Friday, July 13, 2018

Looking for the Light

Two important shows that keep me afloat creatively this year.

First, this painting will be part of CANVAS' 10th annual Looking for Juan Outdoor Art Banner Project on August 18, 2018, at the Bulwagan ng Dangal, University of the Philippines Diliman (UP).

I made 10 banner art already, YEY!

So Hungry for the Light
acrylic and phosphorescent paint on canvas

Hungry work in progress

Hung-er under a different kind of light.

Kutchz under intermission light.

And this box is part of another exciting CANVAS show:
Tumba Tumba Children's Museum of Philippine Art: A Proof of Concept Exhibit
19 June to 27 July 2018, 1F and 3F Galleries at the UP Vargas Museum.

I was given an old shoeshine box to turn it into an art piece. 
At first, I was thinking of a mini diorama but later realized that the object needs to be something interactive and educational for kids. 
I saw my old pinhole camera.

I turned this shoeshine box into a camera obscura.

"The Real Power of the Universe is Light"
wooden shoeshine box, magnifying lens, ceramic plate, cloth, acrylic and phosphorescent paint
dimensions variable

A mirror is just reflected light.

Small hole that lights another world inside. 
How amazing this would be on a larger scale like a whole room!

light, painting, camera, pinhole camera, camera obscura, glow in the dark, lens, diy, canvas, sergio bumatay, eyes, moon, wish, dream, birds, UV, ultraviolet painting, mirror, effects, acrylic

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Panyaan: from Coron to Diliman...

Then into the tiny hands of many children and kids-at-heart!

I never thought I could pull this major project off, given that this drawing arm has been aching for several months after an injury.

The journey started with a team of writers, artists, and photographers from CANVAS to research and document on the oral traditions of the Tagbanua ethnic group in Coron, Palawan. The trip served as inspiration for a children's book.

The beauty of the place was its laid-back, expansive, and pristine atmosphere. I would describe it as enchanting. It's a fun place to be free and play as a kid.

Panyaan means a sacred place where people are forbidden to enter or fish. Indeed, some of the islands in Coron aren't accessible to tourists not even locals.

Pareidolia in me taking over at these precious mangroves.

And at this mysterious fairy kingdom.

My role was to document the feels of the trip through illustrations. I sketch whenever I can, quite challenging though because some days were raining hard and electricity was scarce.

Imagine your school at the foot of a majestic mountain by the sea, I would also be inspired to go to school every day.

I've quickly sketched some of the kids we've met at Banuang daan during conversations. Though Mawi wasn't so pleased with my drawing of her. She said some of their peers have to cross mountains and seas just to go to school. They couldn't remember any favorite story book, or maybe they were just too shy.

I think to recreate the spirit of the place and make it more authentic is to express it directly through found materials from the area.

Scratching some natural pigments from stones, soil, bark, plants, fruits, and flowers.

The craft of tying is one of the Tagbanuas' traditions, useful for securing house foundations, weaving fishnets, and basketry.

The project is also made possible through the partnership of USAID-ECOFISH project that "aims to improve the management of important coastal and marine resources and associated ecosystems that support local economies."

We camped for a night inside the health center of one of the three communities we visited. I loved the quietness of the place.

The trip was very inspiring. But it took me several weeks of staring at nothingness before the magic happens.

Aside from book illustrations, the enchanting stories inspired by the trip come to life through an installation. I patterned the exhibit after my MFA thesis, Anima, using some recycled materials to convey responsibility. An afterglow in the paintings and the installation also reveals another narrative. 


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Friday, July 1, 2016

To a better place

After several months of finding inspiration and motivation what to paint for our second two-man show with Rommel at the Galerie Stephanie, I feel relieved that I'm surviving those grueling periods of creative drought. Or maybe it was more of gaining my self-confidence back again, working on to dissolve fears and insecurities. I realized nobody can really help you, not even family and close friends even if they're willing and supportive, except yourself. It also doesn't fade away in a snap just like that. 

