Quaderno: Page Talk with Jaime Pacena II

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This National Arts Month, we highlight Filipino art through Quaderno's Page Talk—a platform where we converse with the extraordinary talents shaping the present and future of Philippine art.

Exploring possibilities that blossom from life experiences, Jaime Pacena II's oeuvre echoes a courtship between dreaming and wakefulness, chaos and order, life exploration and negotiation. He combines digital and traditional art to create visually dynamic paintings, unfolding permutations of his reflections and ideas on every canvas.

Dazed and Confused | acrylic on canvas (2020)

In today's Page Talk, Looking for Juan caught up with Pacena—a curator, visual artist, filmmaker, and educator—to talk about his artmaking and the role of the Filipino artist in today's uncertain climate.

What inspires/motivates you to create? 

"I think the practice itself is already embedded in me. I have loved doing art since I was a kid. As I grew older and matured in life, the process evolved, and the inspiration to create had developed to more complex discourses about life, including connection, discoveries, fascination, and experiences.

Living motivates me to do everything I do, and I don't see a barrier between the things I enjoy in my practice—artmaking, curation, teaching, and video production. Everything is a dynamic exchange of meaning. Big and small. Knowing that is an inspiration to me."

Maybe The Night | acrylic on canvas (2018)

What does your art represent? 

"Maybe the best way to say it is that my art is mainly introspective, reflecting myself. I cannot define my art in just one spectrum of thought. It directly represents the different emotional and mental phases I am in during creation.

Sometimes, I paint as a reflection of an idea or moment; sometimes, it is purely an act of self-expression. There are times when I hide my fears, hopes, and aspiration in what I create, and other times, it is my frustration with our world/nation."

Atapang Atao | mixed media on canvas (2013)

How can art influence change? 

"Art is not just about the final object—whether it is a painting, sculpture, music, or film. Art is also the process, the dialogue, the experience, the exchange, the colors, the movement, the tone, the vibration, the simple, the complex, and more. In this case, Art can influence in different ways. Change can be motivated by different intentions, understanding, and connection."

What's the role of Filipino artists in this time of misinformation, division, and pandemic?

"Be truthful in one's process and practice. Be vigilant and be aware. Be collaborative."

Inspired by Jaime Pacena II's art? Support Philippine art while you write with Quaderno by Jaime Pacena II, featuring four limited-edition notebooks designed in collaboration with the artist, created to find a renewed appreciation for Philippine art, probe ideas, and express yourself however you like.

Little By Little 1 & 2 | acrylic on 245 gsm acid-free acrylic block muse paper (2020)

A part of the proceeds from Pacena's Quaderno collection will go to book donations to children in disadvantaged communities in the Philippines in support of CANVAS' One Million Books for One Million Filipino Children Campaign.

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