Rooftops and vases
Nonnette C. Bennett
When plantitos and plantitas exceed their usefulness, there are now those who have made the vases their art expressions. This particular art addict has converted the rooftop of his building into his own gallery of vase art from artists. Deeper than what meets the eye, this is a snippet of the idea that is fed to the performer.
Eight-two-year-old Orly dela Cuesta has moved from canvas to vases for the moment in his constant pursuit of expressions of art.
Orly has contributed much of this love for paintings and admiration of the masters to Baguio in many ways. Perhaps, it is art and history in perfect meld, that describes what this art mission is about. To look at his home and to listen to him would be one continuous journey of interesting anecdotes of life that include Baguio stories and politics.
SomeGreek gods and goddesses adorn the vasesat his rooftop garden that is being prepared as a haven for studying and place to exercise for the ladies who board and lodge in his dormitory. He delights at the thought that one gets a soft breeze and a view of the mountains that surround the city while studying or exercising, in fact, he wants an office of his own to retreat to at any time here, too.
With plans of installing some solar panels to light the rooftop at night, this part would be useful for the college students for breaks or more conducive reviews. The most interesting thing about this dormitory is that Orly rewards those with academic honors throughout their course with free housing and a dinner treat. He delights in cooking some meals for the ladies. He said that the moment their grades go down, they must leave his home. But this is beside the point.
The artist’s eye and mind belongs to Orly who dreams of these images and the rest is transferred to the hands of the executioner. He is able to describe what he wants to see on canvas to the painter who gives this some details that complete the interpretation. This is what happened with the Greek images that were spray painted on the plastic vases that have a smoother surface. Hedwig Roma, 42, is a visual artist who prefers to paint portraits, he says. This was the perfect match when he did the first vase with an image of Venus which inspired Orly to have different themes for the three swings cum gazebos that were constructed. The four flowerpot stands on the sides are strategic.
Greek and Roman mythology are not in my cup of tea and my memory of these characters are fleeting, particularly today when I searched for their images to match the names. Finding out how these goddesses lived opposite lives to the titles that they represent was saddening.
Again, that is beside the point.
The fine images of the goddesses on the vases tell you what a talented artist Wig is. Trapped in my memory of art classes in elementary and high school, I was so awed because I was stuck with the thought of tape, screen, toothbrushes, and watercolors. The art teacher instructed us about how the images come out with each color that you brush on the screen to make solid and light colors on the paper.
To my surprise, technology does what the toothbrush and screen did to the dots of colors on the paper. It would have been a treat to have Wig demonstrate the ease with which he makes the artwork on the vase but not in this trip. Instead, I caught him tattooing a client, his main occupation.
This tattoo artist who hails from Manila and started his portrait art in Recto, as he narrates it, was lured by his wife, Mary Ann, to do the work here. They opened a t-shirt and poster shop in Orly’s building until the art of personalized t-shirts and such ran out of fashion. This easily allowed Wig to adapt to tattoos, which is still the same visual art but with the skin as canvasand dyes as paint this time.
Similar to the work done with Orly, sometimes his clients come with pictures of what they want done on their skin, others who want to cover up old tattoos describe what they want done in detail and he finds a way to make these look original. He says that Orly knows where to find him and understands his artistic passion.
Aside from the visual artist, Orly has found Joie Gomez, his favorite young architect who just passed the board in September and is one of the studious spirits who passed through the halls of his dormitory.
Joie is the one who executed the dream building and structure on the Cuesta property as computer designs. The modern edifice that will adjoin the existing property will have a revolving restaurant at the top. The designs are done by Joie for now, who is also employed by Orly. She says that she dreams to see her design become a reality.
This article is but a fragment of what rooftops and vases was intended to say. The amazing stories can come with green architecture, tattooing, or the generous mission of Orly.
The father of Orly is one of the pioneers of the city who gave his life as a doctor to tending to more of the indigent patients.
For now, I leave the bits and pieces because there is no space for the rest of it.