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“Art is a way of discovering the beauty of who we are within and the greatest that we will be.”

From a Filipino Classroom to Ottawa’s Art Scene

Joejene C. Santos is a Filipino artist who currently resides and practices in Ottawa, Canada. Joejene’s journey in the arts began with the completion of a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts in 1996 in the Philippines, a milestone that set the groundwork for his future artistic aspirations.

Post graduation, Joejene welcomed a diverse array of professional roles, which included stints as an art teacher, a children’s workshop facilitator, a graphic designer, and even a theme park artist in the vibrant city of Dubai, UAE. Across each of these roles, Joejene pursued a relentless mission to refine his craft and to establish himself as a recognized full-time artist.

A significant shift in Joejene’s life occurred in 2006 when he, along with his family, emigrated to Canada. This move, while bringing about its own set of challenges, also unfurled a wealth of enriching experiences. It was four years later, in 2010, that Joejene found himself answering an “Open Call For Artist” displayed on a community billboard. Underpinned by the unwavering support of his family, Joejene embarked on a profound path of self-expression, driven by his intuitive understanding of art.

This new chapter in Joejene’s artistic voyage was inaugurated by the creation of 10 abstract paintings, which earned enthusiastic praise from a leading art organization. This triumph not only sparked a resurgence of his passion but also heralded the dawn of a continuous quest of self-expression through his enchanting works of art.

Joejene: Unveiling Humanity’s Beauty through Abstract Art

Embracing the belief that art serves as an introspective journey, Joejene perceives it as a conduit to unveil the inherent beauty of humanity. This conviction profoundly fuels his creative approach, which involves layering paint as a representation of his emotional state, cherished memories, and self-perception. Joejene’s works exhibit a nuanced balance, concealing less desirable aspects whilst highlighting elements that resonate with his personal evolution.

Art has left an unforgettable imprint on the tapestry of Joejene’s existence. His early years were characterised by a penchant for drawing, an early indicator of his nascent creative potential. Even though he briefly ventured into Engineering at the wish of his parents, the magnetism of his innate passion was too potent to resist. Consequently, he was irresistibly pulled back to his original ardour – art.

With the acquisition of a Fine Arts degree, Joejene embarked on his professional career, initially as a realist painter. His preliminary works primarily revolved around societal realism and religious iconography, even meriting him the honor of mural commissions. However, the creative winds of change were never stagnant for Joejene. In due course, his artistic exploration took a turn towards abstract art, significantly inspired by the influential Masters of Impressionism and Abstraction.

The Daily Dance: Balancing Creativity and Reality in Expression

Joejene’s artwork is known for its unique modern abstract style. It’s a blend of planned and spontaneous elements, inspired by his youthful rebellion against societal rules. A common story that symbolizes his artistry is how he would mess up his perfectly arranged hair, a counteraction to his mother’s careful grooming efforts. This rebellion is reflected in his art as he pushes against conventional beauty standards by including disorder. However, he skillfully balances this chaos in his work.

His daily routine is organized to inspire his creativity. Each morning starts with quiet meditation and exercise, followed by a simple breakfast while appreciating the natural scenery from his home. Everyday tasks like cooking help keep him grounded, stopping him from being fully consumed by his innovative thoughts. The calming sounds of classical and meditative music accompany him during his art creation, helping him stay focused on the process.

Joejene carries an enduring motto in his heart that fuels his creative fires even amidst potential distractions: “Keep on painting because it makes me feel alive.” This personal axiom constantly acts as a beacon, illuminating his path and guiding him toward his destiny.

Joejene: Influences, Innovations and Insights

Joejene’s trajectory has been significantly shaped by numerous legends in the art world. Revered masters like Kazimir Malevich, Piet Mondrian, Joan Miro, Pablo Picasso, and Willem De Kooning stand as the north stars guiding his journey. Two instances, in particular, proved to be crucial in moulding his artistic sensibilities. Picasso’s Bull, a seminal work, ignited Joejene’s sense of wonder, engendering a profound appreciation for the beauty that lies in the abstract. Concurrently, a seemingly mundane observation of house painters priming a wall served as an epiphany, unveiling to him the elegance inherent in the balance and harmonious motion of everyday actions.

The preferred medium of expression for Joejene is acrylic paints. Their versatility and the convenience of a rapid drying time makes them ideal for his vibrant compositions. Ever the innovator, Joejene doesn’t limit himself to a single toolset. He complements his primary medium with a varied assortment of materials including spray paint, pastels, oil sticks, crayons, pencils, and markers, ensuring his work is continually diverse and engaging.

Presently, Joejene has embarked on a new path, channelling his formative years into a captivating series of artworks. Among these are “Kids Write On Walls,” “Childhood Art Nostalgia,” and “White Primed” – all are projects rooted in nostalgia and introspection. Joejene is eagerly anticipating the opportunity to showcase these series in forthcoming solo or group exhibitions, where his unique perspective on childhood recollections will be laid bare for the world to admire.

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