Aris Carandang is from Plaridel, Bulacan. He was born March 15, 1977 and the youngest among eleven siblings. He is an artist by heart since he doesn’t have formal training in visual arts. Instead, he earned his bachelor of Arts in Philosophy when he entered the seminary. However, this paved the way for him to be exposed to different aspects of arts such as singing, theatre acting and be exposed to precious visual arts like the works of Amorsolo, Luna, Malang, Joya, Manansala and other prominent visual artists. He remember during his childhood days, he was enjoying playing with small pieces of wood blocks with different sizes and shapes for firewood. Since Plaridel is an old town called Quingua during the Spanish time 1603, there were several old Spanish type houses back then that mesmerized him. Not to mention the century old St. James Parish Church building. Unfortunately, the majority of these ancestral houses were not maintained enough; some were already demolished. He thinks this is his inspiration for his obra. He wants the younger generation to have an idea of how old houses called “bahay na bato“, “casa grande” or “balai” look like, built by the early Filipino craftsmen. Because he is proud to promote Filipino heritage in his simple way.
Here is our conversation with Aris.
What motivates you to push through your career as an artist?
My desire to preserve the filipino old houses which started as a hobby is my primary motivation to learn more and find new ways to create a unique obra.
What are the challenges you’ve been through as an artist?
The first challenge is the materials because I use natural materials such as cement glass, capiz shell, acrylic paints, varnish and wood. So I have to work with different tools and approach different techniques. By way of personal experimentation, I was able to use these materials artistically.
How does the pandemic affect you?
Honestly this pandemic is a blessing in disguise for me. Because of covid, I was forced to become a full time mixed media artist. I took advantage of the series of lockdowns to concentrate more on how to create a meaningful obra. And so my big piece created during the first intensed lockdown was entitled “Balai Pag-asa”. My obra saved me from the depression of covid as well as financial support because I was able to sell some obra in spite of the lockdown. And as a way of thanksgiving, even in a small amount, I financially help some seriously sick people that I came across facebook.
With all your art pieces, Do you have any favourite one?
As I mentioned above, Balai Pag-asa was my first love among other obra.
What is your advice especially to all the emerging artists?
I may be old in age but I am also neophyte in this career. When I chat with young artists on social media, I encourage them to be passionate in their arts and find their own originality because this will all the more inspire them to work and inspire others as well, especially the art enthusiasts. I particularly encourage them to use Filipino culture as an original theme in their works.
Who inspires you to make more art?
There is no particular person but my aspiration is to preserve our old Filipino houses for the consumption of our younger generation. Because unlike Europe and some parts of the world that value their culture and heritage as one of the top priorities, our ancestral houses were not maintained enough because of monetary considerations.