Being an artist takes a lot of courage. For young ones, art entails stepping out of comfort zones, seeking mentors and ways that could elevate the craft, and trusting that it would all work out.
Bernardo Braga Oronos Jr. or BJ left his home in Bulacan to follow his passion for painting. Now living in Batangas, he’s happy to be surrounded by people who share the same passion for painting. (Read: Alla Belisario Uses Soil in Painting – and We Love Him for It!)
“[In Batangas], I met a lot of great artists and my mentor who guides me in the field of visual arts,” he tells My Pope Philippines.
All About Passion
Like many artists, BJ started painting at a young age. “I started joining some competitions,” he says. Luckily, he also attended schools that encouraged him to draw more and improve his work.
“I was the former editorial cartoonist of my previous schools. I made it up to competitions at the national level during my last years in high school,” says BJ. (Read: The Modern Day Dad: Cartoonist talks about work-life integration)
Brick by brick, these favorable experiences turned art into a passion that BJ says he’ll pursue for the long haul. “My passion drives me to continue doing arts. I’ll stop at nothing until my art speaks to the world, for the world.”
Looking at BJ’s work, one could easily say it evokes childlike wonder, like flipping through children’s books. It’s BJ’s ways of combining themes in Filipino culture with his signature of exaggeration.
“My art style is inspired by the great masters of the Philippine art scene, and then I develop it with my style in cartoons. Exaggerated and elongated, that’s how I portray my characters,” explains BJ. (Read: 3 Pinoy Komiks That Are Worth Checking Out on penlab.ink)
He doesn’t shy away from the common. “I think of concepts that are too general like mother and child, family, harvest,” he says. But like a true artist, he pushes the common by “splashing and messing around [with colors].”
This method of madness works as his paintings have become staples in online art exhibitions since 2019.
Art Provides Solace
BJ says his art is rough and twisted because he wants people to realize that life is messy, but art provides solace. “I want my art to give hope to those who are having a terrible day, those who are hopeless and lonely. Even if life’s twisted, we can always turn around and believe it’ll be okay.”
With his family, mentors, and friends as inspiration, BJ wants to continue his art by embracing the process. “My plan is to move forward, step by step. I believe I’ll make it to the finish line. I want to share my deepest desire to the world through my work,” he says.
Find BJ’s creative, stylized caricatures on Instagram and Facebook.