Subsequently growing from the changing artistic realm of NYC, Ernest has found his step in the local scene with showcases at Art Informal, Light & Space Contemporary, and UP Vargas. He’s also impressed the international stage with exhibits in Los Angeles, florida, Singapore, and Hong Kong. His fine Arts training and real world experience has brought about a passion that continues to evolve. from “The Line Wars,” where he drew the battles hidden behind everyday occurrences in ink, to “Invasion of Ona,” where he rendered a fictional planet under siege through rich hues of acrylic on paper, Ernest leaps forward this time by exploring the nature of enamel and drip painting. These results into characters that seem to be stepping out of the canvas or at least possess a more tactile quality. Ernest claims that this latest movement is something that he’s been planning to do ever since he conceived the planet Ona in his mind; mapping out its territory through his artworks. From inventive sculpture-like paintings to a graphic novel and a line of toys, his artistic flare is one that he keeps burning.
Hey, Ernest! How are you?
I’m good! In fact, my year is pretty packed, so I’m busy and should be more stressed than usual, but I’m excited. I’m currently working on new paintings for our group show this April at Altro Mondo, which are new portraits that I’m really excited about because I haven’t done portraits in a while.
We saw your works at Art fair Philippines and noticed that it’s a bit of a departure from your past work. I remember “The Line Wars,” and it’s a new direction for you yet still different from the others out there.I love this new direction. I’m glad I’m actually working outside my own box; not the box there, but my own. The whole point of being an artist to me is challenging yourself and trying to transcend from works you’ve done before. And every time Ido exhibitions, they’re vastly different from one another. I don’t show the same style and process in the next exhibition all over again. I’ve always compared exhibitions to a new rock album. You don’t want to be putting out albums with the same songs. You want to do a different tune, create an entirely new song.
Some artists tend to think of the audience first and ask, “Who am I talking to?” But sometimes it’s the opposite, like “I have this and I need to look for the audience that will respond to it.” Who do you think of first?
The people I know would appreciate it. I’m glad you were able to see the trajectory of my work and how it kind of evolved or changed, and I changed it drastically, but it still has a very distinct Ernest Concepcion to it. It’s such an unconventional process. That’s what I’m known for. I push the boundaries of painting by using materials that aren’t common.
Right now, I’ve been working with textured work and mixing my paint with plaster, glue, and enamel, creating this concrete texture to the painting, and that came out just because I’ve been playing with mediums and experiment. I never ask questions to friends, what works or not. I’d rather do it myself and see what happens.
When you think about the new style, does it just come to you? Or is it just something you saw yourself doing when you started?
I have no idea how this came out to be. Doing art in New York, my colleagues and I had to reinvent what we do to stand out from the pack. It’s such a difficult city to be recognized. You can’t be an amazing artist there if you don’t push yoru boundaries. Even if it’s such a competitive city, the support group there is not as individual as it is here. Here, everyone’s sort of on solo flight. I’m sure there are groups and cliques, but in New York, we also have our own clique and ended up becoming good friends who collaborate and talk about different materials.
I explore styles and techniques because that’s what being an artist is. You have to explore on your own dilemma. I like the idea of creating solutions for problems of my own making. There’s so much more fulfillment to it. I don’t want to be stuck in a comfort zone. As an artist, it’s impossible to be in a comfort zone. You won’t grow so you have to keep creating obstacles. There are always conflicts I want to make for myself, and I’ll find solutions for it.
By Nicole Nequinto
Interview by Olivia Estrada