future. Somehow the thought of an incredibly high cost for this project seems inevitable. I can imagine a 15" piece studded with round brilliant cuts of ruby and pink sapphire, emulating the color of passionate roses in summer.

In September, I'll be traveling again for my classes at the Gemological Institute of America. The scholarship grant they gave me was a good start in the journey. It's one step closer to my goal of combining the fields of art and gemology together. One day I hope I can create a new industry where science and creativity can merge together into a single and rare beauty.



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Sculpture Through A Photographer's Eyes

Last week I had the opportunity to come across the photography skills of my friend Jeri Barrios. Together with my dad Seb Chua, We did a studio session using a couple artworks from 2011-2012. We brought about ten artworks to be photographed and got ourselves in the series too.


While sculpture is the most familiar art form I relate to, photography isn't a stranger in the neighborhood. From my early college years up to now, I've been able to make use of this widely evolving media in many of the graphic designs I've developed for my artworks. This time however, Jeri's expertise in the photography of people came into perspective when he was able to produce a good collection of profile and fronting shots with us and our works as his subjects.

 I'd say the experience went very well, considering that we only made use of the afternoon to do all the photography work. He tells me that his appreciative affinity towards photographing people stemmed from his journey as a model here in the Philippines. From what I observed, Jerry's knowledge about lighting, positioning and overall taste is quite exceptional. He was also able to apply what he knew to the photography of our sculptures as well.

Some of Jeri's photographs are here on this post, however you can see more of them at by visiting this link.

(Photo to the left: Seb Chua, Photo above: Kylo Chua
-Photography credit to Jeri Barrios Photography)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Biz News Interview with Sculptors Kylo chua and Seb Chua

Yesterday, my dad and I were invited to a light-hearted interview with BizNews, to talk about sculpture and the business of art. Tony Lopez and Elizabeth Dee hosted the show and were very hospitable to us, supporting an amiable friendly chat about how we create our works. We discussed a little bit about the current situation of Filipino art as well as the growing demand for art in Asia. China's artscape is tied to its rising economy (my dad discussed) as we noted Chinese artists whose prices have gone quite high in the recent years. The Philippines is a more freeform, radical art community with a lot of potential, though a lot of artists are being tempted to live abroad to find the "promising dream" of the first word mentality.


Sculpture in the Philippines is a relatively re-emerging media (especially when we spoke about modern art). Painting has been a more historically oriented endeavor with Filipinos. Despite this fact, it can be seen today that the rise of mixed media and sculpture is straight ahead, with more and more art galleries exhibiting three dimensional works as main features in their shows. The turning point for the evolution of Filipino and Chinese sculpture in the country is near though. With contemporary artists and modernist sculptors leading the way into a new generation of Asian masters.

During a brief moment I also talked about following the aesthetic elements of sculpture in the field of jewelry, making and orienting pieces to aesthetically embody abstract art. The classic jewelry trade I believe, can still evolve to a more hybrid type of luxury where personal / art-oriented value can even match material value (precious metals and gemstones). As a Filipino-Chinese sculptor and a student at the Gemological Institute of America, this is a movement I cannot wait to experience. The optimistic growth of innovation in design is bound to happen in the next few years.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sprinting Across The Savannah

The latest one-off piece in my sculpture collection joins the River Swan (2008) as a tribute to the intensity of our natural world. This recent addition marks the first of my artworks for 2012.

The Savannah portrays a captured moment in the sprint of an elusive cheetah traversing the Serengeti. A beautiful creature in its own right, the cheetah holds the crown for being the fastest land animal on our planet. I chanced upon the idea for this sculpture after a moment of pondering on the ability of today's cameras to literally stop time and showcase motion through stills and frames. I believe photography to be a media of curiosity, and am an avid fan of the art. With that said, my tendency to experiment with my own media drew me closer to the subject of "motion".


