(Mixed Media Artist | 69yo | Alabang, PH)
Ernie Sta. Ana has made beautiful pastel and acrylic paintings through the years, but his art is not confined to the canvas. During the pandemic, he experimented with laundry wires (sampayan) and formed organic figures. He also recently dug up old toys, combined them with scrap metal, and created classic vintage pieces. His other creative outlet has been to transform old, dilapidated houses into aesthetically pleasing structures.
As with many artists, he struggled to find his own style and be patient with his own growth as an artist. He also had to use the other side of his brain to strategize his own marketability. His strength comes from his family, who have been consistently supportive, and actively encouraging throughout his journey.
He has achieved the artist’s dream. He has immersed fully in his art, expressing himself through his creativity, while managing to afford a comfortable life for his family.
Ernie has embraced the different phases of his creativity from depicting life with simple lines and play of colors, to transforming dilapidated houses into inviting architecture to creating classic vintage pieces from scrap metal and junk.
Starting from a child who doodles his teachers’ and his classmates’ faces, and in awe of buildings and structures, he has become a man who despite continuous struggles, has perpetually found his balance.
FTV: What materials do you use?
ESA: I started with pastel and acrylic painting but it has since evolved to various forms of art canvas, especially during the lockdown. I had to be creative with how I can continue my craft given limited materials while stuck at home.
FTV: How would you describe your style?
ESA: I would describe my style as soft geometric cubism. I like using geometrical shapes that depict real simple life and enjoy playing with vibrant hues. However, sometimes I also deviate from modern cubism and experiment with accidental, free flowing play of colors.
FTV: How did you start as an artist?
ESA: I’ve always been very passionate for the arts. In my younger years, I remember always doodling – faces of my classmates and teachers, scenes throughout the day among others. When our class would go on museum field trips, most of my classmates would be so fascinated with the history. I, on the other hand, would be interested in the building’s design and architecture. I just always loved doing and appreciating art, which is why I took Fine Arts, major in Advertising and Interior Design. My first job was in advertising, an ad agency who was the first to call and give me a job, but ultimately decided to be on my own. I focused full time on real estate and painting as a career, which have become another perfect canvas for my creativity.
FTV: Was your family supportive of your art?
ESA: Yes, my family, especially my wife, brothers and in-laws, has always been very supportive. I wouldn’t have been able to attain success in this field – which, by my own definition is enjoying my art while also making good money from it – if not for my family’s support.
FTV: What were the challenges?
ESA: Like in any other field, being an artist can be challenging – trying to find your own style, striving to be patient with your own artistic evolution, expanding the reach of my art, etc. But these can be overcome with a clear strategy, consistency and focus. It also helps to surround yourself with a strong support system who’ll toss ideas with you, which in my case was my family.
FTV: What inspires you to pursue art?
ESA: Art has been my outlet for my self expression and endless creativity. I especially like finding beauty in the uncommon – in any kind of medium. For my paintings, it was about finding a unique way to depict life with simple lines and play of colors, while still arresting the attention of my audience. As mentioned, I’ve also ventured into real estate and architecture – specifically looking at dilapidated houses to renovate and flip. More recently, I’ve been playing with scrap metal and junk. During the lockdown, I experimented with laundry wires (sampayan) to create metal sculptures and foraged for old wooden toys in junk shops to refurbish into classic vintage pieces.
FTV: How has your art journey been like?
ESA: My journey as an artist is a continuous evolution of finding inspiration in everyday life and playing with new media to interpret my concepts.
What’s another profession you would have gotten into?
I would have loved to try my hand in Interior Design with houses as alternative canvas for my creativity.
FTV: Are there any other artists in the family?
FTV: What are your goals and dreams as an artist?
ESA: Success for an artist ultimately depends on how he/she defines it. For me, it’s about striking a balance of turning this passion into a sustainable living, while having my creativity acknowledged and appreciated by others. By these standards, I believe I can say I’ve had my own fair share of success. I do hope though to be able to inspire others to try out a similar journey – to pursue their passions for the arts.