You may remember Hero Angeles as the first contestant to win Star Circle Quest in 2004, and as one half of an extremely popular love team with Sandara Park. But before becoming a household name, Angeles had a passion for art and even took a fine arts degree in college.
Today, he’s returned to his first passion by creating miniature clay sculptures of classic Filipino dishes. His tiny renditions of sinigang na hipon, chocnut, and bibingka are certainly delightful to look at. If you’re feeling stressed, just spend a few minutes scrolling through his Facebook page, Artcetero (it's a portmanteau of the words ‘art,’ ‘etcetera,’ and ‘Hero,’ in case you're wondering).
“My fascination with miniature arts started in 2016 when I made a micro watercolor painting series called ‘MagnifEyed.’ Year 2017, I shifted to miniature food sculpting. I wanted to try a different form of miniature art that uses polymer clay in making tiny food pieces,” he says.
Angeles often crafts his tiny creations by referring to photographs taken from different angles, but says it’s better to have the actual dish in front of him. It’s similar to baking, he adds, in that one has to knead the clay like dough before sculpting it. Once Angeles is happy with the shape of a sculpture, he colors it with soft pastel, then bakes and glazes it.
As expected, miniature clay sculpting takes a lot of patience. “It all depends on the difficulty of your subject,” Angeles explains. “The more elements present in your tiny plate or bowl, the more time is required.”
He chose to work with food in particular because of his love for cooking and eating. “Miniature food sculpting is the easiest way for me to produce the dishes I haven’t cooked yet,” he says. “But unlike baking and cooking, instead of buying the ingredients from the market, I have to make each ingredient piece by piece and I really enjoy doing it. It is also a good stress reliever.”
If you’re interested in learning how to make your own miniscule renditions of your favorite dishes, Angeles regularly holds miniature food art classes. “I always feel the excitement from planning, buying of the materials, packing the activity kits, designing our posters, giving lectures, and doing demos,” he enthuses. “I want to create a connection to my students by sharing the knowledge that I learned from creating this art. I want to give inspiration to what I do. It brings a smile to my face every time my students finish their yummy creations.”
Among the dishes Angeles has made, the ones he’s proudest of are the sinigang na hipon, palitaw, tuyo, tapsilog, and Chocnut. “I still have many food items on my to-do list, and I still welcome food suggestions on my art page,” he says.