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The sleep of reason and its lucid intervals

CEBU, Philippines — There’s a profound sense of balance perceptible in Osamu Tristan “Uzi” Emperado’s creative oeuvre. It’s a quality that paradoxically bisects the division between visual artists and graphic designers by blurring that divide as outmoded distinctions of the past.

A relative newcomer to Cebu’s gallery arts scene, the Cebuano graphic designer-cum-visual artist recently had his first solo show in The Foyer Space of Qube Gallery in Banilad last month – a debut that illustrated what the artist is trying to raise in Cebu’s expansive creative sphere.

Titled “Sleep of Reason,” the show drew focus on Emperado’s non-inhibited approach in merging linear painting, baroque and romantic period painting techniques with dreamscapes and mindscapes. It’s an amalgamation that treads on a careful negotiation between tradition, influence and creative identity.

Top-billed by pieces that harp on speculative fiction, the show presented how Emperado’s compositional goals are steered by color juxtapositions – expounded by texturizing specific shades as the base tone in the making of works.

Emperado’s formal art education started in 2005, when he enrolled in The University of San Carlos’ Fine Arts program.

He transferred to the University of the Philippines Cebu a year later, dropped out of college in 2008, then made a name for himself as a freelance artist who specializes in illustration and graphic design commissions.

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To date, his body of work consists of visuals for a wide variety of items – covering branded merchandise, album designs, posters, book covers and stage designs. “Sleep of Reason” presented the touchstone facets that are indicative of the artist’s creative style.

Combining the de facto with the de jure, the show’s title was a play of an etching by Baroque master Francisco Goya titled “The Sleep of Reason Produces Monsters.”

To a certain extent, the bearing of Emperado’s “Sleep of Reason” alluded to what Goya was saying in the etching – that to an artist, the sleep of reason yields to lucid intervals when creative concepts bear creative output, a point where the artist and his work come together as one. (FREEMAN)

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