Secret Fresh was born from a passion for collecting. What was once a childhood pastime had become a hub for mining new talent in the cross pollinating fields of graffiti, comics, film, animation, music, architecture, fine art and design. This commitment has grown to facilitate and showcase further this thriving field through its gallery.
Located in Ronac Art Center, the primary hub for contemporary street fashio
n, design and lifestyle, and a landmark of innovative architecture, Secret Fresh likewise, is a pioneer in engaging local and foreign artists, both emerging and established ones, for collaborations on limited edition art toys and prints, coming up with truly contemporary pieces that are an alchemical mix of art and design, craft and commodity, timelessness and currency.
This engagement extends to having monthly exhibits of artists not limited to the traditional media, but to those who are daring to venture into exploring new forms that spark fresh dialogue and perspectives on the contemporary urban experience.
This endeavor would hopefully herald a new era of appreciating art beyond its conventional boundaries.
Secret Fresh Gallery is available for:
Secret Fresh’s participation in the upcoming Manilart 2012 at SMEX is to be graced by the launch of Lynyrd Paras art toy named “PIYUKHERTS”. As a follow-up to his successfully released art toy Kirkei launched last year and sold out at the first week of its release, Piyukherts is a toy that pays homage to the still much underestimated power of women rooted in their womanhood in being able to make great sacrifices to get what they deem as the most essential which would fully complete them only to be disillusioned at the end after finally acquiring them. This is best represented by the crystal gem being held by the figure, whose dazzling facets can be as deceivingly deadly.
Secret Fresh is proud to present one of its latest collaborations with eminent artist Charlie Co with his first ever designed art toy Chinaman which is made of resin, 10″ in height and comes in 20 limited editions. This will be accompanied by an exhibition of some select works that trace the inspiration for the art toy.
Charlie Co is a leading proponent of the Bacolod art scene by being one of the co-founders of Black Artists of Asia and as one of the active mover of Viva Excon, prior to establishing Orange Gallery which primarily showcases the works of young contemporary artists from Bacolod as well as being an important platform for networking in the city. He has represented the country in group shows and biennales in Australia, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
His works are distinct in combining iconography from history, religion, folklore and popular culture as vivid allegories of current socio-political issues. His recent works explore more the surreal realm of folkloric tales and personal dreams.
The Chinaman launch will be on Saturday July 21 6PM at the shop premises of Secret Fresh.
Inquiries about the launch can be made through email@example.com or +63(2) 570 9815 local 7 .
Secret Fresh is at RONAC Art Center, Ortigas Ave., Greenhills, 1502 Manila, Philippines. open from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 2-10 PM and Sundays at 1-6 PM.
A Drawing duel/cum exhibit between Vic Balanon & Ernest Concepcion.
More than being merely besting each other for territorial dominion and artistic prowess as like a kung fu showdown, this becomes a metaphorical platform for the dynamics of creative work, especially that of collaborations which is as much rooted in managing discordant differences yet begetting a more wholistic work. The Big bang theory, which is a product of atoms coming together and fusing to this colossal explosion which produced earth as we know it, is the very example of the natural mechanics of opposing forces coming to play in the conception of anything.
This collaboration is one of the most anticipated this year as both artists are highly regarded for their virtuosity in their chosen medium of ink and acrylic, and their bravura in wrapping walls with robust ingenuity and imaginative narrative content.
Prior to this show, both artists have already done a series of collaboration. Vic Balanon, who works as an animator at TOEI animation studios, has collaborated with skate board graphics artist Ferdz Valencia, for a three part animation/installation called Crocogator and for which they have represented the country in last year’s Jakarta Biennale.
Meanwhile, NY-based Ernest Concepcion has an ongoing collaboration with Mike Estabrook for their Kangarok series. One of these collaborations were staged in Beijing, China in 2010 as a product of their studio residency by the NY Arts Gallery Beijing.
This drawing duel will be documented in a time lapse video to be screened on the opening on July 21 at 6PM.
Screenings of Gurren Lagann, the mecha anime series, and an artist talk will also be held in the subsequent days after the opening. Exact dates for such will be announced.
Unwavering in its commitment to put the Philippines on the international designer toy scene, Secret Fresh will once again be a proud host to one of the landmark collaborations by sought-after San Francisco based artist and designer Huck Gee and well-established Filipino artist Christian Tamondong. Their collaboration which is also a Secret Fresh exclusive release, is named Puchaa, a whimsical mix of Tamondong’s tea-cup based on one of his paintings and the angel-winged-skull-headed Puto figure which is one of Huck Gee’s signature figures. The art toy will have a limited run of 50 pieces.
Huck Gee specializes in limited run handcrafted toys and original art prints which are sought after by collectors worldwide. His works have been exhibited in galleries worldwide and in 2007 his “Hello My Name Is” 8” Dunny was accepted into the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. He has also released numerous limited production toys through Kidrobot including some of the most exclusive and sought after Dunnys to date, figures for The Standard, DJ Qbert, and a series of figures for Barney’s New York which came dressed in the 2005 spring collections of five of the world’s most famous fashion designers: Marc Jacobs, Dries Van Noten, Jil Sander, Rick Owens, and Duckie Brown. His extraordinary skills with customizing vinyl toys earned him the title of Best Customizer in the 2009 Kidrobot Artist Awards.
Prior to this Puchaa collab, Huck Gee has already produced Puto figure toys with Secret Fresh, namely Puto Barrel man and Puto Aswang.
Christian Tamondong, the multi-awarded artist who designed Boxboy, one of the 1st successfully released art toy by Secret Fresh, has been constantly gaining recognition in both fields of design and fine art. His distinctively impish works are also gainfully collected and sought after here and abroad. He also designed one of the limited run shirts for the Bench’s 25th Year anniversary.
