A Stroke of Genius: ‘Loving Vincent’ Film Review

November 6, 2017 at 9:38 AM | Posted in Art, Film Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment
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To create a hand-painted, animated feature film using the style of Vincent van Gogh would seem an impossible task but Loving Vincent successfully did just that. The film Loving Vincent sets itself apart from any animated movie by being the world’s first fully painted feature film.

When I first saw the trailer of this film, I was immediately blown away. The fact that this movie is fully made from 66,960 oil paintings hand-painted by artists from across the globe is a feat in itself. While I don’t know much about Vincent van Gogh or all of his work, I’ve always loved his “Starry Night” painting. I’m also a fan of Impressionist/post-Impressionist art so this added to my curiosity of watching the film.

Loving Vincent is set a year after van Gogh’s death in 1890 and tells the story of a postman named Armand Roulin tasked to deliver a final letter from van Gogh to the painter’s brother Theo. What would be Armand’s simple journey to Auverse-sur-Oise in France ends up being a retelling of the last days of van Gogh. While in Auverse-sur-Oise, Armand gets curious and decides to investigate the death of van Gogh.

What is amazing about this film is the fact that they used some of van Gogh’s famous works as part of the story such as “The Night Café,” “Café Terrace at Night,” and of course “Starry Night.” The characters are also based from van Gogh’s paintings like the portraits of Armand and Joseph Roulin, Adeline Ravoux, Dr. Gachet, “Girl in White,” and “Marguerite Gachet at the Piano.”

Photo credit: mymodernmet.com

While the ending isn’t fulfilling and feels anti-climactic, the movie presents a somber and melancholic tone that captures the painter’s struggles with mental illness. But this also comes in contrast to the vivid colors of the paintings which the painter is known for. The flashback scenes are done in black and white sketches and in some scenes look almost like a film noir. The end credit is scored aptly with the classic Don McLean song, “Vincent.”

Loving Vincent is a visually stunning film worth watching, especially if you love art.

A World of Pure Imagination

February 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM | Posted in Art, Lifestyle | Leave a comment
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paintings-from-galerie-stephanie

Paintings from Galerie Stephanie

Art Fair Philippines just ended its annual run this week, and I’m glad that I was able to go this year. I missed the Art Fair last year and it’s a good thing that my friend Jess alerted me of the fair this year or otherwise I would’ve likely missed it again. Jess and I decided to check out the Art Fair this weekend.

weena-art-fair-2017

As expected, there were long lines again at the entrance to the fair. The venue was the same every year; it’s at The Link beside The Landmark mall in Makati. The art galleries were located at three different floors and Jess and I made our way through the enthusiastic crowd.

"The Oneiric Time Piece" by Marc Aran Reyes

“The Oneiric Time Piece” by Marc Aran Reyes

I was a bit annoyed that some of the galleries at the fair were just advertising displays from major sponsors of the event. To me they were like in-your-face ad campaigns and kind of ruined the artsy atmosphere at the fair.

jess-weena-at-art-fair-phils-2017

But compensating for that were a massive set of galleries teeming with works of art from Filipino contemporary artists and a few from foreign artists. There were just so much beauty and creativity at the fair that Jess and I were simply awed by the amazing pieces. From classic canvas paintings, surreal sculptures to pop art and quirky art installations, there was something for every one at the fair.

"Rise to Heaven, Fall the Sky, or Hover in Between" by Geraldine Javier

“Rise to Heaven, Fall the Sky, or Hover in Between” by Geraldine Javier

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As always, I’m attracted to paintings so I lingered on those pieces that I found particularly interesting. I was intent on admiring some of the pieces that there were times that Jess and I would wander apart from each other and we would be lost in the crowd. But we managed to find each other after a while.

"Humani Machina" by Daniel dela Cruz

“Humani Machina” by Daniel dela Cruz

"Blood Angel" by Suzann Victor

“Blood Angel” by Suzann Victor

It’s a great feeling to go to the Art Fair with someone who shares the same enthusiasm in art as I do. It was my second time to the fair but it was Jess’ first and we both enjoyed our time there.

