Arts & Culture

Trickie Lopa on Art in the Park: 'It's Like A Treasure Hunt!'

Last year, an unsigned BenCab sold for just P50,000.
IMAGE COURTESY ART IN THE PARK
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As much as art fairs are immensely enjoyable celebrations of art, there’s always a sense of concern building up in the back of collectors’ minds. Art, after all, can cost significant amounts of money, and one can never be too careful about overspending on a piece.

In 2018, however, an unsigned BenCab painting sold for just P50,000 at Art in the Park, the Philippines’ most anticipated affordable art fair. For an artist whose work is often evaluated in the millions, calling the price tag a bargain would be a massive understatement. But, as event co-founder Trickie Lopa puts it, such is the appeal of Art in the Park.

More: Surprise: Someone Bought an Unsigned Artwork Not Knowing It Was a BenCab

For the past 13 years, Art in the Park has upheld a strict price cap (This year it's P50,000) for the pieces on display, with many of the works going for far lower than that amount.

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“It’s really just to keep the intent of the event,” Lopa explains. “It takes out the apprehension about whether you’re spending too much on a piece of art.”


Jean Abordo, Trickie Lopa, Yeo Kaa, Oscar Mejia, Lisa Periquet, and Rhona Macasaet

“You’re out there to enjoy yourselves. That’s the whole point, right? The experience of just going there, seeing something you like, and imbibing the whole atmosphere,” she adds.

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As with years past, 2019’s Art in the Park—taking place on March 17 at the Jaime Velasquez Park in Salcedo Village, Makati—brings artists and galleries together for one of the country’s most dynamic art environments; one that might not have been possible without the added sense of discovery its price cap encourages. Because of its accommodating nature, there’s much less hesitation among art buyers both experienced and new in purchasing pieces.


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“It’s like a treasure hunt! Something catches your eye, and you grab it,” Lopa says. “You’re not supposed to worry about who made it, or if it’s worth your investment.”

The event also offers experiences for the casual visitor. This year, Art in the Park has Zean Cabangis, Yeo Kaa, and Leeroy New as featured artists. Cabangis, a talented photographer who uses paint to add new meaning to his images, has contributed two pieces for the event’s postcards. Palawan-based artist Yeo Kaa, on the other hand, will be putting Alone but Not Lonely—a massive, 20-foot long inflatable latex sculpture done in her signature candy-colored style—on display, fresh from showing at Singapore’s Yavuz Gallery.


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"From the Space in Which You stand" by Zean Cabangis

More: Art World Secrets and Tips from An Expert at the Met Museum in New York

Leeroy New’s Aliens of Manila project, which casts a set of bizarre creatures against Manila’s urban landscape, will also be on display, as part of a partnership with Heineken.

Other artists adding to the fun of the fair will be a perfume-powered installation by Oscar Mejia, who aims to use bubbles to float scents around the park; and music from jazz trio Soulful Mood, as well as blues band The Bleu Rascals.


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Fitz Herrera for Space Encounters

At the core of Art in the Park, as always, will be the art up for sale. Over the years, the fair has developed a reputation for having an eclectic mix of artists on display, with many of them looking to hit their big breaks.

“We work with a lot of young artists,” Lopa shares. “Art in the park is kind of like an incubator of sorts for different ideas, different concepts. We welcome all of them.”


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Mia Ang for L'Arc en Ciel Gallery

At the end of the day, it’s the sheer joy of exploring what our local artists have to offer—and maybe adding a piece or two to the collection—that makes Art in the Park an event frequented by close to 15,000 people each year.

And while not every piece at the park may be a surprise BenCab, there are a lot of treasures worth hunting.


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Art in the Park happens on Sunday, March 17, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at the Jaime Velasquez Park, Salcedo Village, Makati City.

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Marco Sumayao
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