Both Huck Gee and Christian Tamondong will be present for the special one day launch on June 2 Saturday at 5: 30 PM in the shop premises of Secret Fresh.
International orders for Puchaa can be made through email firstname.lastname@example.org while local orders are on a first come first serve basis.
The Party of Having No Proportions
by Camille Banzon
Jigger Cruz is deconstructing his playful artistry into little pieces. Quite literally.
Known for his frisky flair and idiosyncratic storytelling in his work, Cruz takes his visions into small canvasses that piece together a strange human experience – hanging situations and happenings that have no beginning or end.
In Birth of the Party Bantam Paintings, Cruz plays on the concept of “feeling the small capacity to survive giant struggles,” with an assortment of minute creations that showcase the “balance between the subject itself and layers behind it.” Rambled imagery and ideas fueled Cruz’s appetite to visualize the brawl of being stuck in a cramped-up battle ground, like suffocated soldiers fighting their own to find (or not find) survival.”
Instead of using angry, convulsing hues, Cruz focused on maximizing simple tones to lay out his vision. Cruz manages to bring out the signature chaos he’s known to possess through his paintings using “pale colors that we don’t recognize, without knowing where they start and end.”
According to Cruz, these small canvases have subjects that are stranded behind thick layers, masking the clear vision of the concept. For him, these creations are in need of rescue to handle the heavy paint strokes and bulks of texture. Cruz describes this body of work as an overload of “oil paints, different layers, details, chaos, bold colors and images combined in a small plane and horizon.”
For the first time, Cruz veers away from his over-the-edge, huge pieces in Party Bantam Paintings, experimenting on the limited space that mirrors societal opportunities. Bantam—meaning small, petite, diminutive and puny, is a whole new playground for Cruz’s inventive skill. In this unusual showcase of his art, Cruz shows the relationship between size and content; displaying how dimension can be portrayed through heavy blows and overlapping images. “These paintings could be finished or unfinished, like hanging situations that confuse us.”
Challenging his panoramic vision and transcending it into limited amounts of space, Cruz’s style has proven to be enigmatic—without size being a factor.
Exhibit opens on Sunday, April 15, 2012 in Secret Fresh Gallery B, Basement of Ronac Art Center. Ronac is on Ortigas Avenue (Near Santolan Road), North Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila. For more information or inquiries please contact 570-9815 local 7 or 0906.444.5183.
*Camille Banzon is a Senior Writer for Clavel Sneaker Magazine and Entertainment Editor for International Business Times.
March 3, 2012, Saturday, 7pm, Ronac Art Center
Ronac Art Center kicks off March with the Manila launch of the limited edition Hennessy V.S. Cognac bottles designed by sought-after American street artist Brian Donnelly aka KAWS.
KAWS is famed for the subverted billboards, phone booths and advertisements all over New York, which were ignored for a few months but eventually gained a following around the world as he continued to do work in Paris, London, Berlin and Tokyo. In the latter part of the 90’s, KAWS began designing and producing limited edition vinyl toys that immediately swept away the art toy-collecting community with his reworked images of household cartoon images such as Mickey Mouse, The Simpsons, The Michelin Man, The Smurfs and more recently SpongeBob SquarePants. KAWS has also made commercial collaborations with Nigo for A Bathing Ape, Jun “Jonio” Takahashi for Undercover, Michael “Mic” Neumann for Kung Faux, snowboard projects with Burton, and sneakers with Nike and Vans.
KAWS is one of the few who continues to be an active success in both the fine art and mass-produced merchandise industry.
Celebrate with Hennessy this Saturday, March 3, 2012 at 7pm as we officially release the last of the 420,000 KAWS-designed Hennessy bottles – for sale exclusively in Secret Fresh in Ronac Art Center.
Arnold Austria, Architect/Designer
“Creativity knows no boundary” is a statement that holds true to Arnold Austria. Born to a family of artisan goldsmiths in Bulacan, He took up Architecture in University of Santo Tomas and has worked on several building projects on different scales most recently the Ronac Art Center. As Creative Director of Jagnus Design Studio, an architectural firm he co-founded with Sonny Sunga & John Cruz, He recognized the limiting side of his profession typically constrained by requirements imposed by clients, building laws and other factors in order to realize the final outcome.
This unwillingness to be boxed-in by rationalism prompted him to conceive objects such as toys, chairs, sculptures that serve purely his own personal pleasure. His designs characterize the modernist leanings of his firm’s architecture with clean lines, purity of form and exceptional craftsmanship as its hallmarks. His influences come from various unexpected places that left an impression on him be it an odd bottle design to comic books to daily bits and pieces that others may even consider junk. With no one to answer to for his works, the architect says, “Their only function is to make one smile”.
Garapata Man, the multi-limbed character from Dex Fernandez seen ubiquitously from every nook and cranny of the city, from toilet doors, light switches, to fx cab doors and jeepney roofs, is fleshed out as a resin figure in editions of 20. This landmark collaboration between Dex Fernandez aka Garapata Man and Secret Fresh is to be launched this Sunday Feb 12 at 6 PM.
All Garapata Man figures come in sets of 3 composed of a gigantic rotund Daddy Garapata in Elvis coiffure and 2 baby Garapatas. All these shall be personally signed and numbered by the artist. 5 custom sets will also be released in cerulean blue, neon pink, black, gray and green.
The toy launch will be accompanied with an exhibit and sale of Garapata serigraph prints, shirts, button pins and stickers.
Plus live performances by electronic trio Gentle Universe and hard/space rock instrumental band Wilderness.
This also marks the inauguration of Gallery B, Secret Fresh’s newest art space located at the basement of Ronac Art Center. This spacious industrial-themed art space is a welcome addition to Secret Fresh’s ever expanding program and commitment to support and showcase current practice and trends in art and design.
