THE WEB JOURNAL OF JOHN RAY

Art Talk with Alex Niño and Hans Bacher

Posted in Comics, History, Movies, Photography, Seminars by J.R. Bumanglag on February 19, 2009

Check out more photos here!

It was a once in a lifetime chance and I just couldn’t let this moment pass. It was yesterday morning, when after I had arrived home from jogging, that I saw the date and long pondered what special event was supposed to take place. And then it just crashed over my head. This was the day of the Art Talk by Alex Niño and Hans Bacher at the College of St. Benilde SDA campus. I had to decide whether to go or not. Surely enough, I decided to go, since I had nothing better to do (except drawing practice of course).

I have long admired Alex Niño’s work, ever since I first saw his illustrations in the Philippine Comics Museum years ago. There have been no other artist like him, no art style would compare to his kind of vision. His art style completely changed my outlook as an artist, deftly picking off the kind of the one-sightedness in art that I once had. The principle in which he viewed art as a continuous change, an evolving organism, challenged the then standard mainstays of Alcala and Redondo. This time, I was going to see the living legend myself.

I left the house at about 4 pm, since the talk was going to begin at 5 pm. Luckily for me, it was only a 30 minute LRT ride to Vito Cruz, so I had ample time to get there. I also jumped at the chance of finally checking out the College of St. Benilde School of Design and Arts. It was sort of an opportunity to explore the high tech facilities they had for art students. So I arrived and was simply amused of the atmosphere in SDA. It was definitely a portal to another world, compared to Beato Angelico.

Alex and Hans

I entered the SDA Cinema and there he was, Alex Niño, seated beside Hans Bacher – who I had little knowledge about, but I would be interested later on. As I was waiting for the seminar to start, the hosts of the program invited the early birds to take autographs and sketches from the guests. Too bad for me though, I was too excited that I forgot to bring any pens or papers (which I really regret). Instead, I contented myself by observing how Alex drew. And he drew a lot of sketches, at least 10 before the talk began.

Alex Nino

The talk began as Alex and Hans introduced themselves. Hans Bacher is a production designer in the animation industry. He had met Alex in 1996, during the production of Mulan. Taking Alex in as a conceptual artist, along with another French artist (I think), this would culminate into collaboration for other various animation films. During this time, there was a presentation of conceptual artwork by Alex for Mulan in the background (of which I was definitely enjoying). You can check them out here and here (I wish I could post them here, but I can’t – copyright). Mang Alex also worked on Atlantis, Treasure Planet and The Emperor’s New Groove.

Sketch

Mang Alex, before he accepted the job at Disney, requested that he worked at 3am onwards. It was interesting and very relating actually, to know that he wanted to work alone, without distraction in the wee hours of the day. Hans would describe this as amazing because it only took him 9 hours to draw a conceptual board the size of about 2 x 3 feet. And that’s a feat! He would see Mang Alex start at the upper left corner of the board and arrive hours later, catch him finishing the piece at the bottom right corner.

Fans

Mang Alex also described his influences as an artist during the 60’s and 70’s. One of the most memorable moments he reminisced was him drawing on beach sand when he was 7 years old. He had grown up admiring Francisco Coching, Alfredo Alcala and Nestor Redondo. Wanting a piece of the action, he nurtured his art skills, dropping out of pre-med in FEU and pursuing a career in art. Accepting the fact that he couldn’t possibly reach the level of his influences, he created his own style, a whole new level.

Alex B/W

There was break, another sketch session and we moved on to the question and answer portion. I was jittery, trying to catch the write words. It was at this time that my heart beat rose significantly and I thought I was going to die. The first question I threw was about how Mang Alex dealt with rejection during his time showing his work to different editors. It was all about a challenge to him, a motivational factor which he used to drive him further as an artist. The second was about their artworks and projects, if we could see them somewhere online. Mang Alex had none, aside from some collections of his artwork by other artists. But he did give his email address. Thank you po!

It was at this time that the show was almost over. The last line of sketches was slowly cutting itself off. It was at this time that I noticed that Carlo Pagulayan was also there, along with his colleagues (of which would compose of the organizers of Komikon). I overheard some of them, talking about the Komikon, that it was to be held at SM Megamall. There were also urging Mang Alex to exhibit his works and have a grand reunion of his generation of Filipino artists. Mang Alex also brought samples of his artwork, a 14 page spread of his current project Dead Ahead. Yes, you didn’t read it wrong, FOURTEEN PAGE SPREAD! All of us were astounded to the level of composition and rendition that he gave to that work.

Alex and Carlo

Alex Nino and Carlo Pagulayan

All in all, it was a great experience having attended the seminar. I learned a lot of new things. I’m thankful that Liraya of CSB-SDA organized this event. I have no regrets now that I chose to go.

Check out more photos here!

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6 Responses

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  1. one1more2time3 said, on February 19, 2009 at 11:17 am

    that’s a great article, thank you for giving everybody who could not attend this opportunity at least to read about it. I enjoyed it a lot as well and – we might do events like this more often, as alex is planning to come back to his home country more often.
    hans

    • jorabu said, on February 19, 2009 at 7:36 pm

      Thanks for giving my article a read. I enjoyed the art talk very much. I definitely learned a lot. More power to you and Nino’s work! Kudos!

  2. alex nino 1 « One1more2time3’s Weblog said, on February 19, 2009 at 11:21 am

    […] of feb.18 – here is a very nice article about this event… Possibly related posts: (automatically […]

  3. The Cinema Hub said, on February 19, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    sounds pretty cool

  4. tacy said, on February 21, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Salamat po sobra sa pag post nyo netoh! I was also there, salamat lang po tlga, atleast now may summary na at maipapakita po namin sa ibang mag-aaral kung ano ang nangyari sa event!

    God bless!

    • jorabu said, on February 22, 2009 at 1:54 am

      No problemo! Are you from CSB SDA by any chance?


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