What better way to see the notion of speed than to view the fastest creature on earth in mid-stride? I quickly took to my sketchpad and started creating the flat base drawings for my first cheetah sculpture.
The unique balancing of this piece strikes at the subject's own state of being. Motion is a tricky thing to sculpt, just as momentum is a rare tenant in some excellent photographs. Here are some pictures I took just after Savannah left the studio. Through the long course of this artwork's journey, I proceeded with a tempered aesthetic view on its final look and motif.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Aquiline Embrace of an October Evening

It's been a while since I've posted a new sculpture feature, but I decided to show you a new artwork today that I've drawn up from the workings of my previous piece, Aurora Australis. It's playful, almost conchoidal nature is meant to exude an entwining understanding of love. For every two people that devote themselves to each other's feelings, there will be a winding road that leads them to new discovery.

My sculpture, Aquiline Embrace is a one-off work that I started during one of my home-spent afternoons. I put a lot of care and thought into its contour because I desired it to be a rendition of two lovers locked in an embrace of mystery and lore.


During the week I've also made a little swan sculpture to commemorate another year of doing what I love. This modern "baby swan" is a slight miniature to the first, though un-molded and inherently its own finished piece. Its contour differs slightly apart from its mother's, and it has a more playful swirl added to a classically abstract composition. It's neckline reflects that of a younger, more juvenile creature ready to explore a new existence. Today I took a few photos of both to show you what I've been up to this past few weeks. I'm glad for all the friends and patrons I've been able to meet from other countries because of articles like the one featured in Silkwinds. With this year's latter half closing in on the studio, I'm thankful that many of my pieces have travelled far away from their first few days as clay on my workbench. Some found love in the homes of couples here in the Philippines, others have travelled as far off as Singapore, Australia, and the United States. All in all, what matters the most to me is that people appreciate the passion that comes with the craft. The world can be a great place to find inspiration to create just about anything.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Silkwinds" Silk Air's Inflight Magazine - July - August 2011

Silkwinds' July-August issue went digital today on their website. For the first time I was able to take a look at an article they wrote about some of my more recent sculptures like Dragonwell and Infinite Perception. I love the play of white against black in the layout and I'm really happy about the idea of my sculptures being up in the air (so to speak, since it's an Inflight Magazine). All in all, I'd like to thank Jericho and Selena, as well as Silk Air for featuring my work in their well respected magazine. Great job on the cover as well if I may add. It makes me want to travel abroad to visit and tour the Maharaja's exquisite palace... (daydreams...)



If you would care to view the pdf of the magazine, it can be found here. It takes a short while to load the pages, but they make it so that it looks like a real page-turn type of magazine on your window.

Silk Air is a Singapore-based Airline that is the sister brand of Singapore Airlines and responsible for around 60 percent of the company's Asian and regional flights.

Friday, June 10, 2011

'Eves of Eight' Sculptures on SPACE Design+Travel Magazine

This June, SPACE Magazine's quarterly design and travel feature came out on the shelves of bookstores around Metro Manila. Jacq and dad were the first ones to see the feature they wrote about me and my artworks. To be honest, I'm quite thrilled to be a part of such an elegant production- from photographic quality to layout, their magazine speaks a good luxurious feel through the line-up of well written articles and interesting features.



SPACE showcased a series of creative personalities in its select Art & Living category, among them were paper sculptors, mixed media doll artists and various innovative and creative individuals. To be included with these modern day examples of aesthetic progress is something I feel very appreciative of. Throughout my life, I've loved the elegance of artforms wildly varying in theme, form and contour. To think that my sculptural works have been recognized by others gives me a sense of great fulfillment indeed.

A special thanks to Hannah Galang, who's been a part of this endeavor from its core beginning, to my parents who rigorously support both my education and my artistic passion, and of course to Jacq who's been there for me through thick and thin- making sure I never stop believing in my dream. :)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Meg Magazine's 2011 Young Achievers Edition

This year, MEG magazine partnered up with popular clothing brand; Human, to release a special issue embodying the youth of today's modern society. I'm very thankful to MEG for including me as one of the 25 Young Achievers for 2011, and I admire the accomplishments of all the participants of the feature as well. From ice skating championships to web entrepreneurship to first class theatre acting, the skill set of these unique individuals had me in awe. When I first came to the place for the photoshoot with Jacq, we were astonished as to how intricately prepared the studio set-up was for the process. Their on-board staff for visuals, hair and make-up directed everyone in a well-paced standard that gave us all a sense of priority and comfort.