Dex Fernandez recently came back from an artist residency in Vermont, USA. His created character Garapata Man was born from a childhood reminiscing of a wild and rambunctious cohabitation with beloved pet dogs. As a tribute, he sticks up and doodles these dandy-fied critters everywhere he goes as part of a DIY branding strategy and as an infectious manifestation of a participatory creative impulse.
Burger Bunny Toy Launch
January 22, 2012
Joe Ledbetter better known as JLed, an LA-based artist and art toy designer is coming to Manila to release the latest and most exciting configuration of his Bunny Series, Burger Bunny.
JLed has been in the graphic apparel industry for three years when he began to be a part of the underground art scene in LA. He started with a group show in the legendary Cannibal Flower. By the end of 2004 he has fine-tuned his style to that of putting colorful and endearing creatures in jinxed but humorous situations with paintings of vengeful war pigs and self-shaving, blow-drying lions to start.
Secret Fresh is proud to be the exclusive jumping off point of the Burger Bunny – 10 inches made of pure wood with interchangeable parts. Join us on January 22, 2012, as we showcase 50 limited editions of the delightfully rapacious toy bunny produced by The Loyal Subjects with a chance to meet the genius behind the creature.
Secret Fresh’s year opener for 2012 is an exhibit of poster art created by Manila’s top and up and coming graphic designers and artists who also venture into illustration. The show opening this January 8 Sunday at 6 PM is entitled AGIT POP! Post-Its To The Post Apocalypse and showcases their poster designs which imagines them as message boards to a future world promising utopic visions in the aftermath of an imagined anticipated holocaust as prodded by the much Mayan calendar footnoting of the year 2012. Reversing the doomdsday prophesies, the posters present instead a possibility beyond such eventuality, speculating on the premise of a promised renewed world or the unfulfillment of such in a rather dystopia.
AGIT POP! Will be on view till the 27th of January.
Secret Fresh is at Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan, MM.
Secret Fresh is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 2 to 10PM and Sundays from 1 to 6PM.
17 December 2011 – 7 January 2012
Blanc Compound, Shaw Blvd., Mandaluyong
This gathering of over a hundred artists signify the continuing cross-pollination and blurring categories and boundaries as visual artists, illustrators, animators, designers, builders, impressarios and songsmiths, flesh out their ideas on the blank vinyl icon of democratized artistic expression. Produced by Kidrobot, the Munny figure was designed as a base toy for that very purpose – a free-for-all customizing toy that enjoins anyone to flex their creativity and imagination and initiate an egalitarian platform for creation where artist, fan and customer became one and indistinguishable.
Toy customizing was a parallel development of the burgeoning DIY scene that emerged in the 1990s and which characterized and engendered interest in the lowbro, street subculture that emerged then, whose foremost goal was self-empowered expression and a peer-based goods exchange.
Since the Munny figure’s release in early 2000, numerous custom Munny shows have been set-up across America, Europe and Asia. Munnyfestation will be the first custom Munny show to be held in Manila.
Munnyfestation aims to generate dialogue that traverses across multiple disciplines, interest and geographies fostering such a union thru a celebration of the gathering of over a hundred artists who all have had a hand in customizing a Munny figure and as a recognition of the emerging art toy scene here in Manila.
As a collab project between two galleries Blanc and Secret Fresh who are both geared in supporting young fresh artists whose works are most relevantly responsive to contemporary urban experience, Blanc and Secret Fresh endeavor a newfound appreciation for art and distinctive design, an art that indeed bespeaks of the times.
The Munnyfestation participating artists are as follows :
A.lien aka Neil Arvin Javier, Aba Dalena, Adeo Sta. Juana, Adoy Justiniani, Alfred Esquillo Jr., Alvin Capistrano, Anna Varona, Arturo Sanchez, Arnold Austria, Awit Abay, Bembol Dela Cruz, Bjorn Calleja, Brian Bernardo, Carina Santos, Carlo Aranton, Charlie Co, Chati Coronel, Clint Catalan, Cris Villanueva, Christian Tamondong, CJ Tañedo, Clint Catalan, Christ Espiritu, Dansoy Coquilla, Dave Lock, Dexter Sy, Don Salubayba, Dong Abay, Egg Fiasco, EJ Cabangon, Elmer Borlongan, Epjey Pacheco, Erik Sausa, Ernest Concepcion, Eugene Jarque, Ferdie Montemayor, Ferdz Valencia, Geraldine Javier, Haraya Ching, IC Jaucian, Inno Caluza, Ioannis Sicuya, Isidro Santos, Jacob Lindo, Jaime Pacena II, Jam Mangio, Jan Calleja, Janet Balbarona, Jason Montinola, Jason Tecson, JB Sunga, Jeona Zoleta, Jeremy Guiab, Jigger Cruz, JJ Zamoranos, John Santos, Joseph Tecson, Joy Mallari, JP Cuison, Kadin Tiu, Karen Flores, Kat Medina, Keiye Miranda Tuazon, Kirby Roxas, Kiri Dalena, Lao Lian Ben, Lee Paje Leo Abaya, Lindslee, Liv Vinluan, Lotsu Manes, Lou Lim, Luis Lorenzana, Luis Santos, Luis Hernandez, Mac Valdezco, Mady Beldia, Mara Deen Nepomuceno, Marcus Nada, Mariano Ching, Mark Justiniani, Mawen Ong, Melvin Culaba, Mervin Pimentel, Mica Cabildo, Mike Adrao, Mikko Sison, Mimi Tecson, MM Yu, Mona Santos, Nemo Aguila, Nikki Luna, Ninj Abay, Nilo Ilarde, Noel Soler Cuison, Noel Cruz, Pam Yan Santos, Paulo Vinluan, Pepe Smith,Plet Bolipata, Poklong Anading, Pow Martinez, Rain Dial, Reg Yuson, Renato Barja Jr, Robert Besana, Ruel Caasi, Ryan Allen Austria, Ryan Villamael, Soler, Tanya Villanueva, The Weather Bureau, Tripp, Ungga, Vic Balanon, Veronica Pee, Wesley Valenzuela, Whoop, Winner Jumalon, Wire Tuazon, Yasmin Sison Ching, Zeus Bascon.
