Primer: Jomike Tejido

Jomike Tejido was an architect before pursuing a full-time art career. Born and raised in a home-office with architect parents in Manila, Jomike grew up with a lot of art materials at his disposal. His paintings reflect his architectural background where his flat images have an itch of coming out of the canvas and onto a pedestal, where it can be manipulated and enjoyed in a three-dimensional space. 

When he is not painting, he writes and illustrates children’s books, with over a hundred titles published in Manila and New York.

What inspired you to become an artist?

I wanted to become an artist after practicing architecture for some years because I enjoy creating things out of nothing. I want to wake up each morning and build, invent and make new things that bring joy, feelings or encourage others to imagine and be inspired through my shapes and colors.

What was your first exhibit like?

My first exhibit was fun and exciting. It was in 1/of Gallery (Which is not CANVAS) in Serendra in 2007. The title was “The Tree that Captured the Stars.” I liked this show because it was my break into the fine art industry from a self-taught artist coming from the architectural field. My works were all acrylic on treated hand-woven mat or “banig” paintings.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on a 4 x 6 ft acrylic on canvas piece for CANVAS gallery’s anniversary show to be set in the Vargas Museum in UP Diliman.

What is your process like?

My process is similar to architectural practice, where I sketch out plans and block-in colors and shapes to make sure I am not creating competing elements. I used to do this on an art notebook, but now I use an iPad Pro to plan my pieces. From there, I start painting the piece on canvas or paper. A lot of small details change in the process of making the actual painting, but the blocking remains the same from the plans. If sculptures are involved, I have the build sculpture standing beside my easel, and I treat it like a model that I am copying.

In making my wooden sculptures, I make 1:1 mockups using cardboard and let it sit for some days as I rotate it and examine if I am happy with its form. I enjoy making forms that can be visualized as many other things from animals to buildings. After the mock-up stage, the pieces are used as patterns for wood cutting and final painting. Paints are also planned digitally, by inlaying colors onscreen, before applying to the actual piece.

What was the most valuable thing you learned doing your art?

I learned to always be open to change and adapt to the times.

What is your favorite piece you’ve created?

My favorite piece is a pair of works, not just one. From my most recent show, Invencionismo (Galerie Stephanie, January 2020). All the works that have corresponding sculptural partners are my favorite. I have always wanted to do art that can be handled, and I achieved that through my Superstructures and paintings from this show.

What is your favorite piece by another artist?

Rodel Tapaya’s work in the Ateneo Arete.

Why do you work in the medium that you do?

I like working with acrylic on canvas and paint on wood because of its versatility and dynamism as a medium that I can embody the Bauhaus school ideology called “Gesamtkunstwerk”– where the art on your wall reflects the sculpture on your table. I like how things are well planned, well thought of, from inception to execution to final boxing.

What is your favorite place to create in?

My favorite place to be in is my own home-studio, which was once an open carport that I just converted into an enclosed space. It is small and cramped but it has a separate entry from our house, which is key to my creative process because I like working in solitude.

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