PAETE SCULPTOR, LUIS AC-AC IS ARTIST IN THE MAKING

The town of Paete in Laguna has long been known for its talented sculptors but it has yet to come up with a nationally recognized artist. Luis Ac-ac was nominated in 2009 for the “Iskultura” segment and is still in the running for the title and recognition. According to Ac-ac, it often takes many years before a decision is made, like perhaps a decade or so. Ac-ac grew up around woodworking shops. He narrated that as early as Grade 6, he would be sent by his parents to help out in surfacing work. Sculpting involves four steps, namely blocking, detailing, surfacing, sanding/varnishing. His customers now visit him in Paete and he can also do portraits for around P35,000. He would usually require four pictures: one front, two sides, and one back. He has done the bust sculptures of Cory Aquino and Ramon Revilla. In an exhibit at the Pinto Art Gallery last year, his buyers included Imee Marcos and Chavit Singson, according to Ac-ac. Back in 2008, he was also commissioned to do 16 murals depicting the history of the Filipino people that was used for the Philippine Fiesta at the San Francisco Civic Center. Ac-ac continues to this day to receive special assignments. At the moment, he is working on the face sculpture of the late Pope John Paul II to be used for his canonization in Rome. According to Ac-ac, the actual clothes of the pope will be used to dress his sculpture. PHOTO: FROM AC-AC'S GALLERY 3 NO.24-Luksong-Tinik ("Jump Thorns") is a native Filipino game.


PAETE SCULPTOR, LUIS AC-AC IS ARTIST IN THE MAKING


LUIS Ac-ac with his sculptures at the recent “Grace and Gratitude” exhibit of Paete’s visual artists at the St. Benedict Church in Laguna. Photo by Ma. Esther Salcedo Posadas, Contributor

DECEMBER 16, 2013 (INQUIRER) By Ma. Esther Salcedo - Posadas - The town of Paete in Laguna has long been known for its talented sculptors but it has yet to come up with a nationally recognized artist.

Luis Ac-ac was nominated in 2009 for the “Iskultura” segment and is still in the running for the title and recognition. According to Ac-ac, it often takes many years before a decision is made, like perhaps a decade or so.

Ac-ac grew up around woodworking shops. He narrated that as early as Grade 6, he would be sent by his parents to help out in surfacing work. Sculpting involves four steps, namely blocking, detailing, surfacing, sanding/varnishing.

He eventually went to the UP College of Fine Arts but only reached third year in college due to limited funds. It was around that time that he also apprenticed with the well-known Abueva but lasted for just a month.


SOMEONE once tagged him as the “Norman Rockwell of the Philippines.”
Photo by Ma. Esther Salcedo Posadas, Contributor

“Hindi ko kursunada ang abstract (I’m not fond of abstract art),” he recalls. Even then, he already had a sense of his own design philosophy that he describes as “conservative classic.”

By 1974, he would work for the advertising agency of Pete Roa (Cabrera, Cruz, Roa, and Associates) for about a year then moved on to work as book illustrator for other companies and eventually pursued freelance work as comics illustrator.

It was around 1978 to 79 when Ac-ac finally decided to stay in Paete and focus on woodcarving. He started sculpting religious figures such as the Sto. Niño and Sacred Heart and would sell to shops in Evangelista or Quiapo for approximately P190 to P250 a piece.


Map of Laguna showing the location of Paete

When the 80s came around, Ac-ac started to find interest in doing exhibits and thus he shifted some of his work into producing handcrafted sculptures of Filipino rural scenes, somewhat reminiscent of the themes used by the renowned painter Amorsolo.

His first one-man exhibit happened in the late ’80s at the Vizcarra Gallery in Mabini. He remembers how he felt as he arrived at the gallery, “Parang excited at nag-aalangan nang umakyat sa gallery kasi baka walang dumating. Nang umakyat, maraming bisita pala.” (Felt excitement and trepidation as I went up the gallery thinking that perhaps no one will come. When I went up, I discovered there were many visitors.” According to Ac-ac, his works were practically sold out on the first day.

From 1987 to 1997, Ac-ac did regular exhibits (every other year) with Gallery Genesis at SM Mega Mall. During a chat in the late ’90s with his former UP Professor, he received an advice.

“Puwede ka nang hindi mag-exhibit dahil may pangalan ka na. (You can already stop doing exhibits because you already have a name.)” Ac-ac continues that he took the advice to heart and has chosen to do occasional exhibits only such as his recent display at the St. Benedict Parish Church in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.


PHOTO: FROM AC-AC'S GALLERY 3 NO.24: Luksong-Tinik ("Jump Thorns") is a native Filipino game.

His customers now visit him in Paete and he can also do portraits for around P35,000. He would usually require four pictures: one front, two sides, and one back. He has done the bust sculptures of Cory Aquino and Ramon Revilla.

In an exhibit at the Pinto Art Gallery last year, his buyers included Imee Marcos and Chavit Singson, according to Ac-ac. Back in 2008, he was also commissioned to do 16 murals depicting the history of the Filipino people that was used for the Philippine Fiesta at the San Francisco Civic Center.

Ac-ac continues to this day to receive special assignments. At the moment, he is working on the face sculpture of the late Pope John Paul II to be used for his canonization in Rome. According to Ac-ac, the actual clothes of the pope will be used to dress his sculpture.

At the moment, he is also reconsidering doing more exhibits again. Perhaps it is a matter of time before the whole world discovers another Filipino talent and genius.

THE ARTIST, LUIS AC-AC AT THIS GALLERY

1952 - Born June 27 in Paete, Laguna, the fourth of six children of Damaso Galaboc Ac-ac, a government employee, and Emeteria Kagahastian Balandra who ran a small food stall. Paternal grandfather is Hermogenes Balandra, better known as "Tandang Mini", a fine furniture carver.

1959 - Started studies at Paete Elementary School. His drawings of still life and national heroes were often exhibited on the bulletin board.

1965 - Represented his school with two other Grave 5 classmates to an inter-school competition in Laguna. Gifted by his paternal grandmother Laureana Ac-ac with a set of five small chisels from the master blacksmith of Paete, Tandang Nano Madrigal.

1966 - Graduated from elementary with awards for Best in Work Education and as official school artist. Entered Sa Santiago High School. Employed part-time by his work education teacher Nestor Villarin who owned a woodcarving shop to do finishing work and make drawings to be executed in wood reliefs or sculpture-in-the-round by other carvers. The editors of their school paper often asked him to the covers of their school paper, "Cavalier".

1967 - Met Fred Baldemor who was already beginning to make a name for himself, and discovered that he shared the latter's admiration for the works of Francisco Coching, and famed comics illustrator.

1970 - Graduated from high school with enough money saved for college through comissioned posters, illustrations, logos, charcoal portraits and pen and ink illustraions.

1978 - Married Ma. Cecilia David Agbagala, also of Paete, Laguna, on April 15.

1980 - Son Michael born February 23.

1982 - Daughter Marygrace born January 11.

1988 - Organized 20 young Paeteños into the Paete Artists Group with Dr. Fermin Madridejos, a local dentist who also sculpts. The group exhibited in Paete and in nearby towns of Laguna. Met Tony Nazareno who funded materials needed to put up his first one-man show of 35 pieces at the Vizcarra Gallery in Ermita.

PLS GO TO LUIS AC-AC HOMEPAGE TO VIEW ALL HIS AWESOME WORK


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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