The artist’s relationship with the brush becomes a parallel journey into his own soul as he hopes to master the form of the fleeting.
A self-confessed rain lover, Jay Virina does not describe his art as traditional; and everyone who has seen a piece or two would easily agree. While most artists his contemporary are driven by pressure and market demands, his works are often characterized by uncompromising production values.
“People describe my art style as realism—sometimes they even refer to it as hyper-realism,” Viria says. “But I guess it depends on my mood at the time I create them. There are pieces I create in which I get too rivetted at making every square inch as realistic as I can. Other times, I just let myself be free and let my emotions take control of my brush strokes.”
Although his degree in painting from the University of the Philippines-Diliman, predisposes him to observe the things he had learned from some of the institution’s most creative souls,Virina still manages to be free in terms of his chosen aesthetic. “I am not too conscious about my technique and I just apply everything I learned about painting,” he continues.
There was a long dry spell during the first half of the year and the rainy season came in a little late—much to his dismay. Yet, the pluviophile in him remained hopeful about the arrival of the wet season, and once it did, he knew he would be in his element in no time.
“I like making my pieces as visually realistic as possible, to have the viewer transported; mentally and emotionally drawn into the cold, rainy world that my paintings show,” Virina says. “I believe it gives more dimensions to my art.”
Recently, he staged a one-man show at The Art District. Located inside the storied edifice Calvo Building built in 1938, along the equally historical Escolta Street, this boutique art gallery is committed to reinstate the district’s former glory as a cultural and taste destination of the inspired Manila.
“The Art District Gallery is one of the newest players in the ever growing local art scene,” Virina shares. “It only opened early this year with a successful, sold-out maiden group exhibit in which some of the great artists of this generation have participated.”
Because of its location, Virina points out, guests get to have this nostalgic feel, which is a perfect complement for viewing art.
“There is a sense of creative energy surrounding the area since the building also houses the Escolta Museum as well,” he explains. “I didn’t have any second thoughts when they asked me to do my fourth installment of the Pluviophile series in the gallery. It was an honor for an artist like me.”
While it may be seen as irrelevant by some in these unprecedented times orchestrated by a microscopic foe, art has the power to convey messages and conjure emotions. Artists like Virina would want to keep the public fighting by offering visual representations of beauty.
As inspirations take on a tangible image, the future begins to take shape. “We all know how important art is in our lives and its role to society. It has been discussed since time immemorial,” Virina says.
Bottomline is, we are all naturally artistic, the artist emphasizes. “We’ve all learned how to draw and paint in colors long before we learned how to read and write. We are surrounded by art,” he elaborates.
Virina also lauds the efforts of both local galleries and fellow artists to provide art to the people in these trying times, not only to keep the art scene alive, but to also fuel hope in humanity.
His art aims to capture the beauty of the rain and make people understand how each drop of the aqueous precipitation makes him happy. With every masterpiece, he wants the public to see him as the pluviophile who used his art to share the emotions, stories, and memories he experiences with the rain.
Photos by DONATO NESPEROS