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
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 www.paymaya.com. 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.