Art in the Park: a celebration of book illustrations and hosting an NFT market

THREE weeks after welcoming more than 16,000 guests to the hybrid Art Fair Philippines, the fair’s affordable counterpart, Art in the Park, opened on April 24. Until May 1 at www.artinthepark.ph, the art fair will feature a physical activity day on April 28 at Jaime C. Velasquez Park in Makati City.

This year, Art in the Park features 61 galleries, art schools, independent art spaces, art collectives and, for the first time, an NFT (non-fungible token) marketplace. Artwork prices are capped at 50,000 pesos.

“We pushed everything back because of the Omicron wave in January,” Art in the Park co-founder and organizer Trickie Lopa told reporters in an April 21 Zoom interview.

Ms. Lopa, along with fellow co-founders Lisa Ongpin-Periquet and Geraldine “Dindin” Araneta – all three are also the founders of Art Fair Philippines – decided to keep most of the fair online to avoid the risk of overcrowding in the park, and spend a day there during the eight-day event.

ENG INK
Two of the featured artists at the fair with special exhibits are Ang Illustrador ng Kabataan (Ang INK) and Distort Monsters.

In accordance with their 30and anniversary, Ang INK will present a special exhibition titled “INK in the Park”, featuring a collection of 40 artworks by various illustrators.

Artist, painter and children’s book illustrator Jomike Tejido said it was the first time the group had been highlighted with a special exhibition after 16 years of attending the art fair.

“The fair has helped us bring out our creative talents outside of our usual platform as illustrations published in Filipino children’s books and magazines,” Tejido said. Business world in an email. He noted that Art in the Park gave them the opportunity to be appreciated by art collectors and showcase their graphic creations.

Ang INK’s special exhibition features 40 illustrators, including Juno Abreu, Aldy Aguirre, Fran Alvarez, Jamie Bauza, Benedir Dasig, Jovan De Ocampo, Danielle Florendo, Liza Flores, Tin Javier, Jasmin Lacay, LD Mendoza, Arli Pagaduan, Jonathan Ranola, Mark L Ruste, Jomike Tejido and Ige Ochoa Trinidad.

Meanwhile, their regular stand will showcase 100 works by 16 artists. “Our regular booth has an open theme, where we showcase each of our individual styles and interests in the field,” Tejido said. “Visitors may be able to obtain a timeless piece from their favorite children’s book illustrators.”

Ang INK has 50-60 active members every year. “Membership is renewed every year. The list of active members changes from year to year,” former Ang INK president Liza Flores said in an email.

For three decades, Ang INK has been striving “to improve the quality of its members’ work, to set a standard for the Philippine children’s book industry in craftsmanship as well as business practices, to expand its reach and its influence in other parts of the Philippines,” Ms. Flores said, and for the Philippines to be known internationally for having diverse, imaginative and world-class artwork for children.

In December 2021, Ang INK opened its 30and year anniversary exhibition at the Ateneo Art Gallery.

DEFORMING MONSTERS
Street artist Distort Monsters (real name: Miguel Antonio) bridges digital and traditional art with “Monster Mayhem Megamash”.

Art in the Park will feature 100 pieces from Part 2 of “Monster Mayhem MegaMash,” which features the artist’s colorful creatures in two-dimensional, three-dimensional, and digital forms, from murals to NFTs (non-fungible tokens). These unique monsters will be available on www.artinthepark.ph in the form of giclée prints containing unique QR codes which, when activated, will allow buyers of the prints to embed the images as NFTs which they will also own.

Priced at P9,500, the concept for the online exhibition comes from Blindboxes, where buyers don’t know which of the 100 unique and NFT prints they’ve purchased until the giclee prints are delivered to them.

“One of the main objectives of the Monster Mayhem [project] is to connect my physical art to the digital world and then back to the real world,” Antonio told reporters in a Zoom interview on April 21.

Antonio said they offer generative NFTs which are digital art that carries design assets embedded in a specific program. “Each asset or trait has a certain percentage of rarity, and what the program does is it takes all of those traits to put together a totally unique image,” he explained.

A live installation of 10 three-foot-tall resin sculptures will complement the online exhibit of “Monster Mayhem MegaMash.” They will be on display at Jaime Velasquez Park from April 24 to May 1.

ONLINE AND LIVE EVENTS
Complementing the online exhibitions at Art in the Park, online events will be held via Facebook Live (www.facebook.com/artintheparkph). These include the first video of the Studio 1616 exhibition on April 25 at 5:30 p.m.; the video showing INK STORY: 30 years of illustrating Kabataan April 26, 5 p.m., followed by a panel discussion on video with members of Ang INK and the Ateneo Art Gallery, 5:30 p.m.; Distort Monsters’ first video Monster Mayhem Megamash April 27, 5:30 p.m.; and the Platinum Series art activity for kids on April 30 at 10 a.m.

In the meantime, here are the live events taking place on April 28 (4-8 p.m.) at Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati:

Distort Monsters will be holding a live mural session starting at 3 p.m. Mr. Antonio will also discuss his Monster Mayhem MegaMash project, and how it bridges the gap between traditional art and NFTs in a talk scheduled for 5 p.m. the same day.

The exhibition of new works by Ang INK which will be available for purchase that day.

Installation of Studio 1616, Reflect Divert live.

A two-hour DJ set by After the Noon Records from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Food and beverages will also be available at the park.

Art in the Park is organized by Philippine Art Events, Inc., for the benefit of the Museum Foundation of The Philippines and with the support of Globe Platinum and Bank of The Philippine Islands.

For more information and the full schedule of activities, visit www.artinthepark.ph and follow www.facebook/artinthepark and @artintheparkph on Instagram. — Michelle Anne P. Soliman

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