Kindergarten doodles, distorted toy images, dripping paints in nursery room colors, and things from childhood are what one immediately notices in Christian Tamondong’s works in his one-man show billed Whimsy’s Park at Gallery Nine in Mega Mall few years ago.
“There is character,” said a viewer. And she was right.
Tamondong refuses to look at others work when preparing for a show. Any thing may catch his fancy. He, however, admits Francesco Clemente, whose explicit works Filipinos may not readily accept, tops his list of artists he admires. In a way, Clemente has influenced him. But for inspiration, he draws it from Basquiat, a black graffiti artist.His fascination for these artists has helped him come up with a theme that veers away from a local flavor which he quickly dismisses as colonial mentality.
For Whimsy’s Park, it is simply about childhood sentiments and memories. “Picnic”, the centerpiece of the show, reflects a “salo-salo”- a gathering in a park amidst differences, he fondly relates. The prominent fresh paint drips are essential in allowing a sense of freedom that Christian always sees in children when obsessed with colors. His colors, evident in anyone’s childhood, bring one to a time warp making him feel a juvenile once more.When asked if Whimsy’s Park is his childhood, he kept mum. Again, he referred to it as anyone’s childhood but with a smile, he lamented on how fast a community is devoured by urbanization that there is almost no Green left.
There is a feeling of relief with this second solo exhibit since he was able to convey his repressed sentiments. They were both joyous and melancholic since he believes “an artist has no stable emotions; he can be happy for a moment then down for the next.”
His first show at the Drawing Room is simply expressive for he simply wants people to know him as an artist continuously experimenting with style and everything. “My whimsical, somewhat cartoonish work, springs from my fascination with colors and shapes. I simply aim to capture life’s truth and fancy – calm and chaos, love and hate, thus imparting fun and humor.” The ambiance of the Boulevard, public plazas and game arcades are where he gets them.
A character he truly is. At first glance, one mistakes Tamondong for a band player – cool and hipped. He started out as a greeting card artist and later found himself winning in the centennial and millennium PLDT-DPC Visual Art National Competitions and the Art Association of the Philippines (AAP) Annual Art Competition. These feats, however, were not the only parts of the equation that made him an artist. With additional dedication and discipline, Tamondong views his art on canvas as a continuing process and it doesn’t stop at Whimsy’s Park.