First off, welcome and thank you for dropping by! This site attempts to bring together all works I have documented from 1980 onwards. That year represents, more or less, the time when I pretty much decided to pursue a visual arts career. I was in my junior year then as a visual arts major at the Philippine High School for the Arts (PHSA), which was established just three years before with a mission to train a select group of young scholars from all over the country in a special secondary curriculum with a solid and thorough emphasis in the arts. Hence, in the following year, 1981, the school would graduate its first crop of students who would complete their four years there.
Upon graduation, I was fortunate to receive a merit-based college scholarship from the school’s foundress, then First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, along with artistic recognition from the Makiling Academy and Research Institute for the Arts (MARIA). The latter required the recipient to mount a one-person exhibition in a professional venue by the end of his/her sophomore year in college after which they would receive their Artist’s Diploma. I fulfilled that requirement in 1983 when ‘John Cinco: New Works’ was exhibited at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.
At this point, Prof. Virginia F. Agbayani, then Director of the Philippine High School for the Arts as well as the MARIA, welcomed my willingness to return and teach at my alma mater. I started as a visiting visual arts instructor at PHSA the following year while still pursuing my studies at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts (Diliman campus) in the BFA in Painting program. In 1984, I decided to reside at the National Arts Center amid the lush forests of Mt. Makiling, where PHSA was located, and did so until 1991. The intervening years proved to be quite productive artistically with a number of solo and group exhibitions mounted.
By 1991, with fellow PHSA alumnus, sculptor, and PHSA Materials instructor Gerry Leonardo already in Japan for a year on a Monbusho scholarship, I decided it was time to move on out of the sheltering confines of the mountain Shangri-La and pursue new challenges. Under the mentorship of the late Dr. Honrado Fernandez, then Dean of the U.P. College of Architecture, an erstwhile Monbusho scholar, and later to become Director of the PHSA, I was also able to garner a Monbusho Non-Degree Research Scholarship.
I left for Japan in April of ’91, studied intensive Japanese for six months at the Osaka University of Foreign Studies and moved on for further studies at the Department of Conceptual Art of the Kyoto City University of Arts for another year. Fortunately, Gerry was staying in Kyoto and his company made it easier for me to adjust to the Japanese culture and language. Alas though, I just could not last. After a year-and-a-half in Japan and with frequent visits to New York where my longtime girlfriend and PHSA alumna, Vicky Gomez, was able to obtain a working visa, I decided to give up Monbusho and move on once again—this time to NYC.
The first time I had applied for a US visa in Osaka the consular official turned me down, saying there were already too many artists in New York. Indeed. The first few years were difficult, what with the INS restrictions on dependents of working visa holders. Nevertheless, I continued to paint and looked for odd jobs. In 1995, I gained admission into the MFA Computer Art Department of the School of Visual Arts, spending the next three years learning a new tool, the computer, and using it for artistic purposes. However, I was also intent on acquiring skills that would help me obtain gainful employment while pursuing my artistic muse.
I was in the Telecommunications track in my first year but fearing I was going deeper into a fine arts direction involving installational projects, albeit now with high-tech tools that include video and electronics, which were not quite in my general plan, I switched to the Animation track the following year. What the animation students were doing had piqued my interest and I believed 3D modeling and animation had more in common with what I had pursued earlier in my career as a painter. The next two years would be spent learning UNIX on SGI workstations as well as Alias PowerAnimator and would eventually culminate in a thesis animation called ‘Senti’—a longing of sorts.
Fate, however, would not put me in the animation industry, which would have compelled us to relocate to California where the majority of 3D production studios where. So I opted to stay in New York instead and sought opportunities here. After all, our daughter Rain had just been born and her dad neeeded to find some real work. After two years of doing varied jobs—serving as a 3D graphics intern at PostPerfect/Cyclotron, as a website production and design intern at CarbonMedia, as a freelance production assistant and render wrangler at Nickelodeon Digital Animation Studios, even as a substitute teacher at a number of New York City public high schools, and as an adjunct faculty at different colleges in New Jersey and New York—I finally found a permanent position at Fairleigh Dickinson University, where I have been since 2000.
Since then, the range of work I have explored in the visual arts has expanded to include graphic design, with print-oriented projects comprising the bulk and a spattering of Web and 3D works here and there. The complexity and enormity of design tools, as well as the rate at which they change, continue to challenge. Design solutions are continually re-explored and re-evaluated. I continue, when time permits, to pursue personal explorations—projects free from commercial constraints.
I am thankful to all who have enriched and sustained my journey in the arts, especially my parents and siblings who never discouraged me from following what I believed to be my calling. To my wife, Vicky, and daughter, Rain, who were always there for me—day in and day out, and always had to put up with my quirks. To my mentors and colleagues who had showed me the way and never ceased to encourage me to carve a future in the arts—to all of you I maintain a debt of gratitude.
Committees (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
Curriculum (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
Events (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
Public Relations (Fairleigh Dickinson University)
Non-FDU Service Activities