"Balance of Humanity" by Anton del Castillo

“Balance of Humanity” by Anton del Castillo

My Dubai Experience

September 7, 2015 at 10:00 AM | Posted in Art, Food and Dining, Lifestyle, Shopping, Travel | 1 Comment
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The courtyard at Majlis Gallery

The courtyard at Majlis Gallery

Six months ago, if anyone told me I’d be traveling to Dubai I wouldn’t have believed him. But last August, I found myself packing my bags and heading off to Dubai for a month-long (well, almost) business trip. I’ve never been out of the country so imagine my anxiety just before I left for Dubai. Considering the fact that I’m going there alone for work didn’t lessen my anxiety. But after a few days of staying there, I gradually settled in comfortably.

Work-wise, my experience while I was in Dubai wasn’t that fantastic. There was so much work to do that I was always stressed out. I barely had time to eat. I was exhausted by the end of each day. My only consolation were the weekends when I got the chance to see the sights and explore the city.

XVA Art Hotel & Cafe

XVA Art Hotel & Cafe

mint & lemon juice with quinoia & zucchini kofta at XVA

mint & lemon juice with quinoia & zucchini kofta at XVA

Speaking of the city, my visit in Dubai came in an inopportune time. It’s the middle of summer there so the weather is scorchingly hot and humid. But being an excited traveler that I was and eager to explore, I bored the heat and traipsed my way to the Dubai Museum and the art galleries.

I had such a fun time at the art galleries in Al Fahidi (formerly known as Bastakiya). The art pieces from various and international artists were just amazing! Of course I’m talking about the art exhibits in Majlis Gallery and XVA Art Hotel and Cafe – two of the most popular art galleries in Dubai.

dhow boat

Weena aboard the dhow boat

me aboard a dhow boat at night

I also had the chance to try some of the local cuisines. Some I liked, some I didn’t. I particularly loved the kibbeh, kofta, falafel, and the hummus dip. But I absolutely fell in love with their famous mint lemonade (or mint and lemon juice)! It’s what I usually order every time I dined out.

Weena & Uncle Sanny on dinner cruise

My uncle who was based in Bahrain came to visit me on my third week and we explored the rest of the city together. We had a dinner cruise aboard a dhow boat and sailed along the Dubai Creek.

Weena_At the Top

And of course, my visit to Dubai wouldn’t be complete without going to the city’s two most recognizable attractions – the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab. The Burj Khalifa is currently the tallest building in the world, standing at 828 meters high and having over 160 stories. It’s also the same building that Tom Cruise scaled in the movie, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.

Weena in At the Top, Burj Khalifa

me at the observation deck in Burj Khalifa

Weena in Burj Khalifa observation deck

Weena & Uncle Sanny inside Burj Khalifa

My uncle and I were able to go inside Burj Khalifa and got to see the spectacular views from the 124th and 125th floors of the building – the observation deck At the Top. True enough, the elevators were super fast! I think it took us only a minute or two to reach the 124th floor.

Weena at Dubai Mall overlooking Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa at night

Burj Khalifa at night

Weena with Burj Khalifa at nightBut perhaps to the general public, the most recognizable icon of Dubai is the Burj Al Arab – the world-famous building in the shape of a sail. Unfortunately though, my uncle and I weren’t able to go inside Burj Al Arab. Because you’re only allowed to go in if you have a reservation in one of the building’s restaurants. And to dine in one of the restaurants there was too expensive! So my uncle and I just contented ourselves with taking photos of the building while we were at the Jumeirah Open Beach. The beach was within the vicinity of Burj Al Arab and has a perfect view of the building.

Burj Al Arab

Burj Al Arab

Weena with Burj Al Arab in background

We also visited the popular souks in Deira, particularly the spice and gold souks. The spice souk had rows and rows of different spices in splashes of vibrant colors. It’s simply visually stunning. Various teas and nuts were also on display. I had the chance to visit the textile and garment souk in Al Fahidi before my uncle arrived in Dubai. There were so much to buy there – from local and traditional clothes, pashminas, parasols, to bags, shoes, rugs, and souvenir items.

Weena in spice souk in Deira

me at the spice souk in Deira

textile souk in Al Fahidi

textile souk in Al Fahidi

But while the souks offer shoppers great bargains, the two biggest malls in Dubai provide the wealthy with the most high-end stores that they could find. The Dubai Mall, which is adjacent to the Burj Khalifa in Downtown Dubai, is one of the largest malls in the world and boasts of having a collection of global brand names – from Armani, Dior, Hermes, Louis Vuitton, to Versace, Christian Louboutin, Ermenegildo Zegna, and many others. My uncle and I practically got lost while we were inside the mall.

