“Art is a discovery of who we are and the greatest that we will be.”
Self-discovery is the one true purpose and joy in life has always been the subject of Joejene’s works. Discovering the beauty and wonder of the existence of life and nature fuels his creative process.
Joejene’s artistic practice springs from consciously engaging in and feeling the moment of creation with a sense of joy, wonder, and curiosity like a child discovering life.
His medium acrylic on canvas translates these artistic ideas into abstract paintings with his unique style and skills at rendering rich colors, textures, and depth.
Born in the Philippines where he earned a degree in Fine Arts and practiced his artistic passion professionally, Joejene is now making his mark as an abstract artist in the Ottawa art scene. He has held numerous exhibitions in Ottawa and Toronto since moving to Canada with his family in 2006.
His work is currently represented by the Orange Art Gallery in Ottawa and held in private collections in The Philippines, United States, Japan, The Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, and Canada.
Painting intuitively and trusting my inner self in complete surrender are the core of my creative process. To me, knowing the beauty of who we are within is a liberating truth… it keeps me to be in constant awe of the world around us, to be one with all its creation, to soak in the moment, and to fully and truly live the gift of life. It is about allowing the process and the moment to happen, to take place and surrender yourself in your purest, most authentic self, without worry or fear… To just trust in your intuition until the process takes its own shape and reveal itself… and the result is like LIFE in visual form, in its truest physical presence.
Hello, Joejene! If someone, that isn’t very familiar with art asks. How would you describe your art to people?
Joejene: Hi, thank you for this opportunity. My works are mostly abstract paintings and when people ask
me about my work, I say my art is an expression of self-discovery. A discovery of the beauty of
who we are within. A celebration of being alive and thankful to life that I am here.
What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?
Joejene: Doing abstract paintings is not just simply making a beautiful composition of colors and shapes. I
need to feel my work – in its most honest and real state. And with preconceived thoughts, it’s so easy to lose your focus. Getting back into my rhythm or true self has been a challenging part of my process. Feeling my way through the canvas and trusting my intuition is how I overcome my doubts to engage back myself into my creative process.
You say you are painting intuitively. What helps you, or how you connect you’re your inner self?
Joejene: Be consciously present, feel alive and enjoy the moment. That is how I reconnect to my authentic
self. Trusting my intuition is just a wonderful and enjoyable part of my process. Things may not make sense at the beginning but by allowing them to happen through the brush works, scratches on the surface of the canvas, the colors, lines, and shapes all the combination of these elements that seems to be random and yet the whole composition end up just perfectly beautiful, honest and true. Intuition is simply beautiful art.
What is a day of working like in your home-studio? Do you have any rituals that help you get motivated or in “the zone”?
Joejene: I normally work better at night, but I try to assign myself things to do after I paint, to set me up
for the next day. When morning comes, I say thank you to life for a new day and I do somebody stretching just to loosen up. Have a good coffee and breakfast. Live the moment and go on to paint beauty.
You’ve moved from Philippines to Ottawa. How has your style changed since moving, or evolved over the years?
Joejene: Back in the Philippines I was trained in school as a realist painter but afterward I knew I needed to
change my style or creative expression because I was not enjoying it anymore. Abstraction just happened and when I moved here to Ottawa together with my family, I continued to explore and learn more about the process of abstract art and felt really good. Feels like the best of me. Through continuous creative explorations and discovery, I evolved into an artist that seeks the beauty of oneself… and found the gift of life.
What is your most recent piece of art that you have enjoyed working on the most, and why?
Joejene: My “Prime Series” which I started during the pandemic. The concept is basically priming a canvas using a putty knife with gesso, but the canvas is a finished painting. In a way, it’s like painting over the things I knew and learned so I can start fresh. Very liberating, I felt free. I can say it’s my breakout or turning point from the abstract that I know and to finally see my true art.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Joejene: I’ve heard a lot of wonderful and good responses from people about my work. But the ones that made a difference to me were when I was told by a great curator “bring your art to life and your art will bring back life to you” and this guides me to be who I am as an artist. Another is from a visitor viewing our group exhibition who asked me about my works and said to me “never stop painting” to hear that is just pure joy. And lastly, my older sister told me once “you just keep doing paintings and you will get rich” this builds up my confidence and faith in me. I am always thankful for this and of course the love and support of my family that inspires me all the time.
What artists of the past or present have inspired you?
Joejene: Renaissance art, modern art, and street art. I learned and inspired by the works of the great Michelangelo, the purity of forms and lines by Malevich and Piet Mondrian, the joy I get from Miro’s work, the childlike work of Picasso, and the in-your-face work of Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?
Joejene: Unfortunately, because of the pandemic some art shows and art fairs that I am scheduled to participate in are all canceled. So, right now I focus my attention mostly on online galleries, online shows, and social media to promote and share my works. And I am enjoying it because I can connect to people about my art all over the world in real-time and it’s just so exciting and promising as well. I’m hoping for the best.
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Joejene: Live the moment and I am here!
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