Finding peace

Published May 10, 2022, 11:20 AM

by John Legaspi

Eddie Santillan takes us on a hike with his latest exhibit ‘Return to Nature’

Life sometimes is all about finding the perfect view that suits us, a horizon that fits our story. It can be a manmade wonder like the glimmering landscape of the city with its skyscrapers and glowing billboards. For some, it can be a Gothic church filled with religious images. While for others, nothing beats the view crafted by nature and, if there is one that tops the list, it is a view of the mountains kissing the clouds above. It may be their version of an IMAX theater experience—and it is what visual artist Eddie Santillan mirrors through his artworks as he invites everyone to go and find Zen with his latest exhibit.

Eddie Santillan

Dubbed “Return to Nature,” Eddie’s newest showcase takes everyone on a hike as he paints towering forms of land delicately illuminated by the sun or moon. It is his way of paying homage to nature but without the usual elements of flora and fauna. Living at the foot of Mount Makiling in Laguna has greatly influenced his latest works. Walking in the morning with his dog and seeing the natural surroundings in their early morning beauty recharged him, both in body and spirit, and he aims to do the same with his masterpieces.

“‘Return to Nature’ is all about good feelings and peace of mind that nature gives us,” Eddie says. “I’m urging people to go to places where they came from, to feel recharged and replenished, especially this time of a pandemic. I want people to feel positive emotions through my art.”

‘Good Vibes 1’ and ‘Relaxing 4’

Recreating natural wonders and the countryside through art is not new to Eddie. With a pencil and paper, he started drawing images of carabaos and other animals he saw in his barrio in Pampanga at a young age. A proud self-taught artist, he honed his artistic skills by joining various art competitions in school. At 19, he turned his passion into a profession by becoming a caricature artist for a company that led him to explore different mediums of art.

“Art, for me, is like breathing. My day will not be complete without me working on paint and canvas,” the artist says. “I can express myself better through my art.”

‘Good Feeling 2’ and ‘Good Vibes 2’

Eddie is inspired by the works of visual arts maters such as Juvenal Sansó, José Joya, and Arturo Luz, among others, and translates their play on colors in a contemporary manner that can be seen in “Return to Nature.” In the process of making the pieces for the exhibit, the artist muses about how he fine-tuned the appearance of his works and the techniques he used.

Marble-like mountains with misty angular clouds are depicted on his canvas. Set in the background is an orb that completes the view of a serene mountain range. Eddie’s favorite piece is the “Bright Outlook.” Its vibrant orange sky presents a sunrise, which for him, symbolizes new beginnings and hope.

‘Serenity 2’ and ‘Bright Outlook 4’

“It is all about feelings and I’m transferring them through my paintings. Every time that I go for a morning stroll, I take motivation, ideas, and positive energy from nature” Eddie says. “I want to make art that when people see it, they would know it is an Eddie Santillan piece. I will continue to explore things through my art. There is still more to learn and improve, and I will continue to paint as long as I can.”

“Return to Nature” exhibit will run from May 11 to 22 at Arte Bettina Gallery, Greenbelt 5, Makati City.