To be held in Blanc compound, Munnyfestation will open on the 17th of December Saturday at 6PM and will be on view until January 7, 2012.
Blanc compound is at 359 Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City. Other contact info for further inquiries 0920-9276436 or email email@example.com or their online links – http://www.blanc.ph http://www.blancartspace.multiply.com http://www.facebook.com/blancgallery
Partner gallery Secret Fresh is at G/F RONAC Art Center, Ortigas Ave., Greenhills, 1502 Manila, Philippines and may be contacted thru +63(2) 570 9815 local 7 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or their online links http://secretfresh.net/ or thru their Facebook page.
Two-man show by Tilt and Mist
Opening : December 11, 2011 Sunday 6PM
Exhibit Duration : 11 December 2011 – 3 January 2012
Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan
It had been 36 years ago since the historic match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier for the heavyweight title that was fought long and hard at Araneta Coliseum in 1975. Dubbed Thrilla in Manila, the epic bout had the two long standing rivals fighting fiercely for the belt and earning the victor a mall named after him. The mall became a de facto landmark for a brewing underground of old skool skaters playing hooky back in the 1980s leaving skid marks on railings and concrete steps and benches with mall guards on their heels quelling in vain the harbinger of anarchic hypertext that will eventually occupy blocks of the increasingly dense metropolitan Manila. From juvenile proclamations of being to anti-authoritarian self-righteous shout-outs, they all evolved into a symbiotic interplay of skin and structure surface and interface, landscape and context, text and meta-text in a parallel development of graffiti and street art culture here in Manila. Bouts are now fought territorially, on the perennially grimy surfaces competing attention with tarp billboards and civic sponsored public art, and tags and spray painted marks fiercely creep in in the frenzy of this hypertextualized city.
December 11 Sunday at Secret Fresh marks the reunion not between ferocious rivals but between long time collaborators to the city they keep coming back to where they have left their marks. Tilt and Mist, French graffiti artists based in France had been coming to Manila since 2004. Tilt’s trademark bubble fonts and Mist’s pointy-edged vivid tags had been spread out alongside the marks of local graffiti artists in Intramuros, A. Bonificao, San Juan, Cubao and in the wherewithals of rundown walls of metropolitan Manila which had been otherwise whitewashed or plastered by campaign posters or spraypainted over by other graffiti crew. They have also been collaborating with Movement 69, a small loose collective of local street artists composed of Whoop, A.lien, Tripp 69, Exld, Egg Fiasco and Nemo.
The exhibit Thrilla Manila will be featuring Tilt’s and Mist’s paintings and giclee prints incorporating Filipino icons with their graffiti style as what Tilt had done with the Philippine flag which was formed with Filipino text written in his bubble style font in such a manner that reinforces iconographic meaning with his interspersed bubble text, while Mist’s more abstract calligraphic style is a ponderous exercise on font as an organic form evolving into figures with distinct personalities.
Tilt and Mist’s collaborations extend beyond massive wall bombings to customizing art toys and an ice cream cart specially built for their exhibit at Secret Fresh.
Tilt and Mist is mostly identified with old school style graffiti .
Mist has been in the graffiti scene since the late 1980s and was part of the graffiti crew Control of Paris in 1992. With a formal background in design and a stint at a toy company, he has also developed his own character Debilz. His style, the ‘devil style’ is characterized by big outlines, vibrant hues, horns and pointy-limbed figures. His lettering likewise exhibits the same pointy features consequently having a life of its own and becoming characters themselves. He is being represented by Galerie Le Feuvre and Speerstra gallery in Europe. And spends most of his time in Montpeliier
Tilt is an internationally recognized graffiti artist originating from Toulouse in South France. A self-declared “graffiti fetishist”, he learned the trade in the streets and on trains as a youngster. In the time since he did his first tags on a skateboard ramp back in 1988, his ensuing career has been nourished and influenced by extensive travel. Inspirational journeys have seen Tilt exhibit and leave his mark as far and wide as the USA, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand,Laos, Taiwan, China, Canada, Philippines, Indonesia, the Maldives, and throughout Europe. He designed one of the watches collaborated on by Kidrobot and Swatch which was launched this year at Secret Fresh.
On his sixth solo exhibition, Javier expounds on his punk, street and recycled DIY sensibilities in paintings, collages, collaborative works, assemblages, and his new evolution of SculpTOYZ. As in all of his previous shows, Javier represents his highly personal stories in raw form, intentionally eschewing conventional methods of creating art, unafraid of consequences and uncaring of critique.
“It’s the beginning of the beginning and the end of an era, and so much more than an artwork. It’s my portfolio and describing it is describing me. Everything and anything must come to an end, in the end it doesn’t even matter because new life will start to emerge, just like a finished artworX, to begin a new one,” according to Javier.
What the audience may view as a vulgar explosion of illustrations may provoke or shock, but the artist stays true to his personal aesthetics in creating pieces that are filled with found images and conjured characters that inhabit his world and his life, rife with the saturation of mass media, iconography, pop culture, angst, rebellion against the system and mundane occurrences. Everything is discordant with the numerous portraits, monsters, animals, and humanoids layered with text, drips, sprays, brushwork and patterns, showing how random absurdities can be designed to disturb and disrupt our safe and sanitized lives.
