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Let's Talk: Zach Villegas

Our Current Condition is the second year of Fortuna Circuit, an annual exhibition featuring artists from all around the Philippines.  To give more detail on the artists and their work, we've decided to feature a few interviews with the artists. 

What art piece(s) are you bringing to the exhibit? What’s the story behind it? 

I submitted something I’ve been trying to get rid of for 2 years now. It’s a collage of photographs.
It’s called “You are a Beautiful Regret—Cigarettes from two years ago.” It’s basically just residual emotion for and from a past flame that I don’t want anymore. The piece is more cathartic and self-serving rather than weaponized and socially relevant.

To me it’s important that I present this piece. Not only for myself but for anyone who’s hurting. I believe we deserve closure, and we can get that closure from ourselves. This is what my piece really means. It’s me coming to terms with myself.

          What school of art do you follow? Who are your influences?
            I look up to a lot of contemporary artists and more post-modern notions. A few artists I look to would probably be Keith Haring, Pollock, Ren Hang, Warhol, Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, and maybe a couple of the older ones like Magritte, G. Colbert, H. Bosch, and Munch.
These people have their own way of telling stories, specially the older artists. Semiotics plays a big role in telling stories. In a way a lot of these artists entwine meaning with mundane symbols and tell a rather interesting story.   

What’s your art process? Do you have any habits or practices that you do before making a piece (eg taking a walk, or drinking beer before painting)?

My art process is actually rather simple. I usually start off wasting time drinking alone or going on photowalks so I can clear my headspace for any ideas. When I get a hold of something I want to speak about, I usually dive into maybe a week of just research. After that I conduct photoshoots to serve as my studies for the actual thing. Once I know how execute it then, Poof! I do the shoot and I’m done.

But my art process doesn’t necessarily follow this pattern. Suffering from some kind of mental illness, I tend to spiral a lot and get stuck in a rabbit hole full of self-loathing. When I realize I’m in that hole, I usually just take random abstract photos. Taking photos is more cathartic to me that what it actually is. I can say I owe my life to photography.

Where do you want your art to take you? Where do you see yourself and your art in the future?

Wherever it does take me, I’d be happy either way, though a solo- show at some gallery wouldn’t hurt either.  I’m working on a long-term project on an advocacy I keep close to my heart and hopefully culminate it with an artist book or something tangible. Hopefully this project would help open eyes and minds. I don’t mind where art takes me. All I really wanna do is to just be able to create.

Advice to budding artists out there.

Keep on creating and hone your craft. 
Don’t let things like “aesthetics” get in the way of the conversation with your audience. Honesty in art 

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