A modern renaissance in the brush strokes of Joel Chavez

Published December 25, 2020, 8:00 AM

by Rom Mallick

FYA! Get to know this 28-year-old artist who, 10 years since he first started to pursue painting seriously, has since had 27 exhibits

How many exhibits can a good artist have over a nine-year period? If the artist is like Joel Chavez, the answer is 27.

That’s right. This 28-year-old artist, who began dabbling into the beautiful 10 years ago now, has had 27 exhibits to date. And he is still at it, with his third solo exhibit currently on view at the R Gallery in Quezon City.

Joel Chavez

We chatted with Joel to get a glimpse of how he does his art and to understand what keeps him going as a young artist.

How would you describe your art, and yourself as an artist?

My art is a combination of different types of art, which is a blending of some elements of realism and then of abstractionism, illustrated through a classical approach. I always prefer to attach or add up essentials of mechanical structures to my paintings because I deem them a vital form that connects every subject I am harnessing within the composition of my artworks. I nurture the use of gear, which for me, stands for unity. I also like the details when I paint machines, as the shades of the color are mostly earth tones.

In my earlier years of painting, I mostly concentrated on portraits of people then I shifted after having an interest on the Renaissance and classical painting. Then, I really fell in love with abstract art. I thought it would be interesting to mix these elements in one artwork. So far, I think the integration works quite well.

Where do you draw inspiration for your works?

Through the years, I have learned to expand the inspiration for my works depending on my chosen theme, especially now that every single idea can easily be accessed online anytime and anywhere. You can find ideas on social media or other art resources, and these can inspire anyone including myself. Initially, most of my inspiration came from art books or materials that I read. Exchanging ideas with other artists also made me improve my skills in classical art. What comes to mind are the paintings of William Adolphe, Bouguereau, Caravaggio, and more.

Do you have a particularly favorite piece that you’ve done? Which is it, and why?

Yes. I have a particularly favorite piece that I have done. It is one of my most recent artworks and it is called Points of Agreement. It is my favorite because of how it incorporates the look of a painting studio in it.

Points of Agreement

It also has Parisian Life as its backdrop. Moreover, one of my subjects is Jose Rizal, who dabbled in painting as well. It’s my first time to integrate the artistic prowess of the illustrados in my art, which fortunately turned out to be very positive even if I only used a very old photo as my reference. Also part of its theme is this rendezvous at a gallery with an artist.

Any message you want give to aspiring artists?

I know the struggle of artists especially here in the Philippines, especially now that the art scene has become so competitive because one can easily come across talented emerging artists. I want to be the best at least for those who appreciate my art.

Painting has been my passion ever since. I love painting. I can think of what I would be doing if I was not painting. I want to build my own identity. I dream of a day when I could create something that inspires many people, something that would not be forgotten even when I die. 

To all aspiring artists out there, don’t get intimidated. Work, as we say nowadays, at beastmode and bring out the best in you.

Check out more of Joel’s works here.