Town & Country (Philippines) - - T & C - By Pierre a. Calasanz

Meet arts pa­tron Trickie Lopa, in­te­rior de­signer C. Mark Wil­son, and en­tre­pre­neur Karen san­tos, who are in­spir­ing ex­cite­ment and mak­ing waves in their re­spec­tive in­dus­tries.

Later this month, the lat­est edi­tion of Art in the Park gets un­der­way at the Jaime Ve­lasquez Park in Makati. Billed as the coun­try’s most sig­nif­i­cant af­ford­able art fair, it’s a pet project of Trickie’s, one of the driv­ing forces be­hind Philip­pine Art Events In­cor­po­rated, with her part­ners Dindin Araneta and Lisa Ong­pin Peri­quet. In the past decade, this pow­er­ful trio has worked be­hind the scenes to in­flu­ence the way we view, in­ter­act with, ap­pre­ci­ate, and pur­chase art. Then, in a few months, the sec­ond edi­tion of their lat­est baby, The None­such: Fine Col­lectibles and Rar­i­ties, will take place, and be­fore you know it, it’ll be time for the ic­ing on the cake, Art Fair Philip­pines 2019. Can you imag­ine how things would be if Trickie had stayed in the fash­ion re­tail in­dus­try?

Be­fore be­com­ing a force in art cir­cles, Trickie was in­volved in fash­ion, help­ing run Or­ange Juice (a di­vi­sion of Joanna Ong­pin Duarte’s Big & Small Com­pany) in­volved in cloth­ing for chil­dren and pre-teens, “do­ing every­thing from de­sign to run­ning the stores,” she says. It was her life from 1998 to 2011; you could say fash­ion was her big first love.

A Man­age­ment Eco­nom­ics grad­u­ate of the Ate­neo de Manila Univer­sity, Trickie’s ini­tial plunge into the art world was in Lon­don, where her doc­tor hus­band Randy was do­ing his fel­low­ship in the mid-1990s. “My in­ter­est was sparked by liv­ing there,” she says, re­call­ing those days with fond­ness. “I went on a year-long mu­seum-vis­it­ing bender, and I also took short cour­ses in art his­tory at the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum.” At around the same time she met Lisa—Joanna’s sis­ter—who also hap­pened to be liv­ing in Lon­don. Per­haps sens­ing Trickie’s grow­ing ob­ses­sion with art, Lisa in­vited her to join the Mu­seum Foun­da­tion of the Philip­pines, an of­fer which Trickie con­sid­ered when she re­turned to Manila.

Dur­ing her stint as the board sec­re­tary, Trickie helped dream up Art in the Park. “We needed to raise funds, and the fundrais­ing ac­tiv­i­ties were al­ways con­certs. I said ‘I’ll be damned if I have to sell an­other ticket,’” she re­calls, laugh­ing. “We needed a project for the sec­ond an­niver­sary of the Salcedo Mar­ket, which the Mu­seum Foun­da­tion set up, and so that whole thing hap­pened.” While all of this was go­ing on, Trickie was still in fash­ion re­tail, but she had be­gun to re­al­ize some­thing: “The art scene was the hobby, the main job was Or­ange Juice; and now, the hobby was be­com­ing the job.”

The dust would start to set­tle on her con­stant bat­tle with her pri­or­i­ties in 2011, when the Big & Small Com­pany was sold. There was a year-long tran­si­tion pe­riod where she stayed on as a con­sul­tant to the new own­ers; dur­ing this time that she co-founded Philip­pine Art Events, and started plan­ning for the in­au­gu­ral Art Fair Philip­pines. A highly stress­ful time, it was, in the end, highly re­ward­ing.

Six edi­tions later, Art Fair Philip­pines still sets the bar for lo­cal art events and re­mains highly chal­leng­ing to pro­duce, Trickie says, tak­ing at least 10 months to con­cep­tu­al­ize and pre­pare for. her group’s lat­est, the None­such, might not be on the same scale, but Trickie be­lieves there’s a lot of po­ten­tial. Mov­ing away from con­tem­po­rary art to fo­cus on na­tive crafts and art forms, the None­such reawak­ened a la­tent in­ter­est of hers. “I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in tribal art. The rea­son I de­cided not to pur­sue it is that I didn’t know where to turn for schol­ar­ship on par­tic­u­lar types of Philip­pine art. I wasn’t knowl­edge­able enough to start col­lect­ing se­ri­ously. Early in my col­lect­ing days, I was ex­posed to the con­tem­po­rary art scene, and it was eas­ier to get into that in depth. Be­cause of Art in the Park, I got to know the artists, I got to know the gal­leries. It was easy to talk to an artist, get to know what his art is all about.”

By or­ga­niz­ing the None­such, Trickie learned that a sim­i­lar vein could be tapped, from a sep­a­rate cir­cle. “It’s a dif­fer­ent cast of char­ac­ters. I re­al­ized that there is so much knowl­edge avail­able. So I started look­ing, got ex­posed to it more, and I got in­ter­ested in tribal art again.”

Even af­ter about a dozen years of se­ri­ous col­lect­ing, Trickie says she’s still learn­ing. Asked about how she de­vel­ops her eye, she says, “One must al­ways pos­sess cu­rios­ity and open­ness—to new places, new ex­pe­ri­ences, new peo­ple—in or­der to keep el­e­vat­ing one’s senses. The most cu­ri­ous peo­ple turn out the most en­gag­ing, they don’t get stuck in their com­fort zones, and thus, be­come ever more in­ter­est­ing.” Con­tin­u­ing this train of thought, she quotes the fa­mous art col­lec­tor, Charles Saatchi. “‘The more you like art, the more art you like.’ So the more you see things, the more you train your eye.”

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