PRIMER: LEAN REBOJA
Lean Reboja, was born in Davao, but is currently residing in Cebu. He was born on February 18, 1991. He studied at the University of the Philippines Cebu. Lean, whose works have been attributed towards illustration art more than just traditional painting, have created works in formal art settings such as galleries and pop up art exhibition venues in the local scene. He also goes by the moniker name “Leanderthal” which is commonly associated with the Dreamcloud icon, noticeable in his works. Each piece is intricately done with a narrative of a snippet of his life, an aspect dissected by many of his collectors. Reboja delves into creating sporadic and colorful characters, usually having a closely relative appearance with beasts and animals. These are then set against each other, a juxtaposition of them all together in one art composition.
The signature figure of the “Dreamcloud”, a cloud-riding biographical character whose arms are raised to heaven is placed often on each artwork, depicting the artist as an individual that fervently aims in achieving his ambitions in life. Lean’s autobiographical themes usually signify events and memories, human behavior, experiences and emotions set into a metaphorical way of artistic expression. His art relays all these concepts in a riddle packed with intricately drawn and painted elements.
1. What inspired you to become an artist?
This roots from my love for cartoons and drawings ever since I was a child. Idolizing so much the cartoon shows from the 90s, the fire of creating characters for my own really endured until I grew up.
2. What was your first exhibit like?
It was for my thesis finals and most of my works were large scale ranging from 4 ft. x 5 ft. to 4 ft. x 16 ft. Pieces. They mainly focus on autobiographic experiences incorporated with a pop surrealistic approach.
3. What are you currently working on?
I am mainly focusing on personal pieces and some commission paintings right now. Ranging from paintings, drawings and digital illustrations.
4. What is your process like?
I usually tend to gravitate on cartoon like imagery and incorporating autobiographic experiences with it. I start with simple sketches and develop it overtime, sometimes in full detail or with rough playful sketch works. I am also attempting to incorporate stencil works and mixed media approaches with my recent works. I heavily rely on painting and drawing with acrylic, aerosol, graphite, watercolor, ink and color pencils for my medium.
5. What was the most valuable thing you learned doing your art?
A lot really. It is my protective bubble from this harsh world we’re currently living right now. I learned how to use it to help me cope up with anxiety and stress and serves as my outlet for my thoughts and emotions.
6. What is your favorite piece you’ve created?
I have lots of favorites but Ambitious Beasts (2017) and Pearl of The Orient Seas (2020) are currently at the top of my list.
7. What is your favorite piece by another artist?
Guernica by Pablo Picasso. I really love the impulsiveness, energy and the message it carries with it, plus how its grand scale and creative aesthetics. One of the best artworks I really look up to.
8. Why do you work in the medium that you do?
I am very comfortable with it and I really like how I can easily combine it altogether.
9. What is your favorite place to create in?
My own studio