Pete Velasquez, architect turned visual artist, is one of the more prolific artists in the country today, even during the pandemic. Known for his idyllic scenes of the country and her maidens, in drawing and painting, Velasquez never tires of capturing his experiences through paintings or drawings.
In his 11th solo exhibit, Pidh-DRAW, Velasquez displays modernist techniques in producing classic images on canvas or paper by means of line drawings and tonal renditions of objects or forms. In the imaginative world of artist Pete Velasquez, figurative expressions are celebrated, and were produced through pure imagination and keen observations.
In this exhibit, Velasquez portrays the Filipino maiden bearing classic names from a bygone era; which may sound too old-fashioned for the young generation of today. The maidens of Velasquez bear exquisite names such as Mariposa, Paraluman, and Marilag; names that epitomize old-world values such as industry, faithfulness, and purity. His maidens remind us of our great-grandparents, who led lives of sacrifice, dignity, and respect for farming and the good Earth. He identifies himself as an artist and a farmer, and his name Pete, in Filipino is Pedro (pihd-Draw), connecting him to the traditional women featured in the exhibit.
Velasquez takes inspiration from the outdoors and loves doing plein air (outdoor) painting by the river bank, or anywhere that his folding Brompton bike may take him. Other days, he would use his Vespa, an Italian scooter that makes his outdoor painting sessions an inspired, elevated experience. His love for Vespa manifested in his art, as seen in the Vespa series, situating the Italian classic in a Philippine backdrop of traditional terrains, culture, and lifestyle.
Gateway Gallery sat down with Velasquez for an interview:
How is this exhibit different from your previous show?
My upcoming exhibit will showcase new works that were made in solitude, about drawings and illustrations. Some are on-the-spot paintings of the riverside.
The drawings are made of permanent markers, unerasable in nature, directly drawn on primed canvas. These are purely works of imagination created from my mind without any reference. Subjects vary from Filipina maidens and workers; their names etched on canvas; names that are original and true Filipino unaffected by outside influence.
What kept you busy during the interval from your last exhibit and this current show?
My last exhibit at the Gateway Gallery was about landscapes of the countryside that featured the rural places where I grew up. I would like that my next exhibit will be focused on detailing the human figure; a closer look at humanity; that is, illustrating and drawing people. However, it should be simple and relatable to everyone.
In some instances, I go out and mingle with nature, ride my bike to catch inspiration that is everywhere: in the market, yes I draw some fish; at the park—yes I painted from a story of how old folks cross the river in the old days; and friends—yes I painted them too, even their bicycles.
What should your followers expect in Phid-DRAW, your current show?
I have been informing my friends about my show. They are excited to come over and see up close the drawings and paintings I have worked on during my creative period.
Because my works are new and have not been exhibited before. I am sure they will get excited to see the actual paintings being displayed.
Any updates from the artist Pete Velasquez?
There was no change in me, except that I have been busier than ever. I have stayed indoors for the protocol and immersed myself in the studio unminding the time. I have been more fruitful than ever. In this way, I have been responsible to my art patrons. Unmindful of art competitions and joining art festivities, I would rather spend my time creating my art which I call “Soulful Figurism.”