AFTER being diagnosed with bipolar disorder last year, Thomasian artist Rom Villaseran channeled into painting his thoughts about his illness as a form of therapy. A year later, he mounted his works in Ilaw ng Buwan, a solo exhibit at Galerie Stephanie in Quezon City.

As the title suggests, “Ilaw ng Buwan” sheds light on the darkest depths of the mind of someone with a mental illness. Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes unusual shifts of depressive and manic episodes in between normal moods. If left untreated, the disorder increases risk for severe depression and suicide attempts.

Villaseran, who studied architecture in UST, displayed a series of paintings dipped in a neo-surrealistic approach, a revival of surrealism mixed with pop art.

“What you will always be looking at when you view my work is the world that exists in my mind,” Villaseran told the Varsitarian. “This is me trying to connect with you. This is me constantly giving you my warmest handshake.”

Greeting exhibit-goers is Villaseran’s 5 x 4 ft painting “Sibol,” a dark-hued portrait of his wife Kara de Dios clad in a black velvet coat accented by a bright yellow-colored flower and bumblebees.

“Both of Me,” a painting of two skeletons positioned back to back with each other, focuses on dual personality.

Villaseran rendered a large human figure with ram-like horns enveloped by dark shadows in “I Am,” a painting he felt very personal to because it made him feel “a lot more naked.”

Despite his psychological condition Villaseran felt challenged to showcase his works.

“I decided to talk about myself for a change,” Villaseran said. “It has been very taxing. A considerable amount of time will have to pass before I choose to do this again.”

Villaseran took up BS Architecture until his junior year in the University. In 2014, he held his first solo exhibit titled Orchestra at Galerie Stephanie. He has been participating in numerous premiere art fairs nationwide and worldwide. He has also been featured in popular art publications including Art+ Magazine, Hi-Fructose and Art Republik.


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