Manila is not a stranger to street art. In almost everywhere you go, from the wide streets of BGC to the empty lots in Pasig, there is artwork adorning the walls, sidewalks, posts, and even FX’s, saturating the city landscape with color, wonder and expression.
You have probably (and/or unknowingly) stumbled upon works from Filipino greats in street art. From Dex Fernandez with his iconic Garapata, to the anonymous The ‘Why’ Guy with his thought-evoking tags, and to environmentalist, AG Sano, whose work sucks you into a colorful maze of dolphin doodles. These are names, characters, and messages that have been around for quite a while (in millenial times), and even if you’re no art expert like me, you have most likely wondered and attempted to decipher what the intention is behind all the effort, and maybe even the choice of medium.
Enter Jappy Agoncillo
Enter Jappy Agoncillo, a young man, who, 2 years ago had no idea how to paint a small wall for his school org and was yet the name we’ve heard alongside the brands, Wanderland, Satchmi, Bench, or SM Youth.
All photos taken from Jappy Agoncillo’s Facebook Page
Jappy’s work, self-described as “urban contemporary, with just a little hint of pop art” for “having a really comic book feel (that’s) very rooted in punk rock or alternative music,” brings a fresh take on street art with lively characters he’s developed in his still-infant years in the scene. For many practitioners that have been around for quite some time, their artistry, more often than not, stems deep from the darkest corners of their memory, lifetime, thoughts, or fears, or serves as a strong reaction to a personal event in their life.
For the 22-year-old Legal Management major, however, the message of his art (really more of a reminder) comes as simple and gentle as swaying back and forth on a swingset — that “It’s okay to be a kid again.”
With a life juggling his college career and passionately pursuing the artist dream, I think it makes sense why his art offers comfort to his widening audience, and continues to invite not only, us, millenials, but people across all ages and backgrounds. And as we follow along the adventures of Jappy’s multi-faceted persona in Leilani, Sourman, Starman, The Tiger, and my personal favorite, the no-name skull-with-the-cap, the painter-muralist-illustrator will continue to scratch the surface and dig deep into the Philippine art scene with us, one wave of nostalgia at a time.
There is so much more that we need to uncover and discuss about the gold mine that is the street culture in Manila, so just strap in for the next feature!