A night for the arts

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - January 16, 2015 - 12:00am

One Sunday night, towards the end of 2014, two art shows were simultaneously held at Secret Fresh Gallery in Greenhills. Art aficionados were delighted to attend the events.

The first art show was that of talented contemporary American artist Ron English. The show officially opened as a drum-and-lyre band played. His exhibit included paintings of his known original characters (Cow Girl, Star Skull and the Smiley Grin). His Temper Tots, all four feet in height, were the center of attention.

English has actively impressed the globe with his artworks that have made it to the streets, museums, galleries, books, even television and movies. He came up with the term “POPaganda,” which describes his signature pop-surreal mash-ups of characters and people. One of his most iconic works is the MC Supersized, an image inspired by the idea of Ronald McDonald eating his own product and the effect of fast food on the American culture. Abraham Obama, a neat fusion of the portraits of the United States’ 16th and 44th presidents made a great impact on the 2008 elections. English began designing art toys in 2005 and since then he has produced over 50 designs. The Temper Tot is his limited edition “toy” produced in the Philippines.

Secret Fresh Gallery’s second show was called Milk, which featured artworks and toy sets of artists Jana Brike, Bree Jonson, Galaxie Maria and Tawnie Tantay.

Brike is an artist from Latvia whose subjects for the exhibit were seemingly delicate adolescent characters. Her painting The Wild Strawberry was the reference for her art toy, Strawberry Girl. Jonson, whose main subjects were animals, presented her art toy, Milkpup. Samadine was Galaxie Maria’s main character for her paintings and her art toy. Tantay’s Darling Dairy was as consistent to her signature female characters.

The exhibit featured four semi-custom sets in gold, metallic red and metallic black. Each of the lady artists customized two pieces of her toy, which were sold individually. Their regular Milk toy will be limited to 20 sets only.


(Secret Fresh Gallery is located at the ground floor of Ronac Art Center, Ortigas Ave., Greenhills, San Juan City. For inquiries, visit www.facebook.com/secretfresh.)


The Fairey has arrived!

Hennessy has been known for its prolific collaborations with some of today’s most sought-after visual artists like Kaws and Futura.

Recently, Hennessy invited Shepard Fairey, arguably one of the most important and most popular American artists of the early 21st century, to design his own Hennessy Very Special Limited Edition bottle.

Undoubtedly, the artistic partnership between Hennessy and Fairey became a perfect union for their shared values -— the never ending quest for excellence, the love of true craftsmanship, the cultivation of consistency, the passion for tradition and innovation. The end result is a label with a balanced mix of Fairey’s signature style and Hennessy’s legacy.

Fairey incorporated his “Star icon” mandala and “Andre the Giant” with colors and elements that have been used at Hennessy such as gold, black, cream and red.  He said, “I like the idea of creating an intimate relationship with the owner of the Limited Edition bottle, for them to see my work and to see how every space is utilized from different perspectives: the top of the bottle, the neck, the label.”

The Manila launch certainly was delayed but it finally happened! A mix of different genres and personalities gathered together for a grand occasion held at the contemporary art hub, Secret Fresh at Ronac Art Center in San Juan City. Guests got a glimpse of the spectacular collaboration through a quick introductory video during the program. A distinct graffiti wall resembling Shepard’s visual prowess became the big highlight of the event.  

Servings of specially concocted Hennessy cocktails freely flowed and delighted the guests all through the night. DJ Bigboy Cheng of Secret Fresh kept the energizing vibe flowing with his music.


(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)

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