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Tabula Rasa | Davao artist makes good in California

Ole Johnson, our featured Dabawenyo Visual Artist is now making waves in the creative city of San Francisco, California. But he is one of ours, he even exhibited with us at Felcris Centrale last year in the exhibit: “SAVING DAVAO GULF”. Ole (ole,ole,ole on FB) is a member of the Johnson clan of Malita and Davao Occidental. One uncle (Jimmy) was known as CLAVILAZ, a professional boxing champion in the 60’s. Another Johnson was a town mayor, an Ateneo de Davao High School classmate of PRRD and Sec. Sonny Dominguez.

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Ole was born in South Lamidan, Don Marcelino, Davao Occidental but moved to San Francisco in 2007. He went to Holy Cross Malita from grade school to high school. Here – in his own words – is Ole’s art journey:
“Being a Filipino Artist is challenging, but it’s more challenging being an Artist in the US. In 2015, I decided to start focusing on my God-given talent, which is making art. I started sculpting and drawing all my ideas that laid dormant for almost 10 yrs. I kept myself busy by creating art in my tiny room in San Francisco.

Ever since I was a kid, drawing and sculpting have always been something I was good at. I was always the one tasked to do art and other creative projects in school. I stopped making art after high school after my mother discouraged me from studying Fine Arts in college. I threw away my dream of becoming an artist and, just like most people, decided to choose a more “secure” path.

In 2016, after a year of making art, I produced enough art to build my portfolio. I started joining art submissions in San Francisco. I became a member of the Artist Guild of San Francisco, an art group founded in 1961 and composed of urban artists who exhibit their work in outdoor sites across San Francisco. I actively participated in weekend art exhibits and sold my art to people of different nationalities. Several of my artworks were chosen to be part of month long group art shows in the office of Senator Scott Weiner at the California State Building. I exhibited my work in the “Art Saves Lives” gallery in downtown San Francisco. The University of California San Francisco (UCSF) hospital, bought one of my abstract art and is now a part of their permanent

collection in one of their new buildings dedicated for Cancer research. It was a very exciting year for me and i decided to pursue this as a my full-time job.

My art is a product of experimenting with new materials in an attempt to come up with an original piece of art. Most of my art are Abstract pieces and some 3D surrealism. On my last vacation in Davao, I took classes on oil painting at Art de Triumph under the mentorship of Rhodney Yap. Lately, I’ve been practicing how to paint the traditional way. My goal is to learn all the disciplines in the Arts.

My most recent painting is a 30×40 oil on canvas. Titled the “Devourer” , which depicts a human devouring all the animals and causing detrimental effects. A rather timely representation of the current predicament that the human race is currently battling with.”

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