War N Freaks exhibit: Exploring outsider art

War, as JC Gonzales would put it, is an endless subject which began ages ago.

Unlike other artists who would rather showcase the wonders of humanity and the world, Gonzales, instead exposes the other side through his art expressing war, freaks, and war freaks.

Saturday, August 25, Gonzales graced the public with his artwork in his first ever solo exhibit at Abreeza Malls.

Luz Ilagan, former Gabriela Partylist Representative, and current DSWD Undersecretary graced the event and noted “(There is) one school of thought which says there is art for art’s sake. But, there is also another school of thought that says art is a reflection of life – what we see in art can also be seen in life.”

Gonzales says he conforms to what is called “Outsider Art” as his niche. He explains this form of art is influenced by what is happening and how the artist perceives the world around him.

In Gonzales’ reflection, humans are single-sighted despite having two eyes.

He said that while one may see what is in front, he or she can never see what is behind, simultaneously.

This is where his character’s concept is drawn from – a single-eyed freak.

Furthermore, Gonzales’s characters have no ears. According to him, this is because it is a reality that humans do not want to listen.

“I have looked for a character for the longest time but it is freaks which really got my interest,” Gonzales said.

“But as I was looking for a subject while doing my artworks, a war in Marawi happened in May last year,” he explained.

This is where he based his concept on war as his subject.

“This is an unending subject. And there are numerous of forms war. There is war on drugs, war on terrorism, and even in the online world,” he said.

Prior to the start of his exhibit, Gonzales played a 1971 song by Crosby, Stills, and Nash which was a commentary on the war in Vietnam in the 70’s.

“It is really war which precedes peace. I guess there should be war really before attaining peace,” Gonzales said.

However, he clarifies that his art is not propaganda but just an expression of how he sees his environment.

Meanwhile, one of the challenges that Gonzales faced along the way is the lack of avenue to showcase his art.

He finished his works in 2017, but it was only until last week that he graced the public with his wonders. And this is through the Bintana Art Gallery of Alex E. Alagon.

“This exhibit is powered by Bintana Gallery, a newly established company with a gallery at Victoria Plaza. Our vision is to help local artists here in Davao to have their exhibits – especially solo exhibits because for an artist, it is a big thing to have an exhibit,” Alagon described.

Gonzales even bared that he was hesitant to hold his exhibit because of the cost but it was Alagon who really pushed him.

Alagon said, “it is a fulfillment to an artist to have an exhibit,”

The Bintana Art Gallery has sponsored two solo exhibits and various group exhibits helping many emerging young artists.

“Most of the time, the venue is really the problem of artists. An artist should just be really doing art, but the problem is where to display it because we don’t have a gallery,” Alagon explained.

Meanwhile, Gonzales added that he is also keen in protecting his works against rampant plagiarism especially in social media. This is the reason why he puts texture to his paintings through acrylic and modeling paste.

Contrary to his vast interest in war and peace, Gonzales wants to protect himself from the chaos of the world brought by advanced technology. He confessed he has no cellphone and social media account and he does not intend to create one.

Artist JC Gonzales in his first solo exhibit

Artist JC Gonzales in his first solo exhibit

Alex Alagon of Bintana Art Gallery

Alex Alagon of Bintana Art Gallery

“I don’t want a messy life,” Gonzales said.