Written by Justine Mary Golingay, B.S. in Biology IV.
There are many types of people. There are people who have neither skill nor talent and have to strive to reach their goals. There are also people who have the skill that everyone envies but doesn’t appreciate what he/she already has thus, taking advantage of his surroundings. Furthermore, there are people who have the skill and determination to excel but unfortunately due to unfavorable circumstances they are unable to get a good education. I don’t know about others opinion but I believe that one needs skill and determination in reaching their goals especially in the field of arts. In the field of arts, without skill you can’t survive. That is to say also without perseverance and determination you can’t survive. I’m not being discriminating or anything. Just stating facts based from experience and of course from movies and books. So why do I say this? I know many artists from the past and the present that were discouraged and gave up pursuing their dreams due to the overwhelming competition in this field and also the unending criticism from the media and the people. However, there is this one artist who has no idea he will pursue a career in art when he was young. He didn’t know the challenges he will face in this field but pursued it anyway. Before going any further, let’s first answer this question, What is Art? Art is a very relative and diverse term. According to Merriam Websters, something that is created with imagination and skill and that is beautiful or that expresses important ideas or feelings. Also from another source, “art is a diverse range of human activities in creating visual, auditory or performing artifacts (artworks), expressing the author’s imaginative or technical skill, intended to be appreciated for their beauty or emotional power”. Of course we learned from our history classes that it all started during the ancient times were even the artist themselves has no idea they are already creating art. During the renaissance, many well-known artists emerged including Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, etc. It’s amazing how most of them were in the same time line or in the same generation. Eventually, art became global and has sub fields including painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and other visual media. In time, it has reached the Philippines. The arts of the Philippines reflect a society with diverse cultural influences and traditions. The Malayan peoples had early contact with traders who introduced Chinese and Indian influences and in the later part Philippine cultural life evolved under the foreign rule of Spain and the United States. The cultural movements of Europe and the United States profoundly influenced Filipino artists. While drawing on Western forms, however, the works of Filipino painters, writers, and musicians are imbued with distinctly Philippine themes. By expressing the cultural richness of the archipelago in all its diversity, Filipino artists have helped to shape a sense of national identity. Many Malay cultural traditions have survived despite centuries of foreign rule. Muslims and upland tribal groups maintain distinct traditions in music, dance, and sculpture. In addition, many Filipino artists incorporate indigenous folk motifs into modern forms. Going back, I have mention before of knowing an artist who despite of many adversaries still pursued his career even though he doesn’t know he wants that career when he was young. He is Jorge cape. Surprisingly, he is my father’s second cousin. I always thought my uncles and aunts in my father’s side were more in the field of medicine, law, engineering and military. Guess I was wrong. I always wanted to meet a famous artist since I was young or maybe see their studio if they were the same as depicted in movies. Always searching not realizing that it was already near me not to mention a family relative. Now, why do I have such high regard for my uncle? Well, what was once his hobby or past time now became his business. Even though I was studying at UPV Miagao, I decided to visit this uncle of mine and of course my family as well. I think it was in the middle of the month of October that I decided to pay a visit. Fortunately, with the help of my father, I was able to catch him at his house. It’s been a while since I last saw him and that was when my grandfather died. Interviewing him in a formal way probably would not work so I tried it in a different approach. I asked about his work and he showed us his home. Many of his works were hanged at all corners of his home. I don’t think there’s space left to hang more. What amazed me more was that he was not limited to only one medium. He used charcoal, oil, pastel, water color and acrylic paint. Portraits of different sizes could be seen in all directions and it looked so life-like. It seems that his home is also his studio. Well that would explain the cups filled with paintbrushes and pencils of different sizes and shapes. I asked how he began and he told me his life story. Jorge cape had a very humble beginning before becoming a known visual artist that excels not just in one medium. He is the 5th child out of eight children of Lena Ocera and Agapito Cape. They became orphans at the age of four. Such a young age to become an orphan. He began like how everyone began their artistic journey (well maybe not everyone), drawing stick figures. I remember my own artistic journey. It started with stick figures and ended with stick figures, a tragic ending. At any rate, his journey did not end. Stick figures in elementary days evolved into tanks and soldiers and wars. The setting of his drawings became a battlefield. Well, it was understandable considering that World War II recently ended during his time. Apparently he started his business since he was still in grade school. It would appear that his classmates noticed his exceptional drawing skills and were amaze. He thought why not use his skills to earn money? Since they don’t have parents anymore, it is hard to manage finances. Thus, he sold his drawings and artworks. I’m more amazed at the notion of kids buying drawings from others. According to him, that was not the trigger of him becoming an artist. He did t-shirt printing for a period of time and that’s what made him realized that he should use his skills for a living. It would appear that art products vary in prices tremendously between Talisay and Manila. A painting worth 75 pesos in Negros cost 400 pesos in Manila. Thus he decided to work in Manila. I know prices vary among towns but that was way too much. Currently, he is staying at his house where his studio is continuing to provide his clients with his masterpieces. All his works are customer based. He excels in oil, pastel, acrylic, and water color painting and charcoal drawing. Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the binder. A pastel is an art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powdered pigment and a binder. Acrylic paint is a fast-drying paint made of pigment suspended in acrylic polymer emulsion. Acrylic paints are water-soluble, but become waterresistant when dry. Artists’ charcoal is a form of dry art medium made of finely ground organic materials that are held together by a gum or wax binder; which can also be produced without the use of binders by eliminating the oxygen inside the material during the production process. It has its own customized eraser that is stretchable. Most artists have their own style and preference. However, in his case, he just paints by instinct. When I asked him about his style, he looked bewildered as if what I’m saying is foreign to him. Later did I know that he never went to any art school! And here I am struggling what colors to combine. For his charcoal drawing, Jorge Cape uses german charcoal pencils. According to him, there are many kinds of charcoal pencils. The ones he has were given to by his foreign client. A single portrait about 10” x 15” would only take 3 hours to finish. For paintings in canvas, that would probably take at least a week or two but the laborious work it requires doesn’t matter for him as long as he enjoys doing it. At present, he has already sold about more than 300 portraits locally and internationally. A portrait that size would cost around P1800 – P2500 depending on the medium used.