The Arce process
The artist and his finished artwork

The Arce process

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2021 - 12:00am

The artist is known as Arce just plain Arce that’s how he wants to be known. His works created quite a stir in the art community when people first saw his work. This was prior to his first solo exhibit at Art Underground in Mandaluyong City.

His real name is Edward Arce, and he graduated from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Fine Arts in 2002. He was awarded Thesis of the Year that same year, was a Nokia Art award winner, and worked as a creative head for a design agency.

I interviewed him about his rigorous work process. He says he always works with what occupies his present state of mind. He begins with a sketch and conceptualizes. He says, “It drives me to deal with my myriad of emotions.”

He looks at things from a different perspective, he deconstructs, and experiments. He has a thing for using his own hand-carved corbels (a structural piece of stone, wood or metal jutting from a wall to carry weight or a type of bracket) to incorporate in his works now. He then colors his canvas — usually hand-woven fabric from Abra or other regions of the Philippines — by dipping it.  He then bends and/or melts his intended frame by heating it. Arce says he invented special tools to do this. The cutting of the base, frame, and canvas drapery is the next step before he applies the mixture of acrylic, gesso, and other paints. The avant-garde artist states that he “doesn’t defy boundaries and I work way beyond time. I fearlessly paint using thick acrylic and oil paints.”

He adds, “I just listen to my inner force to say stop, then I pause to pray… most my themes focus on our Savior.” When he freezes that particular moment through his body of work, he says “inner peace is achieved.”

The whole process of creating a work is tedious. It takes him about a week to heat and bend and about two weeks to dry the artwork. The final touches of painting will take another week.  Each tedious piece of artwork will take him at least a month to finish.

This particular work featured here has quite a lengthy title: “In a sea of swelling and ebbing tides, in the face of turbulent winds, we sail on, unwavering, unbending, unyielding.”

As I finished my interview with the in-demand artist, I asked for his photo.  He sent me this masked photo. He said he preferred not to show his face, adding, “I want to keep my mysterious feel.” He wants people to remember his works, not his face.

Art Underground will show the works of Arce in their big gallery for the upcoming Philippine Art Fair this May. Nea de Leon will occupy the smaller gallery.

Art Underground is located at 814 Balagtas Street, Mandaluyong City. Call Kaye Lasam at (0917) 523-7463 for inquiries.


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Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.

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