An old carpet from the friendly neighborhood secondhand store is given new life as art with the addition of fabric cartoon characters snipped from old shirts and sewn into it, interacting with the central figure of a child reading with a lion. The cartoons mock, stare vacantly into space and stay cute, reeking of bubblegum humor, teasing the utter validity of the carpet as a household accessory. Monsters pile up like totem poles, premonitions of projects that are yet to come. A love letter is disguised as a mélange of text and ultra bright fluorescent colors, lamenting the dark memories of a love lost. A figure is built out of objects and faces encountered in the everyday, walking with a thought bubble filled with a babble of comic dialogues. Children’s wooden blocks are transformed into robots, with massage balls sprouting faces and metal legs.
It is very much a visual representation of Sid Vicious’ celebrated performance of My Way, where a drugged-up, droning, creepy monotone evolves into screams, bursts of vocal energy and gunshots. Some members of the audience might be unnerved, maybe even appalled, but they clap anyway, probably because in all its senselessness, it makes perfect sense. And this end is just the start of a new beginning.
Neil Arvin Javier graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Technological University of the Philippines in Manila. He was a semi-finalist at both the Philip Morris Philippine Art Awards and Metrobank Art Competition in 2003, and a finalist in the Royal Elastics Graffiti Competition in 2004 as well as in the Epson Photo Imaging Exposition and Manila, My Manila Photography Competition in 2005. He won second place in the first Philippine Drawing Society Art Competition in 2004.
(Kaye O’Yek, Manila, November 2011)
The exhibit will have its opening cocktails on November 13, Sunday at 6PM.
The exhibit opening will be complemented by a performance by Buntisan festival founder and pioneer sound artist Lirio Salvador of Elemento.
The exhibit will be on view until the 6th of December 2011.
Secret Fresh is at the Ground Floor of Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, North Greenhills, San Juan, MM. Contact details : (632) 5709815 local 7. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com www.twitter.com/freshmanila. Secret Fresh is also on Facebook.
Secret Fresh is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 2 to 10 PM and Sundays from 1 to 6 PM.
New works by Epjey Pacheco and Egg Fiasco
Opening September 25 Sunday 6 PM
On view from September 25 to October 19
This is show is a collaborative effort of two artists, that is hardly called an effort, since graffiti artists are so used to doing collaboration sessions that they do It every day on the empty walls and pavements like a casual art bombing of sorts.
Apart from their individual paintings for this show, Epjey Pacheco and Egg Fiasco’s collaborations are rather perfect in terms of contrast with each other. For one, the results did not look forced, because their styles, though a bit different from each other, are still naturally merged at one point through their similar usage of striking colors. The total outcome of their collusion is an appealing visual collaboration of hues, details, and the ever-present paradoxes of ugly beautiful things. They complement each other, from the imaged assault of candy-coated decaying substances that seem to spring up from the constant degeneration of our present pop culture to the rainbows patterns that are like flowers that lay embrace to a rotting flesh corpse. The western feel of their paintings and them being graffiti artists might also have something to do with this, since cultural disintegration is happening right now and is strongly influenced by outside factors, with the emergence of facebook, cheap brainless tv shows, senseless teenage slut pop music, pointless abuse of man’s natural resources, and all the other unnecessary heap of things that threaten the end of man’s so called intellectual evolution. And since their enemy is using a massive range of communication medium, they simply decide to take possession and conquer the other larger part of it: the streets. Drawn closely together, their works have this western, New York-ish feel, as if was one those things that you see featured in American sub-culture art magazines.
Epjey focuses more on the detail of his works (which are rather excruciating and painfully time-consuming). These drawings can be somehow compared with the craft of cross-stitching, involving an immense deal of patience and boredom, but surprisingly resulting into a masterwork of detail that literally shows how long (or short) the artwork has taken to finish. “Gusto ko lang maglabas ng madami pang trabaho at magexplore ng ibat ibang bagay kahit outside of art. gusto ko ng growth saart ko at sa pagkatao ko. and i think nagfefeed yung dalawang goalna yun sa bawat isa.” Epjey says, admitting that he is very much curious with the boundaries of his own art and his hunger for more personal exploration right now is totally insatiable.
Egg, on the other hand, has this noticeable effect of depicting his characters and imageries in suspended three-dimensional state, which works well in giving an illusion of dimension within the collaboration itself through the usage of flattened shades and an arresting usage of brilliant colors. “The theme will develop between dark and bright colors, the struggle between good and evil, balancing the inner demons that exist within all of us. I like having balance in every aspect of my life so we planned to highlight and portray that in our show.” other Fiasco explains during the interview.
So then it all reflects in their anthology of works: symbols of excess, danger, violence, grime, multicolored gore, destruction of nature, and all other things packed together into a tight box with four(or more) walls, worshipping the contemporary language of the streets.
words by dave lock
“The Unwaking Hour”
JJ Zamoranos First solo exhibit
30 August – 20 September 2011
4 September Sunday, 6 PM – opening reception and launch of his toy
Secret Fresh Gallery,
Ronac Art Center, Greenhills, Sa Juan MM
Ideas. What happens to those ideas once our minds have summoned them into existence? “The Unwaking Hour”, JJ Zamoranos first solo exhibit which will be on view from the 30th of August to the 20th of September at Secret Fresh Gallery, serves as a hint to the absolute, unsubordinated minds of every human being that contributes to this surreal world of notions. Contradictory as it may seem, (as the “un” part gives a sense of what it is to be in a dream subconsciously or just in a plain slumber, while the “waking” reflects the reality) this random thought expresses the collected ideas and binds them together in a whirlwind of imaginative and obviously surreal habitat created by every individual’s conception. Like the “choose your own adventure” book, the audiences are more than welcome to express their opinions and/or form a story based on what they see or feel roused by the visual and emotional stir. The titles are not there to reveal or hide the meaning of the works. They are intended to show the starting point of the whole story, waiting to be discovered by your mischievous and adventurous little hearts, backed-up by your own playful mind.
