It’s the oil paintings of Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Tiffany, and former member Jessica, that caught my eye the moment I stepped inside Whitespace for the Hallyu Art Fair.
Each idol was painted on a square canvas. Taeyeon and Jessica were painted in strong contrasts of light and dark, giving the paintings dramatic effect. Meanwhile, Tiffany was painted surrounded in roses, colors rich and deep.
Daniel Evangelista is the painter behind these portraits. He painted Taeyeon and Jessica during his college days, while he painted Tiffany last August, on the day of Girls’ Generation’s tenth debut anniversary. He proudly admits to being a SONE since the girls’ debut.
Although Daniel has participated in exhibitions, he said he has long waited for something like Hallyu Art Fair to happen. And he’s glad it finally did. “I’ve had contacts with fan clubs [for similar events], but there are only a few interested, and I only know a few people who showcase their artwork in a medium similar to mine,” he said. “Also, the art fair is more concentrated on being purely an exhibit, so there are no performers and special guests. All of us are new to this event.”
For the love of art and K-Pop
The Hallyu Art Fair is a refreshing K-Pop-related event this year in the midst of K-Pop concerts and conventions. In fact, I could say it’s even relaxing. After signing at the registration area, I walked into the venue, took a look at the artworks, and the display of albums and lightsticks, and that was it.
This was the atmosphere that Big Events Management had in mind when they came up with Hallyu Art Fair. Their tagline was “No Competition.” Just pure art and love for K-Pop.
Big Events Management has always been looking for unique concepts for K-Pop-related events beyond the usual conventions, and Hallyu Art Fair was one of them.
“We created Hallyu Art Fair because the K-Pop fan artists are not someone we see all the time,” said Managing Director Rom Castillo. “Sometimes you would go, ‘That’s a cool poster! I wonder who made that?’ or if you see a fan club, you would ask, ‘Who’s their digital artist?’” Thus, the Hallyu Art Fair was organized to encourage more appreciation for Filipino K-Pop fan artists.
After polishing the details of the event, Big Events Management released a call for artists to “audition” their work, as well as for K-Pop fans to “lend” their albums and lightsticks for display for the event. Castillo said that they were surprised at the number of entries, which kept coming even after their set deadline.
Different artwork, same love for K-Pop
Each of the fan artists who made Big Events Management’s final cut come from different backgrounds. Some are still students, others have jobs. There are art majors, while others have picked up art as a hobby and as a stress-reliever. Most of them also have never displayed their works in an exhibit before.
If there’s one thing they have in common, however, is their love for K-Pop and expressing their love for K-Pop through art.
One of the artists, Patty Tan, displayed six of her artworks for her favorite group, SEVENTEEN, inspired by the group’s songs. The bottom panel, in particular, showed each of the members in backdrops of different cities around the world. Tan said the cities stand for the cities mentioned in SEVENTEEN’s song Check In.
Other fan artists displayed artworks of idols such as Monsta X, TWICE, EXO, BIG BANG, OFFROAD, and Red Velvet, each in their distinct styles.
But perhaps the artworks that stood out the most where the large cloth banners of BlackPink, BTS, EXO, and TWICE.
AJ Nueva, who created realistic digital artworks of EXO and Red Velvet, said that being a K-Pop fan gave him a unique style in his art. “The span of K-Pop, as a genre, is different from that in the West. I’m the only K-Pop fan among my circle of friends, so my style has an edge.”
Fan artists on the spotlight
It’s in this event that K-Pop fan artists are put on the spotlight, and in a way the artists want it to be.
“[The Hallyu Art Fair] is a good start for underrated artists to show of their work,” says Nica Hilario, who made artwork for Monsta X.
The fan artists were in agreement that there is not much exposure for K-Pop fans beyond those who cover songs and dances. “I think this [the Hallyu Art Fair] is gonna pave way for more fan artists in the Philippines,” Hilario added.
BIG BANG and OFFROAD fan artist Amor Amores also said that this was K-Pop fan artists’ chance to shine and be noticed beyond the Internet, especially if they’re not “fandom famous.” “This is also a way for K-Pop fans to see that they can idolize not only their idols, but also the talented fans.”
Hallyu Art Fair 2018?
Castillo said that he was satisfied with the audience turnout in the art fair, and he hopes that they will be able to organize another art fair next year, hopefully as a two-day event in a bigger venue, and hopefully with more artist participation.
Even the fan artists enjoyed themselves. “I’ve achieved the highest goal in my life as a K-Pop fan [through the Hallyu Art Fair],” Hyuna and EXO fan artist Pauline Romulo says with a laugh.
Big Events Management is also organizing more unique K-Pop-related events. Castillo mentioned that they will be organizing a K-Pop Fun Run, also happening next year.
Asked if she would participate in next year’s Hallyu Art Fair, Patty brightened up and said, “Sure! Why not?”
Photos by Dana Fernandez