Weena at Dubai Mall

me outside Dubai Mall

Another mall we visited was the Mall of the Emirates. It’s a bit smaller than Dubai Mall but also holds the same global brands. I actually prefer the interior design and architecture of Mall of the Emirates than the Dubai Mall mainly because of the former’s use of traditional, Islamic architecture, which I find really gorgeous.

My friends and coworkers kept telling me that I’m really lucky to have been given the opportunity to visit Dubai. I guess they’re right. Work aside, my experience in Dubai was one that I will never forget.

Stepping into the Art World

February 9, 2015 at 9:00 AM | Posted in Art | Leave a comment
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Art Fair Philippines 2015

I’ve been wanting to go to the annual Art Fair Philippines but never had the chance to do so in the past years. But thankfully, I was able to go last weekend. Since I had free time and the venue was only near where I live (it’s at The Link in Makati), I decided to drop by and check out the artworks of Filipino contemporary painters and sculptors and other Asian artists.

the crowd at Art Fair Phils. 2015

selfie @ Art Fair Philippines 2015I admit that I’m not very knowledgeable when it comes to contemporary artists and the art scene in general. But I’ve always been fascinated by art and can appreciate a good painting when I see one. And I just thought that this year’s Art Fair Philippines would give me an opportunity to know these artists and their work.

It was my first time to go to the art fair so I was really excited. I was surprised by the long lines at the entrance. Art students, local and foreign enthusiasts, veteran artists and celebrities were there and mingled with the crowd. Upon entering I was kind of dazzled by the rows upon rows of galleries filled with works of art. At first I didn’t know where to start. There were just so many great artworks to admire. But I eventually made my way to the nearest gallery.

Norberto Roldan's "Mestiza"       Stygian Season painting by JJ Zamoranos

           Norberto Roldan’s “Mestiza”                            “Stygian Season” by JJ Zamoranos

Paintings and sketches were my main interest. When it comes to painting, I always get drawn to splashes of colors and curious, vibrant shapes. I also love paintings that tell a story – whether they are shown on the surface or hidden behind the drawing. To me, admiring a painting is always a personal experience. It amazed me how some of the paintings at the art fair were so detailed and almost looked real. Among the paintings there, Norberto Roldan’s “Mestiza” stood out. It’s one of my favorite paintings there, as well as Romulo Galicano’s “The White Horse of St. Catherine,” a set of gothic paintings called “Stygian Season” by JJ Zamoranos, and Jeoja Zoleta’s large pastel painting. I wasn’t able to get some of the names of the paintings I love and the artists there but their work were equally gorgeous.

Painting by Jeoja Zoleta

Painting by Jeoja Zoleta

 

There were also several art installations and sculptures there. My favorite by far was the set of Alice in Wonderland-inspired metal sculptures by Daniel Dela Cruz. Called “Curiouser and Curiouser,” the Alice in Wonderland sculpture set were a crowd favorite, attracting many visitors. Aside from these, I also love Derek Tumala’s “Sacred Geometry” simply because it looked so futuristic and out of this world.

Alice in Wonderland sculpture by Daniel Dela Cruz

Alice in Wonderland sculpture by Daniel Dela Cruz

  We're All Mad Here sculpture by Daniel Dela Cruz      If I Had a World of My Own sculpture by Daniel Dela Cruz
“We’re All Mad Here” by Daniel Dela Cruz        “If I Had a World of My Own” by Daniel Dela Cruz

I roamed the galleries for more than two hours – sometimes lingering on a particular painting or sculpture. I wanted to explore the other galleries on the upper floor but I was already too tired and my feet were killing me so I just went home. Coming out of the art fair, I was totally satisfied and glad that I actually made it this year. Here’s hoping that I will be able to go again next year.

“Sacred Geometry” by Derek Tumala

 

"The White Horse of St. Catherine" by Romulo Galicano

“The White Horse of St. Catherine” by Romulo Galicano

For more photos of art pieces from the Art Fair, check out my board on Pinterest.

 

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