For some artists, art is a co-construction with the audience. For Ricknibert Balingan, this co-construction leads to shared meanings. It’s also his way of contributing and enriching other people’s lives.
His journey is not easy. This musician, painter, and coach to young aspiring artists at the Eshi Shack Art Cafe has had his detours— but ultimately, he decided that art would be the path toward the better version of himself.
“Dati akong sales person sa isang insurance company,” Ricknibert says about his previous career. “Dahil nagsawa ako sa routine o paulit-ulit na ginagawa, naisip ko na bakit hindi ko na lang gamitin ang talent ko.” (Read: Art Bolinas: Why He Quit Corporate Life to Paint Images of God)
And use his talent, he did. Realizing that art wasn’t supposed to be stagnant, Ricknibert allotted time and energy toward practice. He reiterates, “kaya sinubukan kong mag-practice nang mag-practice. Mahirap sa simula dahil walang nagtitiwala sa gawa ko even my family. Pero minahal ko na ang passion ko at ginawa ko nang career ito.”
Since then, Ricknibert hasn’t stopped creating art. “Every night, every day, lagi lang akong nagdo-drawing using Mongol pencil.”
Karton Art as His Niche
Among art circles, Ricknibert sets himself apart by using acrylic, oil, watercolor, and pencil on “karton” or cardboards. He says it serves as a vehicle for people to think about sustainability. Art, after all, is everywhere even in things we consider as trash.
“Para din masubukan ng iba na pwede pala gawing art ang bagay na naging basura na para sa iba. Pwede pala maging art ang karton,” he tells My Pope Philippines. (Read: 5 Easy Ways for a Sustainable Lifestyle)
More than his #KartonArt, Ricknibert pays attention to his subjects especially the typical hardworking Filipinos. “Inspirasyon ko gumawa ng art kapag may nakikita ako sa paligid ko na mga taong nagsusumikap lalo na ung mga salat sa buhay, mga taong nangangarap at nagsumikap. Dun ako nakakabuo ng mga imahe kung pano ko mailalabas sa art.”
Sharing and Inspiring
At the end of the day, Ricknibert always goes back to the reason why he quit his job to pursue art. ”My art? It’s about reality, our own selves.. Like if ano ba ang pwede nating ma-share sa ibang tao? Ano ba ang pwede nating ma-contribute as people?” he asks.
Ricknibert also has an answer: he’ll keep using and sharing his talent. He wants to teach and collaborate with indigenous people and hold exhibits. (Read: Alla Belisario Uses Soil in Painting – and We Love Him for It!)
“Minsan, yung art na din ang nagbibigay buhay sa atin pero hindi yun napapansin ng iba dahil na din sa ibang nakagawian. Pero kung mabibigyan natin ito ng pansin..magkakaroon ng malaking pagbabago di lang sa ating sarili kundi sa maraming aspeto ng buhay,” he says.
Check out Ricknibert’s #KartonArt through his social media accounts: Instagram and Facebook.