Bigboy Cheng lists down his faves from next Leon auction 2
Bigboy Cheng and one of his top picks in Leon Gallery’s Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2022—Luis Lorenzana’s Maria Robo Clara (M.R.C.). Cheng’s portrait by Jilson Tiu.

Bigboy Cheng picks the best, brightest, and the badass from the upcoming Leon auction

The impresario behind Secret Fresh lists his recommendations for the young collector joining this weekend’s bidding wars
ANCX Staff | Jun 06 2022

Bigboy Cheng is one of the most followed sneaker and designer toy collectors on social media. His stamp of approval and funny, no-BS reviews has helped many a small food biz that sprouted at the height of the pandemic. He’s turned Secret Fresh from a mere toy store and hobbyist’s den to an influential hub for art, fashion, collabs and other cool pursuits—it’s now where he gets to showcase his latest merch projects with artists like his buddy Bencab—whom he calls “Tito Ben”—and the latest works of hot young artists like Keb Cerda and Pow Marin. 

While it may seem like his taste in art leans exclusively towards pop and cartoon, his choices for our tastemaker series says otherwise. In fact, they only reinforce what we’ve known all along about Bigboy: whether it’s a pair of kicks or a painting, the guy just knows how to spot a gem. So if you’re looking to score something from the upcoming The Spectacular Midyear Auction happening this June 11, presented by Leon Gallery and ANCX, best to checkout his favorites below. 

Untitled by Ronson Culibrina
Lot 119 "Lutang na Palasyo" by Max Balatbat

Lot 119, “Lutang na Palasyo” by Max Balatbat 

Signed and dated 2016 (lower right); oil on canvas; 24" x 28 1/2" (61 cm x 72 cm)

Bigboy is drawn to the urban landscape suggested by Balatbat’s abstract collage—which will look great in a home, he says. “Very well planned, ang ganda-ganda ng pagka-design niya, very Filipino,” the gallerist-collector adds. “Napaka-modern lang.” 

Pieta by Charlie Co
Lot 64 Pieta by Charlie Co

Lot 64 “Pieta” by Charlie Co

Signed and dated 1997 (lower right and verso); oil on canvas; 60" x 60" (152 cm x 152 cm)

If there’s anything Bigboy likes about Charlie Co’s work, it’s in how the Negrense artist translates his life and feelings in his paintings, just like in “Pieta.” “Kung ano nararamdaman niya, yun ang nakikita niyo.” 

Torso by Benedicto Cabrera
Lot 65 Torso by Benedicto Cabrera

Lot 65 “Torso” by Benedicto Cabrera 

Signed (right side); dated 2013; edition 3 of 20; cast bronze; 10" x 4" x 5" (25 cm x 10 cm x 13 cm)

“Magaling si Tito Ben mag-sketch ng mga nude, katawan man yan ng babae o lalake. Very distinct na siya talaga gumawa ng sculpture na yan,” says Bigboy about this rare sculptural work in cast bronze by his friend, the National Artist. “Alam mo na Bencab maski na walang ulo. Ang ganda ng curves. Very modern, very classy.” As the kids like to say, if you know you know. 

Lot 54 Maria Robo Clara (M.R.C.) by Luis Lorenzana
Lot 54 Maria Robo Clara (M.R.C.) by Luis Lorenzana

Lot 54 “Maria Robo Clara (M.R.C.)” by Luis Lorenzana 

Signed and dated 2016 (lower right); oil on canvas; 40" x 30" (102 cm x 76 cm)

“Galing ng pagkagawa,” says Bigboy about this oil piece by the self-taught pop surrealist. “Pop siya but very class. Galing niya mag oil—very realistic at the same time grabe imagination, the way he interprets meanings in his paintings.” 

Lot 100 Untitled  by Ronson Culibrina
Lot 100 Untitled by Ronson Culibrina

Lot 100 “Untitled” by Ronson Culibrina  

Signed and dated 2016 (lower right); oil on canvas; 24" x 28 1/2" (61 cm x 72 cm)

Bigboy’s admiration for the artist known for his witty appropriation of the works of masters is clear. “Sobrang galing na painter, sobrang galing na artist,” the collector says of Culibrina. It is the way the latter makes use of the mundane and the everyday, incorporating these with old traditional artworks, that Bigboy finds most impressive. 

His colors are very vibrant, he adds, and the way his mind works is just badass. Every painting is “a true conversation piece.” 

[Leon Gallery’s Spectacular Mid-Year Auction 2022 is happening this June 11 at 2PM. Co-presented by ANCX, the auction gathers a staggering 142 lots made up of art from Filipino masters and contemporary artists, as well as precious antiques. To browse what’s in store, visit the Leon Gallery website by clicking on this link.]

Photos courtesy of Leon Gallery