AT SEVEN months old, he already held paint brushes. At three, he started drawing. And, at six, he had his first one-man painting exhibit.

For 17-year-old Eleazar Abraham Luna Orobia, the manifestations of his talent in painting came too early. This teenager has in his name seven one-man shows and 37 group exhibitions. He has joined his father and other respected artists like Racuya Albida, Ben Cabrera, Jose Joya, and Al Perez in group exhibitions.

Named after the biblical prophet and father to all nations, Eleazar Abraham, or Abe, was born on July 8, 1984 in Putatan, Muntinlupa to a family of artists. His father, Rogelio, is an established painter, while his mother, Fe, came from the lineage of the great Filipino painter, Juan Luna, making him a second-degree grandson of the legendary painter. His brothers Jeholysus Amen, 18 and Juan Lorenzo, 14 are also artists.

Starting young

When he was young, while the other children of his age would settle for crayons to draw, Abe was already using craypas, pastel, and watercolor.

After finishing high school at Mother Shepherd School in Muntinlupa City where he was a consistent scholar, Abe decided to pursue a degree in fine arts at the UST College of Fine Arts and Design.

Abe describes himself as an average student, although his professors will attest that he is far from mediocre. His first award came at the age of six, when he placed third in an on-the-spot painting contest sponsored by the Intramuros Administration. Two years after, he receivedthe Impressive Painting Award from the Asean Painting Contest in Tokyo, Japan. Abe’s winning streak came to halt when, according to him, he started judging painting contest at a young age since all of the competitions he joined disqualified him because of his phenomenal stature already as a “somewhat” established artist at a young age.

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Being included in two internationally-released coffee-table books, “The Filipino Child” by Visitacion dela Torre and “Kayumanggi,” completes his long list of achievements.

Abe never lets his success get into his head. “Maniwala ka kung sabihin sa iyong magaling ka, huwag lang lumaki ang ulo mo,” Abe said.

From using pastel and watercolor, his artistry evolved with the use of all painting media. His growth as a painter can be noted in his paintings such as the mural “Tigers,” “Three Indigenous Ladies,” and his latest, “Point Woman with a Knife.”

Been there, done that

For most people, the road to success is never easy. But for Abe, everything seemed already prepared for him. He believes that starting at a very young age and carrying known maternal and paternal surnames helped him earn. “Nakilala na ako nang maaga. Nandiyan na ang support. Mahirap ma-establish kapag wala kang enough exposure,” Abe said.

Although pressure comes along with the support, Abe’s family and friends often chide him that he can do better. “Dapat akong maging maayos. Hindi ako puwedeng magpakita ng weakness. Kailangang ipakita ko (na) every artwork (ko ay) masterpiece,” he added.

Abe has never believed in competitions. According to him, all artists are equal since they have their own styles. He also maintained that there is no such thing as perfect art, only God is capable of it.

His worst critic remains himself. “Minsan hindi ako nasa-satisfy sa artwork ko. (Nararamdaman) ko na kailangan kong galingan at higitan pa ‘yon,” Abe said.

Most of his paintings reflect his impressions on nature and life highlighted with bright colors and distorted figures. Abe said he is mostly inspired by what is happening in his life. “Paintings depict our soul. Kung anong nangyayari sa buhay mo, i-relate mo sa paintings mo,” he said.

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A depressed painter is most likely to come up with monochromic paintings, while a spirited one may create brightly-colored artworks. “Makikita mo sa colors, dimension, perspective, vanishing point, depths, iba talaga.”

If he would be an artwork, Abe said he would be a landscape painting. According to him, nature is boundless and makes us closer to God. The colors yellow and purple would be used in the painting. He chose pink for the skies and blue for the mountains.

Art and substance

This young Thomasian artist looks up to Leonardo da Vinci, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh, National Artist Fernando Amorsolo, and his great grandfather Juan Luna as his great influences. According to him, influences are good, as long as they do not hinder you from developing your own style. He also believes that to be a professional artist, it is not enough that one is good in the craft.

“Kailangan maging broadminded ka, naiintindihan mo kung ano talaga ang art. Hindi mo lang basta alam ang mga technical know-how,” he maintained.

Abe’s favorite work is his mural, “Tigers.” According to him, he has given his best in it. He worked on it for a month unlike his other artworks which he usually finishes for three hours.

“Sometimes, you have to force your mood para mas maganda ang artwork mo.”

When he was younger, he used to finish a painting for 30 minutes. “Ngayon, sinusunod ko lang kung ano talaga yung perspective at philosophy para masabing professional,” he said.

Abe used to destroy his work when he was not satisfied with it. Now, he simply sets it aside and wait for the right mood to start him going again. “It’s better to keep it. Ipinapakita nun ‘yung development mo, kung ano ka noon at kung ano ka ngayon.”

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For his success, he thanks his greatest mentor, his father, and of course, God. “As a young kid, kahit sabihin mong you have a family of artists, malabong mangyari yon. Even my paintings are God-given,” Abe said.

Living his age

Abe’s life, remains normal. His typical day includes listening to music, watching a movie, playing basketball, and hanging out with friends.

If he could meet someone from the past, he said he would like to meet Michelangelo or da Vinci. Abe believes that they are not just painters but geniuses. “Ang artist, hindi dapat siya mag-stagnate.”

Living by this statement, he does not just paint. His other crafts include paper mache, clay molding, and sculpture. He also dreams of becoming a national artist, lawyer, biologist, and president of the Philippines.

But his many ambitions do not mean he will forget his first love—painting. Abe said he could not imagine his life without it. “Ang norm kasi ng art, gutom.”

He is happy that at his young age, he is able to inspire many people, especially his fellow students. “Naiinspire sila. ‘Yung artwork ko nakakapagbigay sa kanila ng idea, ng challenge na (gumawa) pa ng mas maganda,” he said.

Abe advises aspiring artists not to be easily discouraged. Their talents will mature in their own time. Love your craft, he advises.

“Parang eternal flame ‘yon (art) na (nagsasabi) kung ano ang history mo, (kung ano ang) belief mo as an artist.” Shieryl Lyn S. Moroña

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