Filmmakers explore Philippine street art

Sim Tolentino puts finishing touches to a mural

Sim Tolentino puts finishing touches to a mural

Although most street art is a legitimate form of expression, it is often labeled as vandalism.

Guided by this philosophy, two filmmakers set out to explore street art in the Philippines, examine its development and celebrate its potential as a popular form of visual art among young Filipinos.

“Street art allows artists’ voices, and the often economically disadvantaged communities they represent, to be heard,” said Filipino American filmmaker Austin Smith, who is collaborating with fellow filmmaker Kimberly Dryden on a multimedia project that would chronicle such art through a coffeetable book, a film and a website.

Manila has a vibrant and booming street art scenes that are just starting to be embraced by the public, said the filmmakers. It’s art that is highly accessible and egalitarian “because of its very nature: it’s on the street.”

The street painters see their work as a commentary on political and social issues, said the filmmakers, and they use public spaces to reach a wide audience. Two artists in particular caught the filmmakers’ attention: Rai Cruz, who is the leader of Cavity Collective, a Cavite- based street art group, and John Patrick Lopez Hernandez whose art is just meant “to make people smile.”

“Regardless of their motivations, these artists are articulate, talented, and have incredible stories to share,” said Smith and Dryden in a statement. They said two dozen street artists have agreed to participate in the multimedia project.

The duo visited New York this week to engage the support of the public through a fundraising effort. They spoke to various organizations to learn more about the community and “get a better sense of the audience we will be targeting,” said Smith.

To learn more about Street Art Philippines and to make a donation, visit the Facebook page here.

The jellyfish art of Lee Salvador

The jellyfish art of Lee Salvador

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