I truly appreciate the magazine's hospitality and good relation to us all. While I was among fellow youth, I realized that there were a few among us who were actually in their late teens as well. Most of us at the time had been in our early twenties, with the eldest being a couple of years my senior. I'm glad I was able to listen and learn about many of their stories during the interviews as well. While I was chosen for achievement in the field of sculpture, my story was narrated as one from familial beginnings, starting from my dad's short lessons at our studio. I'm very grateful for the success that opportunities have brought these recent years and I do hope to grow more and more as an artist as well. This endeavor made me realize that there are a lot of great people out there who've done so much for Philippine and international society. I want to strive to be the best I can be in my own expertise, so that in time I can create something for the world to remember. I hope that all our efforts to develop our skills can bear fruit in the future years, for our generation is ready to stand tall and proud.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Sculpture Stories this May

After the successive visits to the XAG exhibit in Gateway, a lot of interesting things happened this month. The studio is now a frequent reservoir for sculptures before they are shipped out to different events/venues for exhibition. The limited edition pieces are doing better than I expected, so I'm working on new designs for those as well. I'm happy that my passion in art hasn't gone to waste. I know that it's pretty fortunate for me to turn my interest into what it is today. I'm very thankful to everyone who's been supporting me all this time too.. Dad brings me to far off places everyday to learn more about goldcasting. Mom supports me by handling a lot of accounting work and finding tools that I could make use of for the new studio. Jacq always goes out of her way to check for the magazine feature that's supposed to arrive soon..

Despite all the stress and hardship that people don't often see, I'm very glad I have friends and family to back me up in my art endeavors. I thank God for always guiding my mind and my hands to do the best they can.

It isn't an easy thing doing sculptures this way as some people may believe. It takes a long process and can sometimes step into your schedules and personal time, but that's what passion is. The best way to work is to work on what you love. So far the sculptor.asia website has helped me a lot. Through that, I was able to get new clients, opportunities and even a scholarship in Los Angeles. It makes me happy that the things I've learned through my college years still help me in a lot of ways other than the advertising field. Whew.. this has been quite a month.. I'm really looking forward to June and the promise new time brings to the art scene. :) Keep being awesome everybody.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Discovering Metal Alloy Cast Sculpture

These days, my sculpture practice has been taking on some new learning curves. Experimenting with white metal is no easy procedure. I've actually burnt my fingers more than ten times in the past two week of metalworking, but the discoveries that were unveiled through the process was well worth the hardships. Metal-casting is much different from casting marble (as I frequently do with my modern sculptures). For one thing, cold casting will not work here. You will need to administer extreme heat and pressure to be able to even form the basic contour of a design. Obviously the casting machines used are also different. Centrifugal casting and Vacuum casting are precisely timed techniques that make use of high-grade materials to cast molten alloys. I'm amazed at the aesthetic and design capabilities of metal media in art. The strength, durability and surface beauty are among some of the main factors I should now take into consideration when creating designs. Fabricating designs in clay is also much more flexible than wax-working designs, so I'm adjusting to the texture and surface durability of this new carving material as well. A new Dremmel tool helps me carve out patterns in the wax and refine them to a smooth state with an aluminum carbide tip.

Photography by Istvan Takacs

It's a real tough process, but I'm sure the sculptural endeavors produced with this new found knowledge will indeed exceed expectations. I hope to also cast mixed media sculptures someday- made of a hybrid combination of marble, glass and metal. I believe there is a contemporary elegance to the use of hybridity in sculpture and I definitely want to find that elegance through my pursuit of technique and knowledge. As a Philippine contemporary sculptor, I do wish to contribute to the country's innovation in the art circles as well. I want to make the Philippines known as a prime spot for art endeavors all throughout Asia and even the world. This is one of my dreams and passions that I keep in mind when struggling with heat, patience and endurance during sculpting sessions. Though currently in the middle of more discoveries, I'm happy to be learning and committing to more ways of visually manifesting my eve creations, as well as the new series of fauna subjects I'm preparing to roll out into the galleries.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Visit to The Bencab Museum

A few days ago we took a roadside trip to visit the famous Bencab museum along route to Baguio. There, we met up with Bencab himself and had merienda before touring around the modern, yet exquisitely Filipino art space.






