A Tapestry of Filipino Life: A Collection of Home Pieces Featuring Dominic Rubio

May 9, 2024



Rick Formalejo

Last April 30, 2024, Casa Juan unveiled a stunning array of functional art pieces, showcasing the distinctive vision of Filipino contemporary artist Dominic Rubio. This collaboration marks a significant milestone for both Casa Juan and Rubio, as they join forces to redefine the boundaries between art and utility.

Casa Juan Founder Michelle Asence Fontelera with Contemporary Artist Dominic Rubio

The collection, meticulously curated by Casa Juan Founder Michelle Asence Fontelera, features an assortment of side tables, jewelry boxes, clocks, and serving trays adorned with Rubio’s iconic “people types.” These whimsical figures, characterized by elongated necks and caricature-esque heads, are dressed in turn-of-the-century Philippine attire, evoking a sense of nostalgia and cultural pride. For Michelle, a shared passion for promoting Filipino artistry and heritage drived the decision to collaborate with Rubio. “I have long admired and collected the works of Dominic Rubio,” she shares. “His art strikes me as a modern interpretation of Tipos del Pais—a celebration of Filipino identity and way of life.”

From Canvas to Home Decor

Galerie Joaquin, a renowned art gallery known for championing Filipino artists on the global stage, facilitated the partnership between Casa Juan and Rubio. Together, they sought to make art more accessible to a wider audience by translating Rubio’s paintings into functional everyday objects. For Rubio, this venture represents a departure from traditional artistic mediums and a chance to reach a broader demographic. “I have been approached many times to create merchandise based on my paintings,” he explains. “But this collaboration with Casa Juan is special because it allows me to share the Filipino way of life with art enthusiasts and collectors alike.”

At the heart of the collection lies the concept of functional art—a marriage of form and function that blurs the line between aesthetic and utility. Each piece serves as a canvas for Rubio’s vivid imagination, transforming ordinary household items into works of art. From the intricate patterns adorning the jewelry boxes to the whimsical figures gracing the side tables, every detail reflects Rubio’s passion for storytelling and his deep connection to Filipino culture.

Celebrating Filipino Identity

One of the highlights of the collection is Rubio’s “Sol Dorado,” a captivating portrayal of life in Manila during the Spanish colonial era. The painting depicts men, women, and children adorned in traditional Filipino attire, congregating in a bustling plaza bathed in golden sunlight. Through his meticulous attention to detail, Rubio captures the essence of a bygone era, offering viewers a window into the rich tapestry of Philippine history and culture.

Another standout piece is “Paseo en Moto,” which translates to “motorcycle ride” in Spanish. Inspired by Rubio’s love for retro aesthetics and urban exploration, the painting depicts a couple joyriding through the streets of Manila on a vintage Vespa. With its vibrant colors and dynamic composition, “Paseo en Moto” embodies the spirit of adventure and celebrates the timeless appeal of Filipino ingenuity and creativity.

About Dominic Rubio

Born in Paete, Laguna, in 1970, Rubio’s artistic journey began at an early age, influenced by his hometown’s rich tradition of wood carving. After studying Commercial Arts at Santo Tomas College of Fine Arts, Rubio embarked on a career in advertising before finding his true calling as a visual artist. His exploration of Filipino culture and identity has earned him widespread acclaim, with collectors and art critics alike praising his distinctive style and evocative imagery.

Today, Rubio stands as one of the foremost contemporary artists of his generation, revered for his ability to capture the essence of Filipino life with wit and charm. Through his collaboration with Casa Juan, Rubio continues to push the boundaries of artistic expression, inviting viewers to engage with Filipino culture in a meaningful and accessible way. As Michelle aptly puts it, “This collection is more than just art—it’s a celebration of our shared heritage and a testament to the enduring power of creativity to unite and inspire.”

Read More: How to Make Your Home Summer-Ready

Photos courtesy of Before Deadlines

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