SUPREMO - Tim Yap (The Philippine Star) - August 9, 2014 - 12:00am

Sometimes, rejection can be your best motivation. 

Omar Flores had taken the talent exam to get into his dream school, the UP School of Fine Arts, four times. All times he was rejected. He had just quit his nursing course to pursue his real passion, which was painting, as this was what he felt he was born to do. To fund his education, he sold paintings on Edsa — his versions of the masters’ classical forms submerged in light.

Then one day, he had an epiphany. “What if I get Piolo Pascual to manage me?” Now, the world is still the same and Piolo Pascual is still a matinee idol and not an artist’s manager, but something in Omar just lit up, like a light bulb that flashed inside his head.

Omar had been painting Piolo for quite some time now and so, he wanted to send one of his artworks to the actor, so he gave one of his earlier works to Piolo’s road manager when he went to become studio audience in one of Piolo’s shows on ABS-CBN.

A year had passed and he never saw Piolo or that painting again. 

One day, as he was watching the Survivor reality TV show, he chanced upon Yaya Moi, who happened to be part of Papa P’s team. He went to her when he had the chance, showed her the artist studies of the painting he had gifted the actor with to prove that it was him who made the artwork that now hangs in the superstar’s bedroom. 

And the rest is history.

The next scene, Omar was already in the ABS-CBN studios waiting for his idol. Seven hours later, he decided to leave. Maybe it wasn’t meant for him to see Piolo Pascual and present his new artwork for him. A few minutes later, the actor showed up, thanked him personally and told him he loved his work.

A collab exhibit ensued, and then countless commissions for portraits, and slowly but surely, Omar Flores’ stable of clients grew. His fans and collectors are mostly from the celebrity and the society set.

Omar Flores is fast becoming a name to reckon with in the crossover art scene. People are lining up for his commit owned portraits that form part of his line series, sideview profiles of the most prominent people this side of the world. Aside from Piolo Pascual, I have seen Omar’s versions of Dubai-based design superstars Michael Cinco, Furne One, and Ezra Santos. There are also portraits of the elusive design great Pepito Albert, society doyenne Doody Tuason, retail king Ben Chan, to name a few.

Why sideview profiles in surrealist lines as portraits, one might ask. “I feel perfection is best seen sideways. It means everything connects to everything else. Those lines reflect what the person has been through to become that person.  That’s what I see,” explains the 25-year-old artist. “I get inspiration from the life of the person, it forms the lines and I let it have a life of its own.”

Everything is, indeed, connected to one another, and now, Omar is neck deep in, aside from commissioned artworks, an upcoming exhibit, a still secret collaboration with a global designer, and finishing the entire ceiling of a newly constructed church — yes, a la Sistine Chapel.

Not bad for somebody who was rejected from art school four times.

* * *

Check out his work on his Instagram italyboi_56 and you may email him at italyboy56@yahoo.com. My twitter and IG, @officialtimyap.




Produced by DAVID MILAN

Grooming by HANNA PECHON of Shu Uemura

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