Since we moved to our new studio late last year, I’ve been receiving compliments about how the Startalk studio looks so huge on TV and, well, even magnificent. A lot of the credit goes to our art designer, Philipp Ines, who embellished it (from the concept of Leila Bago, who heads the GMA 7 art department) and continues to improve it with every edition of the show. (Aside from Startalk, he also works on the set of Mel & Joey).
A Fine Arts graduate from the State University, he is also a talented painter and does great portraits. Recently, in fact, he and another artist, Josue MangRobang Jr. opened their second joint exhibitions titled engKWENTrO at the Art Asia Gallery in SM Megamall.
Exposed to showbiz personalities because of his work, I asked him to name the people in the entertainment profession he’d want to paint and why if given the chance. Unlike other respondents who would always put Marian Rivera, Dingdong Dantes, Richard Gutierrez, Angel Locsin and other glamorous stars, Philipp Ines’ choices surprised me. They’re totally different. Look at his very unconventional list:
Joey de Leon — He is one of my idols among our comedians. His comic style is simple, but very effective and funny. He has depth. If I were to paint him, I’d put a double image of him on a single panel using the same composition: One would make you think and ponder, while the other would just make you leave it at that. This is my tribute to him for his playful imagination that seems to be working all the time.
Babalu — I grew up watching his comedies. I liked him best when he would put one over the other characters in the story. My memory of him is that of a man with a rolled newspaper ready to hit another comic lightly on the head. I even laughed at the way he stuttered. How would I paint him? I will put him on a square panel with a newspaper page on the background that would keep reminding me of my memory of him.
Panchito — Another comedian with a unique style. I particularly liked him when he appeared in one of the versions of Ibong Adarna. I guess it was his facial reactions only he was able to express that made me like him as a comic. If ever I paint him, I’d play around with his facial expressions.
Dolphy — Just like the rest of the movie-going public, I will always consider him as the King of Comedy. To this day, I admire him for his timing, his comic delivery and the way he portrays his every role on screen. I would like to paint him if only for his slanted pair of eyes that are different from other artists. These are among his assets that help him become truly effective as an actor.
Chiquito — This was always my image of him: Dark skin and hair full of pomade. Those looks often made him win the sympathy of the viewers almost effortlessly. Why would I want to paint him? If only for his great contribution to the field of local comedy. Yes, I would paint him the way I remember him: Dark skin, pomade and all.
Long Mejia — It’s a pity I never met him on GMA 7. When I got to GMA 7 (late 2003), he had already moved to the other station — I think. But I’ve always been entertained by his comedy. His style is that of a humbug. But he is very effective at that. If ever I do get to paint him, I’d interpret him as a clown.
Jose Manalo — His comedy is the natural type. It’s like it just flows from his person. Whenever he is on screen — whether on TV or in the movies — I always sit down to watch him. Just like Long Mejia, I’d paint him as a clown on canvas.
Lolit Solis — It’s a pleasure working with her. She is caring and so funny. Come to think of it, she is also like a comedian. She is brutally frank and a true fighter when it comes to hosting showbiz-oriented talk shows. How do I paint her? How else, but with her image against a clock to signify that she could use more time to thank all her sponsors on Startalk? Wouldn’t that be so apt?