vir­tual gallery

A VISIT TO Jappy Ag­oncillo’s In­sta­gram (@jap­pyle­mon) in­stantly lets you ap­pre­ci­ate his art. His paint­ings, il­lus­tra­tions, and mu­rals re­fine the spa­ces of Metro Manila

Scout - - LETTER FROM THE EDITOR - JAPPY AG­ONCILLO re­de­fines how we ex­pe­ri­ence art on the street and on our screens

with im­ages from our child­hood— from candy–col­ored an­i­mals, he­roes, to pop­u­lar celebri­ties like Sylvester Stal­lone and Bene­dict Cum­ber­batch. The viewer im­me­di­ately faces his sub­jects that are mostly pop cult icons and are ren­dered through bold out­lines from comic art, styl­ized com­po­si­tions of the street dis­ci­pline, and col­or­ing with hints of vec­tor il­lus­tra­tions.

Un­like other artists, this young mu­ral­ist didn’t get his big break from mount­ing art in galleries nor from get­ting rav­ish­ing re­views from es­tab­lished crit­ics. He’s a prod­uct of the in­ter­net and so­cial me­dia. “There’s a great need to get your art out on­line be­cause it’s a great new way to share art that can­not be made ac­ces­si­ble to many,” he shares.

In other words, the in­ter­net makes art ac­ces­si­ble and non­con­form­ing. Artists no longer need to be anointed by art crit­ics, the le­git­i­macy of art no longer solely at the mercy of their praise. Be­cause out there, the power to iden­tify and claim one­self as an artist— and equally the power to see, in­ter­pret, and dis­trib­ute art— has nally be­longed to the peo­ple. “ eo­ple now can dis­cover their ta­lent purely through the use of tech­nol­ogy and recre­ate some­thing they found cool on the in­ter­net,” he says.

The in­ter­net has a trans­for­ma­tive ef­fect on artists like him, “You al­low your­self to be in­spired by oth­ers and they let you be in­spired by their art all through your phone.” That’s why there’s a per­sonal level of fa­mil­iar­ity with his sub­jects be­cause they’re the im­ages we con­stantly search on­line: Aloha girls. Skulls. Wolves. Bat­man. Tu­pac. Nin­jas. Or Gogo Yubari. Or ablo milio sco­bar Gaviria.

“With all these [mo­bile] apps, you have all these places to get in­spi­ra­tion from,” he says. Jappy shares that there are times he would want to watch a street art doc­u­men­tary, or read about art his­tory only to nd out that the links lead to a frus­trat­ing dead end and a need to pay for the ac­cess. But this doesn’t stop Jappy from trawl­ing the in­ter­net for in­spi­ra­tion— he’s been able to ac­cess con­tent from Net ix and Spo­tify through his ayMaya, a pre­paid reload­able app that pro­vides a vir­tual Visa or Mastercard to pay on­line.

ayMaya also en­ables him to re­ceive pay­ments from his clients, whether they’re big busi­nesses or non- govern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tions. His work ap­peals to mil­len­ni­als who see street art as an ex­pres­sion of cool­ness, of lib­eral free­dom, and of un­re­strained cre­ativ­ity.

“Street art in Manila has been about bring­ing color to the gray of the city— both lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively,” Jappy says. “I’m very lucky to be an artist at a time when street art is so sought- af­ter, not only by cor­po­rate en­ti­ties but by the gen­eral pub­lic. It’s an amaz­ing time to be an artist now.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on ayMaya, visit­ Join the con­ver­sa­tion on­line by tag­ging ayMaya on Face­book, Twit­ter, and In­sta­gram at ayMayaOf cial. Get sup­port at ayMayaCares.

Jappy Ag­oncillo is known for his comic book style il­lus­tra­tions.

A col­or­ful mon­tage of pop icons led Jappy to break­ing the in­ter­net with his art.

Sun-kissed Jappy work­ing on a dream come true pro­ject for a mu­sic fes­ti­val.

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