“Always pursue something that you love. There are no boundaries when it comes to art, or any forms of art for the matter. And don’t listen to those who says there’s no future upon pursuing art, trust me, a great career always awaits you.” – Nemo Aguila
For some people who have seen some graffiti along the walls, eskinita, streets and other public places, they call it vandalism. But not to the likes of Nemo Aguila who gladly considers his forte as street art and surely not vandalism. Art has been a big influence in my career and personal life so I wanted to start my K-Chat series this year surrounded by this. I feel lucky to be given the chance to have a chat with one of the up-and-coming street artists in the industry of Filipino Urban Art. My finding for Nemo Aguila ended at the Pocket of Universe Collective Art Gallery, Saguijo Bar in Guijo Street, Makati City where his painting exhibit has been running for almost five weeks (and by now I’m sure every painting has been sold out!).
Whoever said that artists are sluggish is totally wrong. The truth is, I had a hard time searching for Nemo and making an appointment with him for this interview, not because he’s being a diva or anything (he actually is very humble and good-natured) it’s just that he’s been very busy with his gallery and when he’s working on a certain artwork, his social network is absolutely ignored! So when I finally got a hold of him, I didn’t lose any more chances and went up to meet him in Makati City where his recent works are on display.
An undeniable talent at first that started off as a hobby, has soon progress and noticed into the scenes of art; even until now Nemo is still at awe with how his life has turned out. He first drawn professionally when he was in college where he did comic strips for their college newspaper. “I had a classmate who makes comic strips for the college newspaper, then I got interested and tried out. My works then were really awful.” He remembers with a sneer. He also admits that his college days somewhat holds the biggest influence in his visual art. And what a small world it is, cause we have lots of mutual artist friends! 🙂
When he’s not in his studio working on with some paintings, you’ll find him in the streets making public art. His trademarks are different monsters in neon colors which are eye-catching and truly out of the norms. “Most people who appreciates my works are within my generation, people who’s on the same age as I am.” Surely, his market are the younger ones because these are the generation who enjoys art mixed with humor and bright colors. And some who haven’t heard about him got interested through word of mouth and recommendations from friends. He’s a proud Pinoy artist and this personality reflects on his works which are purely Filipino Slang.
“My works are inspired from everyday lives of the people around me, even my own experiences.” This is how he responded when I asked him how he get his inspiration for his works. “I try to observe and listen to the people’s stories and translate them into somewhat lighter and humorous, that no matter how deep it (the problem) is, there’s always a lighter side to it. These (my works) are something that most people can relate to.” And surely, with his use of mixed media (spray paint, oil, acrylic, even crayons!) in bright colors, you won’t notice the distress of the subject hence, you’d feel the bliss extracting from the hues. Just like his exhibit last December 19 which was held at The Pocket Universe Art Collective in Makati, City.
Fresh from my dinner meeting in Ortigas area, I went straight to Makati to finally meet Nemo in motion! 🙂 I’ve always admired his works from afar and seeing them up close has been an inspiring moment for me 🙂 Thanks Nemo for gracing my January issue! 🙂
His artwork on display are his artistic interpretation of some of the mental disorders, hence the title “Out of Order”. “It’s kind of weird actually, since these are the mental disorders that I’ve always been curious about. I wanted to share to the crowd how I see it (the disorder) in a more fictional, blithe way, something that’s Nemo style.” And in fact, if it weren’t for the titles drawn on the bottom side of each canvasses, you wouldn’t figure out that it is actually a disorder. You’d get the impression of weirded out characters and truly funny in their own fantasy worlds.
Pocket Universe Art Collective, located at the 2nd floor, Saguijo Bar, Guijo St. Makati City
Nemo is a very interesting individual indeed. These small canvasses are some of Nemo’s interpretation of his “dream multiple split personality” but in his signature monster-look.
These are the bigger portraits in display during the exhibit. Notice the logos in the shirts of each characters, those are the logos of other known public artists in the country. Nemo says that this is his way of showing recognition to the talents and efforts of his fellow artists. Isn’t that courteous? 🙂
My friend Oma poses beside her favorite artwork by Nemo, “Bipolar” simply because she’s like one! haha
I think this one best describes me! Lol
Nemo has truly mastered his craft, but even though he loves what he does best there also come a time when he got burnt out and draw his attention to something else, but still related to art. “As much as possible I try different crafts. For example, after I’m done with painting canvass and doing exhibits, I’ll focus on making customized toys, or public art. Just to avoid being burned out, keep it exciting.”
Some of the eye-catching works of Nemo along the streets of Metro. This is his trademark, colorful and interesting monsters.
Nemo has a keen eye for placing his works on the areas which are unlikely to be painted on.
Or even public transportation (Tricycle) and are now mostly known as NemoToda! hahaha
This is one of Nemo’s paintings entitled “The End is Near” in mixed media.
Details of the painting “The End is Near”
This is entitled “Mother and Child?!” which illustrates funny Pinoy Slang 🙂 I love this!
Nemo’s trademark, creepy yet cute monster toys 🙂
Another of Nemo’s customized toys in painted vinyl.
A creepy looking toy accentuated with recycled nails and electric socket.
This is Nemo’s T-shirt design for one of the leading lifestyle and garments brand here in the country and is also known worldwide, Bench. All the shirts has been sold out by the way. Too bad I never got the chance to grab one for myself 😦
Just like any other artists, Nemo has his own idols whom he always look up to with great respect, namely, Louie Cordero, Manuel Ocampo, and Romeo Lee. These are the Pinoy artists that greatly influenced his approach and discipline in his chosen craft. Surely Nemo has come through a long way, but what else is in store for this young artist? “I started my career with doing illustrations that’s what I wanted to do all over again, for children’s books like Adarna Publishing.” Nemo shares,”I’ve always wanted to submit an entry for that but unfortunately, it always falls on the same dates as my exhibits. Hopefully this time I’ll have more free time. I’m really looking forward to join.” He’s always welcome to do collaborations with different artists for project basis like shirt designs, mugs, and other exhibits.
During my chat with him, I personally saw him as a man of vision. He’s always been fascinated by art, but he’s not stopping with just experiencing Philippines. He dreams big and one of which is to experience living abroad and see the different artwork from different cultures, “That’s definitely one of my greatest dreams; to be able to see the world and experience the different public street arts and learn from it.”
The Blogger and the Artist 🙂
Now that I’ve met him in person, and actually find him sooooo down to earth (he always calls me ‘Ma’am’ haha), he has truly gained my respect not just in terms of his mastery in painting, but also with his great personality! If the streets of Metro Manila will be surrounded by great works of art such as his, what a wonderful place it would be 🙂
Cheers to great artist!
To see more of Nemo’s works, you can check his personal facebook account at http://www.facebook.com/nemo.aguila?ref=ts&fref=tshttp://ww
and facebook fan page at http://www.facebook.com/ArtOfNemoAguila
For price details and other customized artwork, you can also reach him through his mobile number at +63922 266 0794 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org