Northern Living: 2014 August

Page 30



Inspired by his mother’s battle with cancer, Louie Talents confronts a personal challenge and finds comfort in creation TEXT DIANNE PINEDA PHOTOGRAPHY JILSON TIU

There’s something to say about an artist whose name precedes his work. Louie Talents, however, has a very apt name that speaks volumes about his art. This Cagayan de Oro native is known for his works that communicate not only his own feelings but also commentary on social phenomena. But perhaps his most talked about exhibit is (as he calls it) “Blast-Famous,” which consists of cauterized pages from the one of world’s holiest books: the Bible. Here, Talents explores using a much less controversial medium—watercolor—and delves into a subject that’s closer to his heart. How would you describe your work? About three months ago my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Two weeks ago, I sat next to her and asked her to draw me something beautiful. She laughed, saying, “I don’t know how to draw.” She

then picked up a red pen and drew a simple flower on yellow paper. This became my inspiration for this piece. The flower is inside the vase, which serves to protect it. This is a symbolic image of my mother, who was advised by the doctor not to go out because she is undergoing chemotherapy. She is like a flower inside a vase. I treat the flower as though it is real and water it each day with watercolor. The overall image resembles a cake because August 8 happens to be her birthday. This work serves as my tribute to my mother and to all cancer patients out there who are like flowers to every courageous family that goes through this difficult situation. What was the experience like using a different medium other than what you’re used to? It was a good experience to work again



with watercolor. The last time I did it was during my student days in University of the Philippines and at Ecole des Beaux in Paris. I wanted to do something different so I decided not to do anything wallbound or out of paper. With this task at hand, I was mindful of the medium, trying to understand the medium again and allow it to speak my thoughts. How would you describe your creative process? I started out doing traditional works and treating the medium as a vehicle to express my idea, then elaborate more through the concept. In my art projects, the concept comes first, then I think of the best possible medium I could use to communicate my thoughts. But now, I find myself searching with an open mind, somehow embrace spontaneity or randomness, and let go of my creative intuition.