The gallery is composed of multi-floor levels and sections that showcase both permanent and rotating exhibits. You'll notice several tribal works along the lower levels, as well as a hanging arrangement of figural Filipino sculptures on the main wall. Works done in petrified wood, stone and kamagong wood are among some of the gallery's art inhabitants.

Outside the terrace cafe, they've built a beautiful garden overlooking an entire mountainin its natural landscape and flowerbeds. A patio in the middle of a man-made pond promotes an ideal location to just sit and relax with friends and a good cup of coffee.


While Bencab's art collection is among the many featured displays of the gallery, other artists such as Arturo Luz, also exhibit permanent collections there at his museum. Fine works of sculpture, painting and mixed media can be seen across the rooms and walls, decorating the entire building with an aesthetic feel of both modernity and culture. Art in the Philippines is quite the prominent trait, as many Filipinos desire to grow creatively in the various fields of artistic media and design. All in all, it was a relaxing and fulfilling visit, and I hope to go visit again in the near future.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Sparkling Opening for XAG

April 30th, 2011- the very first celebration of art for Xavier School's alumnus. Familiar faces like Fr. Zuloaga were present during official ribbon cutting to launch the month-long Luceat Lux exhibit. The paintings that adorned the walls of the gallery lit up with magnificent works of art. Rudy Yu's seven-foot long masterpiece attracted much attention with its detailed beauty and style. Mikko Sison's abstract creations also brought up the ambience of the place, with magnificent and vibrant depths. Seb Chua's bronze stallions set the night in motion with captured scenes of pure splendor and excitement. Many other painters were also able to showcase some of their most breathtaking artworks of 2011. I was able to showcase about five of my abstract figure-artworks during the opening night. "The Gale Runner", "Infinite Perception" and two of my other works were also first appearances for the show. This line-up of one-off sculptures took me several months to complete in full. This special night was also blessed by our honored Fr. Zuloaga as he made his rounds around the venue, praying for the art and the artists alike.



Aside from friends, family and Xaverians, several guests streamed into the gallery starting from 7:30pm. It was quite a sight to see a gathering of both close bonds and art enthusiasts all at the same time. I believe that the XAG has something unique to offer the community in terms of aesthetic growth and development. Creativity was not always something famous in Xavier School, but these days are turning the tides for a new wave of artists. We began as the first eight to start the movement, now our group numbers in nearly a hundred. Next year's exhibition will surely mark a succeeding age in the continuity of our group's pursuit for the fine arts.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Working on The New Set of Uniques

With upcoming events like the XAG art exhibit heading this way, I started working on a new set of solo-class sculptures for the coming season. Currently four are already at my checkpoint area before proceeding to the exhibition venue. I have a couple more at our studio, but they're going to be reserved for the next art show due to the complexity in their finishing process. Among the newly showcased sculptures are some with a new positioning scheme; horizontally and diagonally oriented. My 4th piece this month; Dragonwell, is a stretch beyond my usual sculptures' width barrier. I've themed most of my works around the romance between man and woman in a modern elegant age. The infinite fluidity represents a continuity that is pursued in every relationship worth fighting for.

 Aside from these, I'm currently working on more nature-themes sculptural works as well, including another horizontally-oriented cheetah artwork that makes use of intricate linear styles as a conveyance of motion and speed. I'll definitely be exploring new media as well this coming season. Right now, my house time is often spent researching on the various properties of metals and fine materials. Somehow I want to create a melding of cast marble and other substances to create a hybrid art that draws its impact from a contrast in its set of elements as well.

Porcelain, glass and silver are among some of the candidates for the mixed media ideas that I'm spurring up. I've been fascinated with the idea of PM-Clay as well, which can be burned off after the design process to create a one-of-a-kind p.metal artwork. The only problem with that medium is its cost (ahaha). Designers in the jewelry field probably have a high backing support to cover all their precious materials and gemstone costs.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Building From Past Creations

There's something I've noticed about myself as both an artist and a designer. I never liked having to scrap past designs that didn't make the cut. It makes me feel bad about all the effort put into that project that never made it. Because I've never liked this feeling, I maintain a project-research folder that allows me to look back on many of my past creative outputs. This is very useful as a design practice because the originality and impact of a previous work can help you to manifest something similarly bold, but better in taste and effectiveness. The plus side to this method is that there wouldn't be any design infringement issues because the work that you are building upon is actually your own. 

