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Mr. Raul Isidro

Raul G. Isidro has been described by a writer as "on record being the first Filipino contemporary artist to consciously recognize and document our indigenous designs and symbols. Hi! work ethic is not the usual transferencTof pictographs onto canvas, but rather the reduction of a given universe or subject to its barest essentials held within an asymmetrical balance". For the non-painters among us, the statement might have left us perplexed or unable to imagine anything close to it. But for the connoisseur, they know exactly how his works appeal to the senses, thus, making him a multi-award winning painter, a leader and innovator in the field, and a well-known artist with exhibits held not only in his native land but also in foreign shores which includes Germany, Israel, Spain, China, the Netherlands, Australia, and the United States.

His artistic skills were eventually recognized in 1979 when he was named one of the country's Ten Outstanding Young Men in the field of Fine Arts. But little did the public know that this genius of the brush had long years of struggle before he was finally able to get into this status. His father wanted him to become an architect and in fact, Isidro enrolled at the UST College of Architecture in 1961. But he felt that he was not for it, so he shifted to advertising, to his father's disappointment. The young man had to work as a janitor at the Department of Health in the mornings to be able to study in UST in the evenings when his father cut off his financial assistance. Isidro's teachers would give him art jobs for some additional money.

In 1965, the young artist's hardwork and sacrifices paid off when he finally graduated from college. In 1967, while working as a salesman for Filipro, he studied painting on a tutorial basis at the Philippine Women's University. After a year, the school offered him a teaching position. In 1975, he became the director of college until 1977, the year when he left the academe in favor of full-time painting. And as the saying goes - the rest is history.

Isidro has always believed that "art must be felt to be fully enjoyed", thus his pioneering efforts at conducting art workshops for young art enthusiasts and develop-ing talents in the province, Calbayog, Samar. He has also been conducting these art workshops in other provinces. He lived in the United States for almost ten years and became the only Asian board member of the Hayward Arts Council in California, USA. Recently, his advocacy has been promoting printmaking in the Philippines. With the help of Isidro and fellow Thomasian artist Fil dela Cruz, and through the Philippine Association of Printmakers (PAP), of which the former was president, they were able to bring into the consciousness of the Filipinos the art of printmaking.

The fame, the money, and the years have not changed Isidro's passion for the arts nor for his advocacy: promoting art and developing the next generation of artists. In his heart, the 62 year old (he was born on March 2, 1943) artist knows that "home is where the art is".

Reference:

  • TOTAL Awards 2006 Souvenir Program
    17 February 2006, UST Central Seminary Gymnasium
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