Went on to paint anyway. Life and the show must go on. 

Glitters, iridescent paint, phosphorescence, glossy, and glassy. I tend to be fascinated on shiny, shimmering, and splendid somethings at the moment. 

I think gold is my fave color right now.

The whale's relationship with giraffe isn't working so it moved on.

Heartbroken paintings, I mean a diptych scene in progress.

I'm so curious what's gonna happen on July 5.


From :

“Rommel Joson and Sergio Bumatay III Explore the Idea of Parallel Universes”
Ricky Francisco
Galerie Stephanie proudly presents Parallel Universes, a two-man exhibition of the multi-awarded artist-illustrators Sergio Bumatay III and Rommel Joson from July 5 to 19, 2016. In this exhibition, both artists explore the idea of parallel universes: self-contained realities co-existing with ours, which may or may not have any relationship with ours, opening viewers to fantastical worlds that embody the limits of possibility.
In his [8]-painting body of work for this exhibition, Metrobank Art and Design Excellence (MADE) Grandprize winner Sergio Bumatay III contemplates and continues from his winning piece entitled The Extraordinary Manifestation of Something Undeniably Possible, which is in essence a meditation on the afterlife. Focusing on transcending the limits of our existence, Bumatay, posits mortality as the doorway to enter the other world. Building on the award-winning piece, Bumatay creates glimpses of this world through diaphanous beings blending with ethereal blue environment, seeming to imply the essence of existence, or the soul. In the piece, [I Chose You To Find Me], a deer-like creature prances about, carrying in its womb an embryonic winged child. Passage and movement are a predominant theme in his works, where winged creatures appear to either float or fly in dreamy abandon.
In contrast, Rommel Joson, a magna cum laude graduate from the College of Fine Arts in the University of the Philippines, Diliman, presents pairs of human-like beings entangled in ripples of luxurious cloth. In these pairs, notions of connection and disconnection are apparent. While the ripples of cloth physically bind them, all but the paintings Blackhole and Our Strange Gravities show them gazing into each other’s eyes, implying the nature of relationships – where sometimes, there is communion between two distinct individuals, but more often, there is the insufferable distance that gets in between them, making individuals run parallel lives, lived beside each other, but never to intersect.

Parallel Universes presents paradoxical aspects of both limits and unbounded potential.
To view the exhibit, one may visit Galerie Stephanie from Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 7pm. For inquiries please call 709 1488 or email Galerie Stephanie is located at Unit 1B Parc Plaza Bldg., 183 E. Rodriguez Jr. Ave., Libis, Quezon City.

A fave from Rommel's collection:
oil on canvas, 36" dia.

My work:
"In The Moment"
acrylic, phosphorescent paint (glow-in-the-dark), interference paint, and glitters on canvas
32" dia.

Friday, January 22, 2016

ANIMA: A Picturebook in Space

Anima: A Picturebook in Space is an exhibition that proposes an alternative approach to the medium of book illustration. By combining illustrations as paintings and drawings, with selected objects of personal significance and materials from the Vargas Collection, Bumatay creates an installation of a fantastical children’s “picturebook” on the three-dimensional space of the museum. Objects reminiscent of childhood play and personal fantasies are built in a suggestive state of animation, piquing the imagination and enabling the viewer to construe the stories behind every clue seen in the space.

The exhibit runs until January 29, 2016. 

Sergio Bumatay III (b. 1979) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts major in Advertising Arts at the University of Santo Tomas in 2000 and is currently doing his Master’s at the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts. He is a member of Ang INK (Ang Ilustrador ng Kabataan), the Philippines’ first organization of illustrators. Bumatay is a children’s book illustrator, book designer, and painter whose works have garnered local and international awards in Japan (2008), South Korea (2012) and Sweden (2013).

For more information, please contact Vargas Museum at (+632) 928-1927 (direct line), (+632) 981-8500 loc. 4024 (UP trunkline), (+632) 928-1925 (fax) or send an e-mail to You may also check our website at or like us at and follow us on Twitter via @UPVargasMuseum for updates.