Get into the habit of utilizing everything that you create, whether it be for research, building, compiling, marketing or other purposes, it is always better to keep in mind that all of this was generated by your creative energy. Anything that may not be appropriate for your project today, may very well be exactly what you're looking for tomorrow. Getting into the habit of storage and recycling old creative output will save you both time and effort, without compromising your design's overall working impact. When I created www.sculptor.asia , I had several of my designs compiled into a working folder. I built on elements that I preferred and began to compose a website that was able to acquire the best elements of my previous draft designs.

 When it comes to sculpture creation, this method also works in a number of different ways. It affects the working process in two stages, the sketching / drafting and the actual clay modeling. Old sketches for example, may have parts or elements that are unwanted or inappropriate for your project, but they may also have other elements that are full of impact and would a great addition to another future design.

I can take advantage of this knowledge by storing these sketch elements, combining them with one another or building upon them when creating a new design altogether. This design composing strategy can also be used during the clay phase when certain areas of the sculpture are blank thoughts in your head. This applies frequently when being unsure of the designs in less visible elements such as the back torso or legs of the figure piece.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

XAG - The Luceat Lux Groundbreaking Fine Art Exhibition on April 30, 2011 - Presented by the Xavier Alumni Art Guild

Greetings everybody. To follow my earlier post about the Xavier Alumni Art Guild, I'm pleased to invite all of you to join us in celebrating the very first fine art show of the XAG. The exhibit will run from April 30, 2011 to May 30, 2011 at the Sining Kamalig Art Galley located at Gateway Mall, Cubao, Quezon City. Among the participating visual artists include Fred Tan, Mikko Sison, Owen Tiam, Jed Tan, Rudy Yu, Alex Tan, Seb Chua (my dad), and myself. Around 4-5 major works will be seen from each of the artists. The inaugural ceremonies will be at 7:30pm at the gallery area.


The XAG now has over 80 participating alumni in its roster. This art show will be the first of many to launch the new age of Xaverian art and culture, embodying the school's theme of Luceat Lux as its own. The honorary guest during the opening night will be Fr. Ysmael Zuluoaga, S.J. who recently received the Luceat Lux Award of Lifetime Achievement a few months ago. I was commissioned to create the sculptural emblem for his award and was fortunate to meet him on stage to congratulate him for all that he has done for Xavier School and the community.

I hope that many of you will be able to attend our show. I expect to see familiar faces especially from my batch! Until then, take care and keep living life to the fullest guys.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

When Does Sculpture Combine Itself with Jewelry?

In today's growing market of high-end consumerism, two fields of modernity are steadily rising in the Asian community. Both contemporary jewelry and modern sculpture are drawing closer and closer to each other's boundaries. I've seen gold rings in twin sheet squares holding up diamonds positioned to show angles never before seen in traditional smithing. I've seen a clear glass sculpture that created a scaled resemblance to a wedding band topped with a sapphire shard. There are actually many craft pieces out there that are comparable to these two examples or better. In the modern collector's mind, art pieces derive their value because of their creative originality and valued style. Jewelry pieces are stereotyped by their media, detailed accuracy and overall brilliance. This decade holds an important hybridity for these two fields because of the looming hybridity that is slowly pulling them together. Consumer and collector trends are slowly changing to accept the randomness of abstraction in jewelry. People are starting to be attracted to what is different from the norms of everyday life. It used to be a desire to fit in, but now the motive behind fine jewelry is the ability to stand out. Art can create this ability.


For every original piece that comes to the mind of a designer, only a few will make their way into the real world. It is just like a friend told me many years back, 1 out of 100 new ideas by 100 different people- this is the number of concepts that make their way into reality on average daily. Despite being outnumbered for quite a while, the novel discoveries, the new ideas, the innovative modernizations are now numbering in the thousands. It took a while for them to amass, but the tides are turning in favor of innovation and hybridity. Will people just watch and let the movements of society drag them around, or will the adapt, create and shape a new face for themselves in the coming world of luxury consumerism?