We speak to Singapore-based Filipina visual artist Amanda Lapus Santos about her inspirations and chasing her passion for art.
Amanda with her Tropical Painting (Acrylic on canvas)
Can you describe the time when you first realized that painting was something you absolutely had to do?
Since graduating from college, I had been jumping from one industry to another, trying to find something I was passionate about. For about three years I had been working in the finance industry, but even then, I'd find myself doodling or just seeking any sort of creative outlet. Painting, or just art in general though, was something I loved ever since I was a child. I don't think you ever lose that. Going into it full-time, and doing freelance work however, that was a whole new challenge in itself.
Whose work do you relate with the most? What inspires you?
Particular artists that I look up to or who I draw inspiration from keep changing. Though Kandinsky's wild colors and Matisse's Fauvist works always call out to me. I'm also learning to appreciate more our national artists like HR Ocampo and Edades. Then there are the contemporary street artists like the duo Herakut and artists that are featured in Hawaii's POW! WOW! scene. Most of my work is vibrant and nature-inspired, but I'm trying to get better at abstract, or at least, abstraction and portraits.
What has been your most touching or amazing moment you've experienced as an artist?
One of them happened when I went to Vietnam to paint a community mural with two friends. Originally, it was supposed to be just a large painting to fill up one of the walls of the Da Nang Cancer Hospital. But we decided to involve the young and elderly patients and the hospital volunteers in creating the artwork. We broke up the painting into tiny canvases so that different people could work on them, and in the end, it came together like a huge jigsaw puzzle to form a picture of lotus flowers. The hospital workers came up to us afterwards saying that the patients loved the activity, and were happy because it had taken their mind off their sickness and their treatments. That gave me much comfort, to know that we had alleviated some of their pain, even briefly.
If you were to make an artwork for anyone famous, who would that be?
I would love to do something for Anthony Bourdain. I know it sounds so off-tangent because he's a food writer, but there's something about his crass honesty in his writing that just gets me! I'd do it for free, so long as he takes me on one of his Parts Unknown trips, so that I can get inspiration. I'd love to make a series of artworks inspired by both food and travel.
What's next for you and your art?
I'm currently collaborating with the Philippine Embassy here in Singapore and DiLegno Gallery for the upcoming Art Trek 2016, an annual showcase of Philippine artists that reside here. This year's theme has to do with folklore, so I'm pretty excited to see how it turns out.
Photos property of Amanda Lapus- Santos