Michelline Syjuco explains, “I would like to be known as a successful multi-disciplinary and multimedia artist. I really can’t pinpoint just one particular thing I want to be known for, since what I do is so deeply rooted in the merging of different art forms. To limit myself to one thing would defeat what I have been striving to achieve in the first place — which is to break boundaries.”

Revelation rock: The art of Michelline Syjuco
ARTMAGEDDON - Igan D’Bayan (The Philippine Star) - January 15, 2018 - 12:00am

Multi-disciplinary/multi-media artist Michelline Syjuco remembers growing up in a compound in New Manila, which was like a designated zone for artists. Filmmaker Peque Gallaga lived a few houses away. So did actors Joel Torre and Ronnie Lazaro. Young Michelline would listen in on their conversations during weekends, where they would talk about — who knows — maybe about work, society, the nature of being, art and all its black and gold sorcery. Ah, all those delicious revelations until the small hours of the morning. Her dad, the multimedia artist and self-confessed maximalist Cesare A.X. Syjuco, worked in his studio. Wailing guitars and white noise wafted from the speakers, creativity bled down the walls. What’s he building in there… as Tom Waits would intone. 




“Sometimes,” Michelline recalls, “I would make sculptural creatures out of the scrap wooden pieces left on his studio floor. I would give them names and assign them different personalities. As early as then, I was already creating imaginary worlds in my head.”

Most people know Michelline as a designer of wearable art (everything from jewelry to fashion accessories) and as an experimental sculptor, but many of her works in the past feature hand-painted elements. Painstakingly rendered.

“I’ve always incorporated painting into my work — whether they be for my sculptural bags which I paint by hand individually; my large-scale installations with shadows painted on the wall; or even for my freestanding sculptures.” But an upcoming show presented by Galerie Joaquin will be the first time the public will see Michelline purely as a painter.

Michelline mounts her first-ever solo exhibition of paintings titled “Revelation” on view starting tomorrow at the gallery’s pop-up art space at 8 Rockwell, with an artist’s reception on Jan. 25, 6:30 in the evening. As with all her works in the past, the artist draws inspiration from fantasy, sword and sorcery, phantasmagoria and fairytales. Whereas in the past, she gravitated toward “the dark side of things that I love,” she now focuses on the lighter side with her suite of oil-and-acrylic “Revelation” paintings.

“The works can be described as abstract landscapes and avant-garde floral motifs, which evoke the ethereal, the mystical, and the divine,” she explains. “The exhibition is another snapshot of my soul taken from a totally new and unexpected perspective. I decided to entitle the body of work ‘Revelation’ because it really is a revelation of sorts.”

Must be revelatory to live in a household full of artists.

“The accomplishments of our parents (Cesare and Jean Marie Syjuco) have left me and my siblings (composer/musician A.G., abstractionist/performance artist Trix, poet/performance artist Maxine, and painter/guitarist Julian) with such big shoes to fill. I think we all feel a sense of awe when we think about where we came from. It’s also very overwhelming at times, but my parents taught us to believe in ourselves and to embrace our uniqueness.”

The best thing about the talent pool in the Syjuco household is how they help each other out in various artistic endeavors. Michelline shares, “Maxine, for instance, designs all my catalogs, brochures and posters. I, in turn, do backup vocals for her, A.G. and Julian on tracks by their band, Jack of None. We always look out for each other, and that is how we were raised. When we get together during the holidays, we spend nights just talking about anything and everything. We literally watch the sunrise together.”

And from that celestial canvas, out juts an epiphany or two — to be interpreted in a painting, or a piece of jewelry, or an oracular tune. 

“The possibilities are endless,” Michelline concludes. “That’s what my parents always taught me and that’s what I have come to learn on my own through the years. We shouldn’t limit ourselves in any way shape or form. I go where my spirit dictates and where my passion leads me.” 

* * *

“Revelation,” Michelline Syjuco’s first exhibition of paintings, is on view at the ground floor lobby of 8 Rockwell, Rockwell Center, Makati City from Jan. 16 to 31, with a private artist’s reception on Jan. 25. For inquiries, call 723-9253 or email info@galeriejoaquin.com.

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