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Mel Vera Cruz started being an artist at age 5. He was influenced by his older brother drawing mountains and skies. He immediately felt the bite and started drawing for himself. He was fascinated by it. He already new his direction early in life.

During high school he already mastered line drawing because the pencil was the first and only material he got while growing up in the province of Quezon, Pilipinas. There was nobody to encourage him. Only his instincts. He went on his life drawing all the time be it Spiderman or an image from a movie ad. These were his first training in art. He went on to college and took up advertising at the University of Santo Tomas, Manila where he got his degree and his formal training. After college, he went to work as a junior artist in Avellana and Associates. A top advertising firm and he went on to become Art Director for the agency's major clients. He won numerous awards including best illustration at the Philippine Advertising Congress during his time at the agency. After producing countless print ads/posters, hundreds of commissioned portraits and hundreds of still lifes, Mel got bored. It was during this time when he started producing experimentations in painting. His first love. He doesn't want to be confined in one direction.

Doble Cara

I am weak, I am strong. I am ugly, I am beautiful. I am evil, I am a saint. I am humble, I have too much pride. I am selfish, I'm compassionate. I love, I hate. I'm rich, I'm poor. I feel pain, I am invincible. I have nothing, I have everything. I'm water, I am fire.

The balance of life. This is what I believe in. For me, life will not exist without the opposite. There will never be peace. People have to have war to have peace. There will always be a battle to achieve calmness. Then back to chaos again.

Mel VC

 

After nine years of advertising art and painting, Mel moved to San Francisco. He was happy because he always felt that being an artist has an advantage because the knowledge or talent never leaves the body and he always carried it anywhere he went. Being in a new country gave Mel a lot of fresh energy and a lot of reason to continue what he is doing. Being Filipino, being a minority in the giant's world excited him. There are a lot to show and a lot to learn he said. The experience also gave Mel a broader perspective of who he is. He met other artists from other countries and different minority groups. He recently met prominent artists such as Carlos Villa, Santiago Bose and Manuel Ocampo. He traveled to New York to see the art center of the world and attended a sketch session at the Art Student's League of NY. His current experience had a great influence in his recent artworks.

Mel was known by his colleagues as a very fast worker and he can produce artworks in no time. He developed a lot of styles and never stopped searching. For him, one lifetime isn't enough for learning. He influenced a lot of other commercial artists to produce their own art. Not just to copy. It is more liberating to produce your own art than copying he said. This is when he and other advertising artists formed the group called Madrugada. The group was initially formed just for artist friends within the company where they worked for but the group kept on growing. They found their reason to exist because commercial artists haven't received too much respect as "artists." To be accepted and respected as real artists - this is their battle cry. They proved their worth by producing deep expressions during their yearly exhibitions in galleries around Manila.

Mel sees his career in painting just beginning and he vowed to keep on making art for the rest of his life so prepare your senses and be ready for more of Mel's works.


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