Every artist was once a tiny dot in a gray scale world, a dreamer aspiring to have his artworks displayed in an exhibit. By venturing out from the four monochromatic corners that keep them and wandering for more vivid shades, these tiny dots become vibrant colors that make the world a little less black and white; more radiant and warm.
This is the story of a 24-year old Joel U. Chavez, an alumnus of Polytechnic University of the Philippines-College of Communication, a gray dot that transformed into a color as he made his dreams come true when he had his first solo exhibit last August 2015.
His Blank Canvas
At a young age, Chavs, as friends dotingly call him, was already engaged in arts. Enrolled at Batangas Province High School for Culture and Arts, he admitted that it was the breeding ground of his talent and the turning point of his life occurred during his stay in the school. The natural born Batangeño started engraving his tabula rasa when he first discovered that he has the hands of a painter during the latter part of his freshman year. He recalled that his “first artwork” was a canvas of a fisherman by the seashore. “Hindi pa naman noon kaganda,” he humbly said. The subject didn’t have much intricate details but the background was a picturesque of dusk. He realized that his works have the potential. “Medyo kaya pala.”
His Stepping Stone
His journey to milestone further bloomed when he stepped his foot on the grounds of Polytechnic University of the Philippines and took up Bachelor in Advertising and Public Relations. He then became one of the founding members of Guhit Visual Arts Group which is an organization for PUP artists or painters under the supervision of Sir Joseph Reylan Viray. The organization is a pool of artists who all converged for a common purpose that is, to propagate art and culture through their artworks. The Guhit Visual Arts Group is well-known for 3D art paintings and the organization behind the Tutuban Virtual Zoo, the largest 3D Virtual zoo in the country. They are also being recognized for their dynamic involvement on local and international exhibits.
His colorful story as a PUPian
Chavs stayed in the college for six years. He certainly did maximize the length of years allowed for every student enrolled in the university. Some might say that he is irresponsible enough to hang around that long but Chavs explained that he became an irregular student because he used to join various competitions. He laughingly admitted that he became a 3rd year student thrice since he had to unload his other subjects in order for him to paint. And it paid off. He won in prestigious competitions, bagging awards from 2nd place to Grand Prize.
Grand Prize — First Avida 3D Street Painting Competition 2011 (group)
2nd Place — 2nd Avida 3D Street Painting Competition 2012 (group)
Grand Prize — Magnolia Tumbler Design Making Competition 2010
Hon. Mention — Maningning Miclat Painting Competition 2011
Finalist Golden Season Painting Competition 2011
2nd Place — Rotary On the Spot Painting Competition 2012
Truly, learning does not stop inside the classroom and hues do not rest on primary colors.
Chavs admitted that he had learned more and further developed his talents on places he thought will help him, particularly on their organization where he also spend most of his time.
Chavs is a face of endless dreams, passion, and hardwork. He pointed out that being independent and having both the mind and spirit of a fighter were what he learned from PUP. And when asked to whom does he owe his success, Chavs bluntly admired and recognized Sir Viray and his wife Prof. Kriztine Viray for offering a helping hand as an unconditional support for a struggling artist like him. “Dati noong wala akong budget, binigyan ako ni Sir Viray. Tumira din ako sa kanila. At naka-support lagi si Sir basta may art contest o exhibit,” he said while reminiscing all his hardships. Chavs, being grateful of their indulgence, could not think of more but to repay them through his most sincere and artistic way which was to paint them.
His Brimming Oeuvre
Albeit graduating with an irregular status in the academe, Joel Chavez had shown us that nothing’s impossible as long as we have the heart and passion in everything we wish to pursue.
One of his biggest milestones was when his artworks were showcased in an exhibit entitled “Redeeming the Rebirth” at the in Mandaluyong City, August last year, which was attended by waves of artists, art enthusiasts, writers, collectors, students, and
friends who were all fascinated by the marvelousness of his creations.
The concept of the realist painter’s compositions was reinterpreting the works of great masters of Renaissance period like Caravaggio and Johannes Vermeer through his trademarks of symbols and the brownish and reddish tone of the paintings.
He crowned all his paintings in the exhibit as his “Greatest Masterpieces.” The “Playful Charm,” which was his version of Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring,” was his favorite among his estimated 150 paintings.
“Before ng exhibit, ramdam ko pa yung pagod. Hindi rin ako nakatulog, medyo na-excite at medyo kabado rin ako,” Chavs reminisced how all the adversities out of his almost eight months of preparations paid off as his works received praise and appreciation from his audience. He was even featured on different blogs and magazines.
After all of his paintings were sold, numerous commissioned works followed. The influx of demand for his art was already uplifting, which was why when the gallery offered him a 2nd solo exhibit, it truly moved him.
His intense love for art over the fame was the perfect ingredient to the success of his exhibit. “Actually, ginawa ko lang ng buong puso yung craft ko. Gusto ko lang may maka-appreciate sa obra ko. Siguro swerte na lang din kung mapabilang ako sa mga hanay ng tanyag na pintor,” he simply said.
“Oo, malaki ang nagawa ng art sa akin. Parang kahit yagit lang ako, naramdaman kong nagkaroon ng kaunting respect sa akin ‘yung mga tao. Financially, malaki ang natutulong sa akin. Nakakatulong na ‘ko sa bayarin at sa parents ko. Nabibili ko na rin ‘yung mga gusto ko ngayon.”
Joel U. Chavez believed that betting for art is one of the most risky decisions one can ever make. Couple of uncertainties may come along the way but you just have to shrug it off, grab your brushes, and start stroking and playing with the colors of crayons and pastels.
He encouraged young artists to strengthen their God-given talents through endless practice. “Tulungan din nila yung sarili nila. Kusa kasing may tutulong sa’yo kung nakikita naman nila na may potential ka.”
Indeed, he is a living inspiration sharing his colorful shades of journey in the field he is most passionate about. He had proven his love for his craft as he etched lines of success and stroked colors of struggles, resulting to an obra maestra that represents his persona‒‒a painter who is definitely a winner.