ARAL. The earth is revolving and all things broken will always transform into something good.
This statement is from a text message sent to me by artist Ral Arrogante after exchanging personal stories about life and relationships one afternoon in his studio.
COPPER, ALUMINIUM, ATBP. When pieces of junk shop-finds like copper wires, aluminum sheets, parts of broken gadgets get into the hands of Ral, they are transformed into works of art whose images and themes have become the artist’s trademark in the local art world.
Fashioned from aluminum sheets and copper wires are miniature Badjao houses on stilts, house boats, food carts on wheels, dragonflies and beetles.
RAL ARROGANTE. These imaginative creations that were put together from non-traditional medium for sculpture are just some of Ral’s favorites subjects and of those who admire his meticulous works.
Like his favorite medium, Ral took different corporate jobs after college that have no relation to his art before becoming a full-time artist at age 42. Today he is a respected artist who leads the Society of Philippine Sculptors and an active leader of the Art Association of the Philippines.
THE BAT CAVE. Ral’s workshop is located in three rooms of a multi-level parking space where he stores his junk shop finds side-by-side with his coveted creations. In one room, Ral showed us a Chinese junk with delicate sails made of copper sheets and a food cart on wheels made of recycled aluminum sheet used for printing broadsheets.
Ral thoughtfully works on copper and brass to fit his art because they don’t rust.
COPPER SHEET. While the paint brush is for a painter, the chisel is for a wood sculptor, pliers, hammers, and scissors that come in different sizes and purpose are Ral’s main tools. In all his works, he uses his hands in twisting and bending copper and aluminum sheets, stitching pieces tight together using copper wires.
Attached in every artwork is a thin copper sheet where he assigns a number stamp to track his works and engraves his signature.
EPILOGUE. Ral started doing art as a kid. He created his first assemblage out of discarded objects he finds at home.
In another text message he said: I see myself in Joaquin, wanting to play with things that adults may not necessarily understand. Thanks again. -Ral
-Eve of the Divine Mercy Sunday | Eastertide 2015