JJ Zamoranos, also known as EXLD in the street art scene, has been tagging and bombing walls since 2006, while participating in numerous group shows in notable alternative art spaces in Manila. Getting wind so much of the freedom from painting in the streets, he dropped out from his fine arts degree program in FEU. His style mixes fluffy menace and steely whimsy as he looks up to Flying Fortress, Jeremy Fish and Audrey Kawasaki for inspiration.
The Unwaking Hour will be on view from August 30 – September 20, 2011
A Crazy Lil Thing Co’llab
Group Show : Bigboy Cheng, Christian Tamondong, Noel Cruz, Bjorn Calleja, Nemo Aguila, Jason Montinola, Erik Sausa, Dave Lock, Bru Sim, MArcushiro, Allan Balisi, Tatong Torres, Cos Zicarelli, Epjey Pacheco Egg ,Fiasco, Jigger Cruz and Beejay Esber and JP Cuison
31 July – 23 August 2011
Secret Fresh Gallery, Ronac Art Center, Greenhills, San Juan
Collaborations can be seen as transactional negotiations that purports to fair game without winners or losers but individual dominance eliminated for the pursuit of a unified collective goal. Hence, collaborations can be seen as experiments in social relationships and as an exercise in group dynamics. In art, collaborations have endured as platforms of creative play and or as an open even-handed sport of one-upmanship. The result of which is a picture that integrates the stylistic DNA of all its creators into a hybrid entity that knows no master, free to be its own creature within its plastic domain of viscous paint, gesso, varnish and all the wherewithals of the blood and guts of its consensual wielders and breeders; or the consequence of a win-win solution – agreeing to disagree for a picture whose problem is to complete itself in the mix of conspiratorial hands.
A Crazy Lil Thing Co’llab is one such exhibit which gathers conspirators Bigboy Cheng, Christian Tamondong, Noel Cruz, Bjorn Calleja, Nemo Aguila, Jason Montinola, Erik Sausa, Dave Lock, Bru Sim, MArcushiro, Allan Balisi, Tatong Torres, Cos Zicarelli, Epjey Pacheco Egg ,Fiasco, Jigger Cruz and Beejay Esber and JP Cuison. The process by which conspirators nee collaborators were paired were drawn by lots, the outcome of which would surely be a surprise as they’re forced out of their stylistic comfort zones as figurative painters were paired with abstract painters, with some collaborators meeting for the first time. This show also acts as a laboratory for all such experimentation, or a reanimation of the Surrealist parlor game the exquisite corpse as how Balisi, Torres and Zicarelli executed their collaboration.
A Crazy Lil Thing Co’llab will have its opening preview on July 31 6PM at Secret Fresh Gallery.
The exhibit will run until August 23, 2011
Bjorn Calleja’s The Color Bringer opening this Sunday June 26 at Secret Fresh Gallery features paintings that despite the upbeat positivist attitude the exhibit title may invoke, the central figure – a wide-eyed, fat-lipped tubby figure gazes melancholic towards the viewer, as though the offering of a rainbow to a gray monochrome world entailed a great sacrifice for this otherworldly gnome-like creature.
These are painted as portraits color-keyed to their ornate frames and to the wall where they hang. Their singular use of color are so intended as to amplify colors’ emotive response to one’s environment, each “portrait” a spectrum fractal of its maker, the artist, if we are to subscribe to the supposition that each picture an artist makes is essentially a self-portrait.
What Calleja seemingly reveals in this exhibit is that the end of a rainbow is not a pot of gold but rather these gnome-like creatures smirking in their reluctance to bring radiance, to be the color bringers to a world made dreary by routine, and where imagination and wonder are vastly becoming more precious than gold.
Calleja earned his fine arts degree from the Far Eastern University and has been exhibited in several notable galleries in Manila. He recently had a solo exhibit at Lost Projects. This is his 4th solo exhibit.
The launch of The Color Bringer toy, a resin cast figure based on one of Calleja’s paintings in the show, will also coincide with the exhibit. The toy has a limited release of 20 pieces worldwide. Each piece is signed and numbered by the artist.
The Color Bringer exhibit is on view until July 19, 2011.
For further queries email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling Secret Fresh at 570-9815 local 7. Updates can also be tracked through Secret Fresh on Facebook, http://www.freshmanila.blogspot.com/ and http://www.twitter.com/freshmanila
CHAOS AND COLOR
This is the place where nightmares and princesses dance together.
In Nemo Aguila’s first one-man exhibition MANSTERS AND PHONY TALES, he decides to delve inside the play zone of his own unconscious, drawing out colorful creatures that have influenced both his past and present life as an artist, and more importantly, as a child.
Or if you look at them, perhaps, an amusing combination of both.
Within his recent collection of works, the artist transforms characters encountered during his childhood into gruesome things that grew an extra pair of eyes or sharpened teeth, images which are much closer to the graffiti characters that he had been painting and marking on walls for years now. Nemo comically describes them as “Snow White meets Freddie Krueger” or “Batibot gone wrong” instances. This may be a simple symbolism for the bridging of two timelines in his life, of innocence and the slow destruction
of it, and basically the realization that as we grow older, these fairy tales, as we knew them, are nothing but timeless, classic tales bastardized by Disney and the deception of worldwide consumerism.
But it’s not at all this dark. The artist focuses mainly on the humorous, lighter side of it. He makes fun of its absurdity by vandalizing these faces and forms the same as he does with walls and other objects that needs to grow a little life and excitement. From these juxtapositions of multicolored monsters,Nemo explains that he is only exaggerating unusual facial expressions such as the opening of the mouth because of its rather strange and uncommon nature. He also includes famous graffiti characters of his fellow artists in his works to pay tribute to the raw culture of street art in the Philippines.
