The New Guard: Pia Reyes on the New Landscape of Philippine Art

Vinyl on Vinyl showcases modern popular art suitable for the gallery or the home. By Giancarla Espinosa

Pia Reyes (inset), together with Gaby dela Merced, established Vinyl on Vinyl to showcase contemporary art

Luna. Joya. Kiukok. These names are associated with Philippine art. But, in recent years, the local art scene has welcomed contemporary art that has little in common with aesthetics’ of the old masters. It is not known for elegant brushstrokes or idyllic landscapes, but it is just as significant.

At the forefront of this movement is Vinyl on Vinyl, located at La Fuerza Compound in Chino Roces, Makati. It is a venue for art, designer toys, and music and features modern-day pop culture artists. Pia Reyes of Vinyl on Vinyl, a modern art gallery, says, “The goal is to provide a venue for modern-day pop culture artists to showcase their works of contemporary, pop surrealism, underground and street art.”

Showcasing artists

Pia has always been part of the creative scene. First, working in marketing for a popular clothing brand and then as a makeup artist. But, the idea of working with contemporary art happened by chance. The idea of starting the gallery happened while attending the San Diego Comic-Con in the United States. “We wanted to bring this type of art to the Philippines,” said Gaby dela Merced, co-owner of Vinyl on Vinyl. “We want to be able to showcase artists here and abroad.”

The term “pop art” was first used in the 1950s, to describe an art movement that began in Britain and the United States. It is called popular because it celebrated mundane items, like cans of soup in Campbell’s Soup Cans by Andy Warhol. It also made art more affordable, because it did not frown on the use of mechanical reproduction.

In the Philippines, contemporary art is thriving. Just last month, four artists—Pin Calacal, Renz Bautista, Anton Belardo, and Jonas Eslao—held well-received one-man shows in Vinyl on Vinyl. That same month, the gallery also participated in the Moniker Art Fair, the largest urban and contemporary art fair in the world. The gallery brought to New York City the works of local artists Kobusher, Reen Barrera, Wyndelle Remonde, and Chalk Zaldivar, and artist/curator Mojoko. “The local art scene is very vibrant,” Pia observes.

Investing in art, enjoying art

It is with this backdrop that more people can have access to a greater variety of art in their homes. Contemporary art, just like any artwork made by other artists, is an investment. Moreover, because of the emerging pop art scene, homeowners now appreciate modern artworks and use them—not just traditional art pieces—to decorate their home.

Homeowners, though, must remember that the art they invest in to decorate their home should be something well-made and more importantly, something that they like. In the book Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home, author Carrie McCarthy writes, “Finding your decorating style depends on knowing what you love at the gut level.”

Pia echoes this sentiment. “Art is meant to be seen, no matter what kind of art it is. Don’t hide it in a closet because you’re afraid it will be damaged. Place it in a location like the living room or an entryway so you can always see and enjoy it.”

Popular contemporary art is more inclusive because there is something for everyone, without being constrained by the usual definitions of what art is. This creative freedom means that it is more adaptive to being enjoyed. Art from modern artists can look just as suitable in condos in BGC or anywhere else, as they are in a gallery like Vinyl and Vinyl. To find the best property for you and your beautiful art pieces, click here.