This week we spoke with Nemo Aguila, a street artist involved with Cavity Collective and Pilipinas Street Plan. His alien-like characters represent “a Pinoy sense of humor.”
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Nemo. Can you tell us a little bit about your background? How did you first get into art and what types of projects do you do?
I think when I took fine arts, it all started there. But back in childhood I remember drawing cartoons on paper and walls, then in high school i drew weird things too. I’m no good in figure-realistic sort of drawings, it’s just what comes into the head. Any art projects will do, like illustrations, custom toy stuff, making functional junk art, paintings, drawings and anything that I think i can do, I’d make it.
And what about street art?
Street art, I’d say its more of a passion. I love doing art on streets. It’s a self fulfillment. If only I had all the time and money to make art on streets… then why not? It’s like that. It’s always rewarding, every time, and we’re not talking about money here. I just enjoy making it.
Who or what has influenced your work? What motivates you?
Influences, too many to mention but as a whole my major influences would be the artists that i think resemble my art. I appreciate it more when I see artists doing works like I do, it’s like you’re not alone in this world. There’s a lot of things that motivate me but the thing that motivates me the most is a deadlines. I’m really productive when deadlines are near.
Haha. What messages are you trying to convey through your work?
When it comes to painting, it conveys my experiences or random personal experiences in life, but I concentrate on the funny side of things. And it’s more likely to be a Pinoy sense of humor. It’s more for entertainment.
That’s great! On the other hand though, some have said your subject matter may be a little dark; what would you say to that?
Yes, i think it is a little dark, in a sense, and I always hear it from random people or friends. And it’s fine by me. Finally, I learned to accept the reality that my works are somewhat weird, but in early days when i heard it from people, it made me frown and ask myself, “is this what I want my art to be?”
How have you developed as an artist from back when you started to now?
I could say that I’ve learned a lot of things, growth and development of my craft. Now I take it seriously, but in a funny way. It’s like everyday is a learning experience. I tried to experiment with my works, making something new or something else.
Can you talk to me specifically about one of your favorite pieces and what it means?
It would be the character I make on streets, its name is BOCHOG. It’s just a funny looking 3 eyed neon yellow green monster. It’s like the shadow of myself expressing different kinds of feelings. Simply expressing myself, that is.
What has surprised you most about your experience in the Philippines as an artist?
The most surprising thing for me I guess is you make a lot of artist friends. It’s like a small world after all!
Do you have any big plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in a few years down the road?
Big plans? I hope I can paint large scale murals, have a solo art show in other country, or get a grant for art. That’s is also a dream of mine. I think I’ll still be doing art. Making art is my life.
Alright Nemo, thanks so much for talking with us! Best of luck with your work and please keep in touch!
-Interview by Kirsten Hutton