The artist also expounds that the inclusion of popular Filipino brands in his paintings is another wayof giving a Filipino identity to his art instead of embedding it with flags and stars as they are quite overrated especially these days. These local products are well-liked but ironically low-profile, especially
when compared to other snacks that are more famous, and obviously much more expensive. Think street foods and one-peso packed peanuts. This may be because as an artist, Nemo worships the language of the streets, and effortlessly mirrors it through his art in a complete atmosphere of chaos,
wit and color.
Words By DAVE LOCK
Poster By EPJEY PACHECO
“If I don’t terrorize, I’m not pop.” – Iggy pop
POP, the very onomatopoeia of something that just burst out of nowhere, or from the simmering soupcon saturated in instantaneous thrills, much like movie monsters springing forth from mad science experiments gone horribly wrong producing hybrids such as Godzilla itself which was conceived as a cross between a gorilla (gorira) and a whale (kujira) to verily embody size, power and its aquatic origin, JP Cuison’s 2nd exhibit opening this 29th of April at Secret Fresh Gallery treads the same nuclear amniotic pool which has spawned his own mash-ups of vintage cartoon and media characters in re-imagined scenarios wrought out from this polysoup of influences that now pervade both imagination and waking life. The title of the exhibit POPZILLA, itself a word mash-up, implies an invasion by massive media exposure and from which pop art has started to utilize or rather parallel the tools , signs and systems by which consumer culture is manufactured and in turn consumed again which systematized as well and established art as an industry in itself, aside from being a topical reference to Cuison’s line of posters, Gigzilla, which he makes for various gigs around Manila. In these posters, he casts beloved cartoon characters in irreverent situations doing what they are otherwise known for, stripping them off the wholesome innocence of childhood memories to re-enact their personas in the adult imagination – Penelope Pitstop of Wacky Races sporting tattoos as Kat Von D, or the Planters peanuts minions invading as an SS troop, or a corny take on Ilong Ranger being olfactorily assaulted by Pepe le Pew. Even Philippine masterworks are not spared from this spoofy mash-ups as Amorsolo’s idyllic planting rice scene is invaded by a Boazanian battleship skull (from the 1970s Voltes V anime) floating in the pink-blue clouds and Luna’s Spolarium whose central figure, a fallen gladiator being dragged on the bloodied floor with the other fallen ones is mutated into a gloppy drippy creature who seemed to have been an accident of a freak time travel experiment, nuked out off the kooky time-space continuum.
Their persistence is somewhat an invasion of memories repressed and then re-activated to form new narratives out of these re-combinable hybrids that now can be easily extracted from their original context, through their numerous and variable appropriations and re-appropriations, ad infinitum, with their original value deflated to mere signs.
The conflation of Rizal and Marilyn, mutated into one iconic persona, and reproduced as silk screen prints as a direct homage to Warhol, best illustrates this and more as being both ubiquitous symbols that have digressed into mundane cultural objects , or at the extreme, kitsch, yet inflationary to their mythic currency.
What was shocking then with pop art when it first came out was the brashness of its process and the randomness with which it selects its subject matter, not caring for the divine attributes of what a work of art is thought to possess then. What just pops out in the mind and to directly translate it into canvas is as automatic and as intuitive too of the very process of creating. The brashness transgresses into cannibalizing existing imagery to turn into something new, mediated anew, or repackaged anew to offer a different perspective of things which JP Cuison’ s POPZILLA is trying to convey and wishes to jolts us out of our preconceived notions of things pop and otherwise.
JP Cuison is a graduate of University of the Philippines with a degree in Fine Arts in Visual Communication and a Best Thesis awardee. He is highly recognized in the field of advertising being a two-time Philippine representative to the prestigious Cannes Young Lions International Advertising Festival. He makes up the loony trio that produces the underground comix sensation, PUNNX COMIX with Manix Abrera and Dennis Nierra.
His first solo exhibit, held in Pablo Gallery, Cubao, featured his series of Gigzilla posters.
Popzilla! Is his 2nd solo exhibit.
Popzilla will have its opening cocktails on the 29th of April, Friday at 6 PM. This opening will also include live performances by Gorgoro, ….
The opening will also coincide with the launch of Rizalborg, JP Cuison’s 1st art toy designed exclusively for Secret Fresh. Made of polymer resin, Rizalborg comes only in limited signed and numbered editions of 50.
Popzilla will be on view until May 23.
Secret Fresh is at the Ground Floor of Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, North Greenhills, San Juan, MM. Contact details : (632) 5709815 local 7. Email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org www.twitter.com/freshmanila. Secret Fresh is also on Facebook.
Secret Fresh is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 2 to 10 PM and Sundays from 1 to 6 PM.
Exhibit will be onview until April 18
“Life is a pilgrimage. The wise man does not rest by the roadside inns. He marches direct to the illimitable domain of eternal bliss, his ultimate destination.”
It is said that one experiences perpetual ecstasy by being completely conscious of the things around them, yet their perspective, as well as their state of mind remain unaffected by these external forces. Yet upon surveying The Land of Eternal Bliss, the first solo exhibit of local graffiti artist Whoop, one cannot help but to ponder and comprehend the various emotions and stories that linger underneath that candy colored surface. A land inhabited by characters borne out of the artist’s constant pursuit of his own creative bliss.
Gazing through the series of paintings, gondolas and custom toys, one is reminded of Takashi Murakami and the Superflat movement, which took its cue from Japanese anime, manga and popular culture. What sets apart Whoop’s oeuvre on the other hand is his ability to inject his own visual language and symbolisms, grounded on his own personal history and social context, much different from its first world counterpart. Characterized by floating anthropomorphic objects and figures, these highly-detailed characters epitomize the various facets of the artist’s struggle and firsthand experience with the daily grind, as seen through the way he composed his diverse visual scenarios, most of which resemble the typical Manila street chaos. Though at first glance one sees visions of symbiosis, predation, and birth, the theme that actually resonates on all the pieces are those that subtly reveal itself underneath the bright colors and cartoon-like deities; love, loss, isolation and eventually, enlightenment.
