Meet the 30 Artists Under 30 Set to Rule the Local Art Scene

This exhibit is a platform for emerging artists.
IMAGE Gabby Jimenez

Local art hub Pineapple Lab brought together young contemporary Filipino artists for The Undercurrent: 30 Artists Under 30, an exhibit inspired by Forbes lists which is committed to becoming a platform for emerging artists. Headed by Fiona Lazaro, it will run until July 30. 

“All established artists were emerging artists and if you’re not going to give room for them, it’s going to be self-defeating,” Lazaro shares. The featured artists represent different mediums—digital art, illustration, photography, painting, and sculpture, all of whom created a piece that celebrates creative freedom. 

The thirty artists under thirty featured are: Kris Abrigo, Ramon Afabile, Jappy Agoncillo, Vida Alegre, Jill Arteche, Che Bantayan, Reen Barrera, Kristine Caguiat, Chino Carlo, Rob Cham, Christine Chung, Paulo Correa, Nino Cubacub, Uriel Cui, Claudine Delfin, Nika Dizon, Jessica Dorizac, Isobel Francisco, Jan Fresco, Soleil Ignacio, Miguel Luis, Gabby Nazareno, Ivy Pangilinan, Vincent Quilop, RC RC, Adam Red, Mark Jeffrey Santos, Art Tavera, Laurel Veronica, and Chalk Zaldivar.

Here are some of the artworks featured in the exhibit. 



An up and coming digital painter, Jill Arteche’s "Merienda" falls under a style that she herself describes as “comically grotesque.” “I like to represent people in a grotesque manner because for me, my definition of beauty is the unconventional, the absurd. I’m a firm believer that ugliness is not really repugnant with beauty," she explains.

Arteche shares that the artwork was inspired by her love for Filipino families complete with messy elements and a range of colors. Using her own family as her reference, "Merienda" tackles the tricky dynamic between millennials and their parents, and ultimately the value we put on family.


Isobel Francisco leaves her oil painting "Sheets" to the imagination of exhibit-goers. “I have my thoughts on it, but I’d rather they develop their own experience with it before I spoon-feed them,” Francisco says.

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By Rob Cham

Playing with etchings, color, and light sources, Rob Cham talks of his work as “a story I made and it’s the art style I’ve come to develop.”

The comic book creator and illustrator's work uses the style he has become known for for his silent comics. The scene that he's chosen to feature is “completely immersed in darkness and there’s no light there." 

"When the Night Has Come"

Another artist is RC Camarines whose out-of-this-world piece "When the Night Has Come" transports art-enthusiasts into a surreal realm utterly of the artist’s own creation—one that exudes a retro, Stranger Things impression (and we mean this in the best way possible).


"The Lost Sophistication"

"The Lost Sophistication" by Adam Red, a mixed media piece on canvas, also drew its own crowd with its blend of traditional and contemporary elements.

"Everybody Thinks They Know Where You Ought to Go"

Gabby Nazareno’s piece "Everybody Thinks They Know Where You Ought to Go" was a subtle showstopper—one that made you pause and contemplate on the painting as if it was a riddle or metaphor for a stranger’s life.


The creative diversity is evident in the gallery’s convergence of artists from the mediums of digital art, illustration, photography, painting, and sculpture. But despite the differences in style and medium, the artists found common ground in Lazaro’s first guideline to “create a piece that represents you, your style, and your medium.” The result: thirty artworks and artists celebrating creative freedom.

At the opening, Lazaro quoted Dead Poet’s Society: “Medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for.”

The Undercurrent will run until July 30 at the Pineapple Lab, 5071, R. Palma Street, Poblacion, Makati. Entrance is free.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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