Sergio Bumatay III will have a walk-through of "ANIMA: A Picturebook in Space" on January 26, 2016, Tuesday, at 10am. Admission to the event is free and open to the public. Pre-register to the event by sending a message to UP Vargas Museum in Facebook or call at 928-1927 during office hours.

Share your versions of the story, your photo-captured scenes, or your thoughts on ANIMA using the hashtags #animaproj #anima and follow them to Instagram @animaproj

A scene from ANIMA: A Picturebook in Space, University of the Philippines-College of Fine Arts Master of Fine Arts thesis exhibition by Sergio Bumatay III at the UP Vargas Museum. 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

May Darating na Trak Bukas

May Darating na Trak Bukas is my latest children's book that's very dear to my heart and also one of the most unique book project I've ever worked on so far. The book is special not just because it's hardbound (very rare for local books) and beautifully printed but also in the sense that the way we created it was unusual: together with the Adarna House development team, we experimented on what we may call "the reverse process" of making a children's book.

When I was a kid, I loved collecting small things like toys or insects and stuff them in bottles. I also loved making snow globes from inverted mayo bottles.

The usual process in children's book creation starts with a story or manuscript from the author, then the publisher will find a suitable illustrator whose style fits the essence of the story. The illustrator will then begin to interpret the story with his own character designs, settings, flow and pace, etc. Most of the time, or ideally, it's up to the illustrator's concept in portraying the author's story. Of course, his ideas are also subject to both author and publisher's feedback and approval. Their approval largely depends on the accuracy, aptness, clearness of illustration and market research information.

I used colored pencils, chalk pastels, and charcoal on illustration board 
for the illustrations of May Darating na Trak Bukas

This time, we followed a different approach, I was commissioned to come up with narrative images that could inspire a story from it. As an illustrator who's non-verbal, my challenge is to start with a plot only this time, visually. Is it really possible for a visually-oriented person like me to draw a narrative image without thinking first a written story (whether mine or other's) at all? Or do we create an image intuitively just as Nathan Spoor refers to "suggestivism," wherein imagery is suggested by the mind or emerging from some kind of force as you draw or paint, without "predetermined narrative or a conscious attempt to render a figurative image"? Which really comes first, the story or an image? I'd like to describe this process similar to the "binary phenomenon" observed in the word and image relationship particularly in typography: we see design (as font) and word (as letter symbol) simultaneously. That's heavy stuff but nevertheless, creating narrative images intuitively is absorbing.

One of the sketches that inspired the story of May Darating na Trak Bukas

So I made several sketches. From one of the sketches, I still had to outline the imagery in words to form a storyline. The team decided to ask our National Artist for Literature, Sir Rio Alma to write a poem to accompany those "imagery." I'm just so grateful that he agreed! The collaborative result is very interesting. The poem stands on its own, at the same time, it gives the essence for the illustrations, which is usually the other way around. The illustrations can also be independent while giving another dimension to the poem.

Thumbnails showing the flow and consistency of narrative

Thumbnails also show the overall composition within a spread

Sampling a sketch for the overall style and technique for the medium, pencils on board.

Like in all of my books, as much as possible, I put on many details so that the reader can re-read them all over again. I also placed many details on this book so when they read it again, I'm hoping they will find things they haven't seen before.

I'm very, very HAPPY with the print (matte-finished like/book paper) because the effect seems like I have drawn directly on the book itself, making it more really special for readers. You're like holding on an original artwork. This is one of the reasons I think why I love illustrating picture books, I can share my art and message to a lot of people as much as possible through the print medium.

Most of the images like toys and activities in the illustrations of May Darating na Trak Bukas 
are drawn from my childhood experiences. 

Work in progress documentation of the illustrations. Sometimes, it's a bit distracting to practice as an illustrator/artist today because you now have to document your process 
along the way for protection and promotion.

For kids, definitely, those grownup things don't really matter. But who knows, who are we to judge their smartness?


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