Artist Dex Fernandez starts creative ‘infestation’ at Art in the Park 2020

March 6, 2020



Trisha Anne Leones

Editor’s Note: After its suspension earlier this year due to the on-going threats of the coronavirus, Art in the Park 2020 goes online this August. The official statement confirms that the annual fundraising event will push through with 53 exhibitors representing galleries, art collectives, independent art spaces, and student groups. Artists Dex Fernandez who was invited to participate in the fair transformed his physical exhibition into a virtual paper mural presentation. Painter Richard Quebral will also offer a virtual glimpse of his creative process through a series of videos that will be launched in Art in the Park’s website. There will be a live auction for some of his paintings on August 16, Sunday. The week-long exhibit opens on on August 10, Monday. 

Dex Fernandez, also known by his iconic creation, Garapata, will infest visitors with creative drive at this year’s Art in the Park through Garapata Hatchery, an artist live workshop. The 14th annual fundraising event will be held at Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village, Makati City on March 15, 2020.

Fernandez waxes poetic about his created character: ”It started with a childhood memory: our house was infested by garapata (ticks) because of the pets, there were lots of them and they are everywhere, it was disgusting. So when I started graffiti, I turned the negative idea around and came up with the concept of places being infested by art. There is art everywhere.” Fernandez says.

Portrait - Art in the Park
Portrait of Artist Dex ‘Garapata’ Fernandez. Photographed by Ed Simon.
Render - Art in the Park
Concept of Dex Fernandez’s ‘Garapata Hatchery’ for Art in the Park 2020

Together with Fernandez, Richard ‘Ambot’ Quebral will also showcase Mang Eric’s Kawaiin Island Creations, a painting inspired by his life in Ilocos and its culture.

12 days prior to the Art in the Park opening, BluPrint got the chance to chat with Fernandez about his art, and what’s in store for art aficionados and artists at the 2020 Art in the Park.

Here’s an excerpt from our interview:

BluPrint: What is your main objective in creating your distinct brand of art? 

Dex ‘Garapata’ Fernandez: My works are based on experience and random stories that have a great impact on me. When I turn my experiences into art, I want people to think about the art and use their imagination so they can have their own representation or perception about the art. I also want to hear their reaction. My main objective is for them to use their imagination so that they can appreciate the art more. 

What makes your art unique? 

I think what makes my art unique is the style. Some art pieces can be intricate or simple, but what makes mine unique is the character, my branding, Garapata. It also has a recall to the audience; they can easily remember it because it’s simple.

What materials did you use for your murals?

I started in mural and graffiti using paste, but it was hard because the culture of graffiti is illegal, you have to create art in a short period of time. So, I switched to sticker tagging, which is easier to do. You can do it almost everywhere.

Since you mentioned graffiti, what are your thoughts about street art and vandalism?

It has a lot of differences, aside from being legal and illegal. They are both considered as an output and an art, but the process differs. Street art is created legally, so the artist has more time to create the piece. A lot of effort can be exerted. On the other hand, vandalism is created in just a short period because it is illegal, you have to rush. However, for me, vandalism is more legit, since most of the illegal places are in public, it is closer to people.

How do you start doing public art? What are your considerations?

Just be mindful of creating art in places like government establishments and churches. For me, if the place is crowded, it’s better for art. For Art in the Park, there would be a live workshop. Art will be created on the spot, like a pop-up workshop. There will be a tent installed which will serve as a laboratory. Since my target are the millennials, I would like them to afford art, specifically the art that I’m doing.

What would be the flow of the workshop?

There would be a roll of paper placed in Garapata Hatchery, which would be our canvass for our artwork. We are going to paint there together with my team. I also want the Art in the Park audience to participate. The participant can buy the artwork per size of the paper. Garapata merchandise will be available, which can be customized for the audience and participants. They can get their merchandise on the spot. Since my idea for this project is infestation,’ I’ll let the participants get ‘infested’ the way they want.

What advice can you give to young artists with regards to discovering their art style?

Just explore. Don’t limit your capabilities and the possibilities that you can learn and do. Eventually, you’ll discover it. When I started art, this (his current art style) was not my style, it just evolved and progressed as time went by. Once you discover your art style, just develop it. 

Quebral - Art in the Park 2020
Richard Quebral during the press launch of Art in the Park 2020

BluPrint also got the chance to pick the brains of artist Richard ‘Ambot’ Quebral in the Art in the Park press launch. Ambot hails from Ilocos Sur, who pursued being an artist via drafting after two years of studying nursing. His works posit humorous stories about his neighborhood in Vigan. His beliefs and interests in life are translated into comical vintage inspired works with eye-catching pastel colors, grids and textures. 

Here’s an excerpt from our conversation with the nursing student turned into an artist:

BluPrint: What inspires you in doing your art?

Richard ‘Ambot’ Quebral: Since I was in high school, I really enjoyed drawing. We had a drafting subject back then and we usually draw architectural design, orthographic, and isometric sketches. I was inspired by those. 

Has it been your art style since then? 

It just started when I joined the competition, Philippine Art Award way back 2011 or 2012. My art style then is somewhat related to my art style now; it just evolved through time.

What evolved or changed in your artworks?

It is the medium. Back then, I was using collages and oil painting.

Paintings - Art in the Park 2020
Quebral will be exhibiting five of his acrylic on canvass paintings. All of them will be up for sale during the one-day festival.

What materials did you use when you were starting?

When I joined Philippine Art Award, it was mixed media: a combination of collages, woodworks, and textiles. I formed it all together. But in painting, I use acrylic. 

What advice can you share to artists struggling to find their art style?

Just continue doing art, continue what you do. If you do painting, just paint. Don’t think about the money; just do it for passion. Eventually, the money will follow if you do good with your passion.

Other Art in the Park participating artists and exhibitors include Art Lab, Art Verita, Kasibulan, Space Encounter Gallery, and Technological University of the Philippines.

READ MORE: Visual artist Archie Geotina’s latest mural is a monument to everyday heroes

Edits by Gabrielle de la Cruz

Images courtesy of Art in the Park 2020

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