MANILA -- Shared frustrations over decades of Manila's incongruous city planning and implementation dissipate into the marvelous hands of 25-year-old urban and travel sketch artist, Vincent Quilop.
Quilop, who has amassed quite a number of following both online and offline over the years for his head-turner illustrations and eye-catching watercolor sketches, is among the pool of global talents -- and the only Filipino artist -- to be featured at "Uniting Nations through Art" by Art Vancouver, western Canada's largest international and contemporary art fair happening this April 25 to 28.
Art Vancouver told ABS-CBN News that they first heard of Quilop in an article about the top 10 emerging artists from the Philippines. And when they saw his work, they invited him to apply. Once he applied, the selection committee looked through his work and accepted it.
"The selection committee felt that he was very talented, his portraits are very lifelike. He has a good eye and unique approach with his travel watercolor postcard paintings," Art Vancouver director Lisa Wolfin told ABS-CBN News in a Facebook message.
"In Between Manila" is Quilop's first international exhibit. It aims to shed light on the eroding prestige of the Metro's once glorious past through the artist's reimagination.
"I've been to different capital places around Southeast Asian countries and wherever I go, I feel familiar, like I'm in Manila, but they're more successful. Tourism-wise, in Bangkok, for example, things look cleaner. I always think it could have been like this (in Manila)," said Quilop.
Amid the Duterte administration's aggressive "Build, build, build" program, Quilop urged the government to also consider a historical approach.
"There are some Art Deco buildings that are being demolished to give way for developments, like a new condominium. I don't want to be a purist, but it sort of ruins what a good urban space could be for the people," said Quilop.
"Filipinos tend to be fixated on malls. What we need is more public and open spaces, more parks," he added.
Lugging more than a dozen framed paintings, Quilop hopes the collective nostalgia would remind people to see the beauty amid the chaos.
"When Filipinos, or rather the foreigners think of the Philippines, they think of provinces. They think of the beaches. They think of Boracay and Palawan. They never think about Manila," Quilop told ABS-CBN News.
He hopes to change that. "When you get deeper into what Manila is, its rich heritage, its people, its food, there's a spark to it."
Some of Quilop's featured masterpieces include "Puso ng Maynila," which is a painting of the Manila City Hall, the Rizal Park (which Quilop praised for being one of the cleanest and the largest parks), the Cultural Center of the Philippines, Escolta, and the controversial Manila Metropolitan Theater, to name a few.
'Puso ng Maynila' by Vincent Quilop
'Rizal Park' by Vincent Quilop
'Manila Post Office' by Vincent Quilop
'Capitol Theater Escolta' by Vincent Quilop
'Binondo Church' by Vincent Quilop
'Binondo' by Vincent Quilop
'Escolta' by Vincent Quilop
'Metropolitan Theater; by Vincent Quilop
Art Vancouver could prove to be a life-changing leap for Quilop's budding artistic journey after first, dropping out of college to pursue his dream job as an art director at age 22 with the McCann group -- and a couple of years later -- resigning to focus on his craft.
His penchant for drawing and the arts stems from his growing up days in Jeddah where he had spent his tender years sketching airplanes at dad's work until his family (except for his dad) relocated back to the Philippines for high school years.
Being the oldest of three children, Quilop's choice of career was initially met with hesitation by his parents. But soon, thanks to word of mouth, this gradually turned into something promising and viable.
Today, he gets commissioned to make paintings for corporate and individual clients which range from P4,000 up to P10,000.
Get in touch with Vincent Quilop here.