Miller Laberinto paints 'The Sound of Silence'

Published August 14, 2021, 3:20 PM

by John Legaspi

In his latest exhibit, the artist explores conversations, dialogues, and connections—something people often take for granted

“Hello, darkness, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again.” That’s how Simon and Garfunkel’s 1965 song “The Sound of Silence” starts. Poignant and moving, the song’s meaning is once described by Garfunkel as the “inability of people to communicate with each other.” Years after it hit the airwaves, the song and its message still resonate with what many are feeling, especially in this time of pandemic.

Taking it as an inspiration is contemporary artist Miller Laberinto as he presents a series of paintings as an homage to the classic hit. Together with the DF Art Agency and in collaboration with Secret Fresh, the artist presents his second exhibit dubbed as “Peculiar Images II: The Sound of Silence.”

Miller Laberinto

Featuring 10 vintage-themed oil paintings, the exhibit showcases eccentric, whimsical, and unconventional forms, with “communication” as its binding theme. Each piece symbolizes scenarios related to conversations, dialogues, and connections—something people often take for granted.

‘The Sound of Silence,’ 5 ft x 8ft, oil on canvas, 2021

Much like the first run of “Peculiar Images” art exhibition, the sequel celebrates contemporary realism and surrealism through elements such as musical ensemble, human figures, and card faces—a hallmark design of the painter.

In a conversation with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle, the University of Sto. Tomas fine arts alumnus tells more about his early life in the arts, his pandemic story, and the peculiarity that is expressed in his latest works.

How long have you been painting? What inspired you to take a creative career path?

I’ve been painting ever since I started college way back 2013, but I was already fond of sketching and drawing stuff as young as five years old.

It has always been my comfort zone way back when I was alone and had nothing else to do. I always admired my brothers and sister who could draw better than I did before. Whenever they were not around, I would borrow their drawings and trace them, only to be scolded and yelled at when they’d get back because I touched their stuff. But it only made me eager to be better than they were. So I pushed myself to my limits and worked harder.

I have always been the one in class who sat around the corner drawing at the back of my notebook instead of listening, scribbling on my paper, which is the reason why I didn’t have any when I needed them. At first, I didn’t see it as a way of making a living in the future. But as they say, time can only tell and it will lead you back where you always belong.

What is the story behind your latest exhibit? How is it different from your previous one?

“The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkel is one of my most admired songs of all time. I have been listening to this song since I was young. The ambiance it gives you and the lyrics are powerful yet sincere. Knowing the story behind it pushed me to do an exhibit inspired by this song, and I hope I gave justice to it.

My previous exhibit was merely an introduction to how I perceive things and situations of their peculiarity. The sequel, which is the recent exhibit, is what I can say is the product of how my art style can transcend into its peculiarity to the form of narration and storytelling.

How long did you work on it?

It is almost six months.

How was your pandemic life? Did it affect the way you create art?

Not really. In terms of the way I work, it has always been like this for artists like us who spend their whole day lurking inside our studios. It has always been the same. But in terms of getting inspiration, rest, taking a once in a while much needed breath of fresh air, and face-to-face conversations with fellow artists, yes, it has been affecting all of us, I think.

What is your goal in making ‘Peculiar Images II: The Sound of Silence’?

To be heard. I think that’s it. I want to communicate so I paint, and all we want is to be heard and to be understood.

“Peculiar Images II: The Sound of Silence” exhibit opens on Aug. 15, 2021 at the Ronac Art Center, Ortigas.