“Anong gagawin ko dito, guys? (What am I gonna do with this, guys?)” Asked Jappy Agoncillo with a laugh, staring at his original canvas now filled with intricate black lines and bright pops of color in abstract shapes. He was met with laughter from his fellow artists, brows also furrowed in wonder. In their last switch of the night, each artist made finishing touches to their works, all products of three creative minds.
Last Monday, March 13, 2018, Lee Caces, Kara Pangilinan, and Jappy Agoncillo collaborated for “Switch!” a live three-way collaboration and exhibit. These three up-and-coming artists all brought their A-game, flaunting their individual styles and strengths as artists in the challenge of creating conversations with their art.
In partnership with Futurestudio, the night was filled with art, live music, and good vibes. It was an intimate affair, taking place in Cubao X right above My Breathing Space. Surrounded by loved ones and art enthusiasts alike, the three got to work right away.
Kara Pangilinan, an artist with an eye for very intricate detail and different line weights, started off with her signature sketches and details filled in with black paint. For Lee Caces, a wash of peach-pink and swipes of blue inflected with gold was his foundation. Jappy Agoncillo didn’t stray from bold colors and even bolder lettering, his pop-art sensibilities shining through immediately.
The entire atmosphere seemed to enliven innovation and even draw it out. Each artist got to work quickly, translating the images they saw in mind to the canvas with skilled, practiced hands. It was easy to tell that they all had different approaches and completely different styles. But the way they jived with each other and greeted each other with easygoing smiles and encouragement only showed how, just as their pieces were conversing, they were, too.
Each artist rooted around their own materials in order to lay down the foundation of their piece. Paint markers, tubes of paint, and the like were strewn about on the floor in front of them. Gears began to whir to life and spin, powering their hands. They were all in their element, paint-stained fingers and all. And as time winded down to their first switch, they all seemed excited to see how they could add their own twist to another person’s artwork.
As each artist finished up their first layer, they looked at each other, exchanging glances. Hands busy with creation but mouths encouraging, telling each other: This is what I wanna do. And as they decided who would switch with who, they seemed to be at ease.
At some point, Jappy paused and took some of us watching by surprise. He turned, even contorted a little, and then laughed. “There’s paint on my shirt.” He tried to wipe it away, laughing all the while.
Kara took Jappy’s piece, Jappy moved down the line to Lee’s, and Lee got to work adding some color to Kara’s. Concentrated, they all began to add their own flair to each piece. It was a joy to watch as each artist’s aesthetics and sensibilities differed slightly from the new one they were now encountering but they still managed to work around differences and played to their strengths. Styles melded and met one another, creating something absolutely new.
The three painted along to live music as soon as their own playlists died down and the first performer, Martti Franca, plugged in. His smooth voice combined with his emotional lyrics filled the room with foot-tapping and nodding. While he crooned words like “Love me, even if it’s just to fill the spaces” into the microphone (and unlocking everyone’s inner hugotero/hugotera), the three soldiered on.
“This one’s… another sad one,” he laughed into the microphone as he readied to play another song, earning laughter from the audience in return. This artist, whose single “Alone” is now on Spotify, wowed us with ballads and unrequited love. His smooth singing and impressive range captured everyone’s hearts, the experience of visual art and music coming together only heightening the experience.
As the artists took a break–the rustle of a fast food paper bag and the smell of fries and orange juice announced: break time–the next performer set up. Bea Lorenzo wowed us all with her raspy voice and her unique sound. Equipped with a keyboard, her laptop, and an African instrument called a “kalimba,” she warmed herself up with the beginning of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
And, though her hands shook from nervousness, as soon as her fingers hit the keys, all of her fears seemed to melt away. Her voice, powerful and commanding, immediately quieted any other noise, allowing her to belt and sing. Techno beats and the almost music box-like quality of her kalimba made for a fantastic performance, one that the artists felt inspired enough by to get back to work. She filled up the small space with her hard-hitting singing and the perfect combination of traditional and contemporary.
For their third switch of the night, Jappy got his hands on Kara’s original piece, Lee added his abstract twist to Jappy’s, and Kara began to add different shapes and lines to Lee’s. The smell of fresh paint began to permeate the space again and everyone’s energy was up, each artist now having visited every canvas. And, though they had to linger and wonder what they could add to this new one in front of them, none of them failed to finesse themselves into the piece.
As each canvas filled out a little more, so did the artists ease into the comfort of creation. Even though it was a little difficult at first with how tentative they were to transform elements and add their own, they seemed to be able to feel for the other’s bends and shapes and colors while adding their own.
It really was a collaboration, one that translated in how the different segments came together. And, though it wasn’t all harmonious, they all told different, interesting stories. Narratives meshed together visually and even musically.
As the artists readied themselves for the final switch, Extrapolation set up and began to play. They were all jazz and smoothness and all kinds of foot-tapping, whoop-inducing, delicious music. The kind that you expect to hear in swanky jazz bars and all. And the layer of this very exciting music with the impending end of the live painting seemed to add an element of finality to everything. Like we were truly chasing the end.
“Last switch!” They announced, earning the support of the audience, all enlivened by the saxophone and flute. Kara added final touches to her now colorful canvas, utilizing her trusty paint markers to add lines in different weights. Lee finished off with signature gold touches and Jappy, after contemplating what in the world he could still add to the exciting mesh of color on his canvas, finished with some pop-art details that he does best.
In the middle of Extrapolation’s last set, each artist put down their materials, accomplished grins on their faces. Despite the paint in between their fingernails and scattered on their hands, they seemed satisfied. Each had endeavored to leave a piece of themselves in another person’s art, ultimately creating three different works that all held their voices.
As the event winded down, they took proud photos with their new collaborated pieces. They joined the rest of us in nodding along to the last of Extrapolation’s sway-worthy sax solos and danceable jams as they signed each work with their names.
“It’s going to be a long night,” Lee told me earlier on with an edge of excitement and, despite its length, it seemed to end on a high note for them all. Congratulations, Lee, Kara, and Jappy! What a show!
The exhibit will run this whole week until the 17th so be sure to drop by Futurestudio to check it out! All the works are up for grabs. What’re you waiting for? See you there!
Lee Caces: https://www.instagram.com/leecaces/
Kara Pangilinan: https://www.instagram.com/detailsink/
Jappy Agoncillo: https://www.instagram.com/jappylemon/
Martti Franca: https://www.instagram.com/marttifranca/
Bea Lorenzo: https://www.instagram.com/bealorenzomusic/
Which work would you want to take home with you? Let us know!