SOCIETAL issues such as mental health awareness, terrorism and Philippine culture were the focus of this year’s best thesis roster from the College of Fine Arts and Design’s Painting program.
The challenges of mental illness were apparent in painting graduate Raniel Vicarez’s oil-on-canvas piece “Hylophobia: An Irrational Psychological Perception in Fear of Forest Depicted in Surrealism.”
The painting shows a lady in a flowing white dress, traipsing in the middle of the forest as she looks beyond the space in front of her.
“Ever since I started painting, my top favorite subjects have been people and nature,” Vicarez told the Varsitarian.
The painting depicts the mental state of someone who has hylophobia or fear of forests. The idea sparked during a hiking trip when he discovered that one of his friends had the phobia.
“This thesis is an endeavor in promoting knowledge about the psychological disorder as well as its effects to provide the viewers the broad understanding of the study,” he said.

Vicarez’s “Hylophobia: An Irrational Psychological Perception in Fear of Forest Depicted in Surrealism.”

Victoria Clyde Tabuena’s sculpture “Root of Tenacity: Children’s Behavior Despite the Trauma Acquired in a Rebel Attack” dealt with terrorism. It depicted a child encapsulated inside a bullet, sleeping soundly as flower petals shroud its head and leaves bed its feet.
A combination of 3D and relief sculpture, Tabuena used cement for the external part of the sculpture and air-dry clay and acrylic emulsion for the internal part to ensure its compact placement.
Tabuena said the concept of “Root of Tenacity” was inspired by actual events. She recalled the story when she and her mother went to went to a medical mission in a remote area and encountered a classroom stamped with several gunshots. She later learned that the room was prior attacked by terrorists while classes were still ongoing.
“It’s (terrorism) always on the news. [That’s why] I wanted to address [the] issue through my thesis and how it affects a human’s life,” Tabuena said in an interview.

Tabuena’s “Root of Tenacity: Children’s Behavior Despite the Trauma Acquired in a Rebel Attack”

“Tikbalang: Reintroduction of a Philippine Mythical Creature Through Metal Wires” is Roland Joshua Bascon’s contribution to the growing movement of mythology-inspired outputs among art students.
Inspired from modern Filipino sculptor Solomon Saprid’s bronze sculptures, Bascon used 15 pieces of 20-feet square bars to build the framework. The pieces were cut and welded together as foundation to the framework’s strength.
He covered the sculpture with metal wires, a nod to United Kingdom-based artist Richard Staintorph’s style in creating metal sculptures that capture the movements of the human body.
Derived from the stories handed down by the ancestors, Bascon used metal to define the combination of heritage and the usage of modern materials.
“I found mythologies interesting,” Bascon said. “I’ve also observed that some Filipinos today have forgotten [about Philippine mythology] so I was inspired to create something that can contribute to prevent our culture to die.”

Bascon’s “Tikbalang: Reintroduction of a Philippine Mythical Creature Through Metal Wires”

The Painting program has a total of seven Outstanding Theses awardees this year.
The best theses from the Advertising Arts program also produced noteworthy themes, ranging from rebranding, cultural attributions and production design.
Varsitarian artist Chinny Mae Basinang bagged the best thesis award for her proposed animation upgrade of the 2008 Filipino animated film “Urduja.”
Basinang said the film had numerous gaps when it comes to design and technicalities.
“The study is made to promote original Filipino content,” she said. “It will benefit the Philippine animation industry because it will help increase awareness of people towards the animated films in the country to get the people’s interest and support they need.”
In the thesis, the film had more intricate details centered on Filipino culture like the native tattoos and traditional Filipino patterns to “better reflect the pre-Hispanic Philippine culture in the characters.”

Basinang’s proposed upgrade of “Urduja”

For Bradd Maesa, reformulating design elements of the “The Umbrella Academy” by American rock band My Chemical Romance vocalist Gerard Way is his way to reawaken the story’s activity as a comic series to reach the same recognition the Marvel Universe and DC Comics currently has.

Maesa’s reformulation of “The Umbrella Academy”

Students who received a perfect grade of 100 for their work are awarded the title of best thesis while a grade of 96 to 99 is given an outstanding thesis merit.


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