The ominous eye that hovers above the terrain and in all of the artworks suggest a voyeuristic tendency, as a way to assimilate, digest and make meanings out of the images that continuously assault the artist’s senses. The mouth, despite its varying degrees of openness, evokes a sense of muteness, inviting the viewer to listen to secrets which they cannot hear; and to touch its lips, amidst the danger of being bitten. Underneath the cuteness that engulfs the image of a melted ice cream, with cross bones and cherry skulls, are embedded childhood memories of loss and wanting. Used as a form of coping mechanism, the image is stripped of its inherent fondness, only to be replaced by the bitter recollection it now conjures.
While The Land of Eternal Bliss is an exhibition that tends to draw its viewer to its inherent “eye candy” attributes, it cannot be overlooked that beyond the layers of exploding colors and free flowing forms are well spring of truths, memories and a new found sense of enlightenment, all waiting to be discovered. All of which are prerequisites in following your own bliss.
- Wes Valenzuela-
The Secret Is Out! Secret Fresh Gallery Inaugural exhibit
Opening on Feb. 26, 2011, Saturday, 6PM
Exhibit Dates : Feb. 26 – March 21, 2011
Participating artists : Alien, Bjorn Calleja, Christian Tamondong, Dexter Fernandez, Egg Fiasco, Epjey Pacheco, Exld, JP Cuison, Nemo Aguila, Reg Yuson, Romeo Lee, Tripp 63, Whoop, Allan Balisi, Cos Zicarelli, Dave Locke, Dina Gadia, Ernest Concepcion, Ferdz Valencia, Gail Vicente, Jigger Cruz, Marie Jeona, Marija Vicente, Paulo Vinluan, Pow Martinez, Robert Langenegger, Tatong Torres, Tin Garcia, Vic Balanon
Plus : same day launch of Christian Tamondong’s Paley Pils toy and limited edition print
And custom Paley Pils by Bjorn Calleja, Boy Agimat, Dina Gadia, MM Yu, Mariano Ching, Romeo Lee, Wesley Valenzuela
Secret Fresh, the store, was started by collectible toy enthusiast Big Boy Cheng four years ago. It was on a nondescript street in QC, in a modest white cube that provided ample space to display a burgeoning collection of toys from Kidrobot which his store prides itself in being the sole franchisee here in the Philippines. It may be an esoteric hobby like art collecting but it has steadily developed its own niche audience.
It was also four years ago when Secret Fresh, then Fresh Manila, collaborated with renown artist Louie Cordero for producing Nardong Tae, the first ever Pinoy toy collectible that was based on Cordero’s comix detailing the adventures of his tragi-comic scatological action hero.
Street artists had also started to hang-out at the store and made its façade their evolving canvas without running the risk of being caught by the city’s vandal police. This steady group, tagged as Movement 69, eventually became Fresh Manila’s unofficial posse.
These cross-overs and collaborations had certainly widened an interest for all things art, be it a toy designed by a name artist or the wall graffiti by stealth artists who chose to hide behind a moniker.
Toy collecting seem to came in hand in hand with the development and mainstreaming of the street art scene as toys that rotate within Secret Fresh white shelves are designed and developed by mainly street artists, a handful are in the comics, illustration and animation field. These fields are unquestioningly blurring the boundaries between what is strictly commercial, low brow and high fine art, as increasingly our built environment become awashed with media and all types of posts that further induce consumption of such images, more than the products they proffer for. This is but the nature of urban living and which artists respond to whether by the gnarly markings on abandoned construction sites or mastering urban architecture by way of skateboarding or adapting to a system that will empower them instead of being subsumed by this consumption by creating for their own market or audience, or their own subculture.
Publications such as Juxtapox and Giant Robot opened the wider public to these subcultures and eventually influenced the aesthetics of our times.
Responding to this phenomenon, Secret Fresh, which just recently moved to the new art and lifestyle hub Ronac Art Center, will be opening its second floor to a gallery showcasing the works from a broad range of emerging and established artists, who have continually dealt with the urban experience and/or aesthetic leanings that reflect and correspond to such an aspect of contemporary art, a reality that need not be ignored but instead welcomed for an increasingly dynamic art scene in the Philippines.
The inaugural show which will open on February 26 Saturday at 6pm will feature the works of : Alien, Bjorn Calleja, Christian Tamondong, Dexter Fernandez, Egg Fiasco, Epjey Pacheco, Exld, JP Cuison, Nemo Aguila, Reg Yuson, Romeo Lee, Tripp 63, Whoop, Allan Balisi, Cos Zicarelli, Dina Gadia, Ernest Concepcion, Ferdz Valencia, Gail Vicente, Jigger Cruz, Marie Jeona, Marija Vicente, Pauolo Vinluan, Pow Martinez, Robert Langenegger, Tatong Torres, Tin Garcia and Vic Balanon.
This will be accompanied by a launch of Christian Tamondong’s Paley Pils toy and limited edition print. Custom Paley Pils by Bjorn Calleja, Boy Agimat, Dina Gadia, MM Yu, Mariano Ching, Romeo Lee, and Wesley Valenzuela will also be on exhibit.
There will also be live performances by Sleepyheads, Romeo Lee and The Brown Briefs and Tether.
Secret Fresh inaugural exhibit will be on view until March 21, 2011.
Secret Fresh is at Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Avenue, Greenhills, San Juan, MM or contact Secret Fresh at (632) 5709815 local 7. Email email@example.com
Secret Fresh is open from Mondays to Saturdays from 2 to 10PM and Sundays from 1 to 6PM.