Septuagenarian artist paints for decades, staying true to his passion

How one artist is proving that age is no barrier to creativity

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Regarding a person’s creativity, age is usually not a problem to overcome. In fact, the maturity that comes with age can add a sense of nostalgia to one’s work that can resonate with viewers. Artist Rolando Delos Santos brings this nostalgia to his paintings that evoke a more genteel time, one less frenetic and more subdued.

The septuagenarian is the featured artist in a two-week exhibit at ARTablado in Robinsons Galleria from June 1 to 15. His body of work includes idyllic pastoral scenes, armfuls of flowers arranged in vases, and still lifes that incorporate detailed items like Chinese blue and white porcelain and white, perforated tablecloths.

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Rolando Delos Santos

As a child growing up in Tanay, Rizal, Delos Santos was already putting pencil to paper. “In grade school, I would copy the illustrations in comic books. Most of the time, these tended to be human figures in action or at war.”
He counts as inspiration several comics illustrators like F.C. Javinal, Nestor Redondo and F.V. Conching. “I wanted to do what they were doing so I would copy their drawings.”

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He went on to study Fine Arts at Feati University where he began to discover and hone his own painting style. Delos Santos’ work has since been featured in several solo exhibits through the years. He has participated in a number of group shows, most notably the one held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines—“100 Years, 100 Artists.”

One memorable commissioned project required him to create 27 floral artworks that were displayed at the lobby of the Heritage Hotel Manila.

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“I was able to have a house built from the commission I received for that project. I had been living in an apartment for five years before I was tapped by the hotel,” he said. Another core memory he treasures was the time former First Lady Imelda Marcos purchased one of the paintings he made for a solo show held in a department store in Makati.

For his ARTablado exhibit, Delos Santos chose the theme “Vision of Reality” because he said an artist’s vision is of utmost importance.

“From that singular vision, we are able to create images and pictures solely from our minds. It really depends on what you see as an artist and how you are able to bring those images to life. As artists, we gaze at the mundane, the everyday items and imbue color and meaning to them,” he said.

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To young and aspiring painters, the artist has this to say: “Use your God-given talents wisely. Figure out what your passion is and stay the course. Even as a child I already knew what I wanted to do, and that was to make art.”

His exposure in the form of features in art books by Manuel Duldulao helped further his reach. Delos Santos said he was grateful to be ARTablado’s featured artist this June because the platform gives long-time artists like himself the opportunity to show what they are capable of doing without having to worry about the financial side of staging an exhibit.