IT is never too late–this is what a UST painting alumnus proved when he launched his solo exhibition of artistic works on Nov. 11 at the age of 75. 

Over five decades after completing his degree in painting from the defunct College of Architecture and Fine Arts, artist Jessie Mariñas returned to his painting roots in his one-man show, “The Art of Jessie Mariñas.”

Calling himself a “late bloomer” in the arts, Mariñas said he never got to practice painting after graduating from UST, as he worked in an engineering firm in California for 30 years. 

It was at the age of 55, spurred by a spine operation he thought would have ended his life, when Mariñas began painting again. 

“I thought that was the end of me,” the painting alumnus told the Varsitarian. “But after a couple of weeks, before I recovered, I said, ‘I better start painting again.’”

“I said to myself that I’m going to give it a try one more time,” he added. “I said to the Lord, ‘Lord, I’m going to give this a shot,’ because he always whispered in my ear that it’s time for me to paint.”

Mariñas displayed a scaled-down version of his 72×84-in. untitled acrylic painting of the Passion of Christ as the exhibit’s centerpiece, using nails instead of paintbrushes to scrape the paint on the canvas.

Jessie Mariñas (center) holds a scaled-down version of his untitled acrylic painting of the Passion of Christ. (Photo by Jana Francesca D. Yao/ The Varsitarian)
The original version of the 72×84-in. untitled piece by Jessie Mariñas, inspired by the Passion of Christ. Mariñas donated the acrylic painting to the Quiapo Church in Manila. (Photo grabbed from Jessie Mariñas’ Facebook account)

His exhibit also featured one of his Angono paintings, “Gabe Vendor,” a 36×48-in. piece depicting an elderly woman carrying taro vegetables on top of her head.

“Eaglehearts,” a 16×20-in. acrylic painting of soldiers huddling and forming a heart, was also on exhibit. 

Exhibit-goers analyze Jessie Mariñas’s “Eaglehearts,” a 16×20-in. acrylic painting of soldiers huddling. (Photo by Jana Francesca D. Yao/ The Varsitarian)

The Thomasian painter advised budding artists to “listen to [their] heart[s]” and “believe in God.” 

“There [are] so many good artists around, but [very] few artists right now paint with their heart,” he said. 

Mariñas graduated from the University in 1969. 

In 2007, his piece “Harvest Continues” won first prize at the Biannual Public Art and Mural Symposium in Manteca, California. 

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Mural Society of Manteca USA in 2011. 

“The Art of Jessie Mariñas” was curated by Edge Gallery. It will run until Nov. 25. 



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