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Artist Statement

My work aims to achieve a balance between the old eastern traditional artistry of rural Filipino imagery and the more commercial, polished, design-oriented art of western popular culture; therein lies the association of my work to the confirmation of my identity and the exploration of my spirituality.

Identifying myself as both being Filipino and American, I have been exposed to contrasting cultural influences over the course of my lifetime. This has led me to an artistic pursuit of creating a culture and identity of my own. My work has been and continues to integrate the comic cartoon characters of graphics and animation with tribal textile patterns, religious iconography, sacred texts, and old folk tales spoken to me in my childhood.

The use of strong color schemes encased in solid dark lines is an early theme in my work, but over time it matured as depth was integrated. This was to create an illusion of the grey area between dream and reality. An exploration in the potential of my concepts slowly branched out from paper and canvas onto cut out cardboard figures, resin sculptures and small installations. This approach has led me to create tapestries out of the rural and the modern, while also putting something new to the table – a sacrament of which all may partake in. Ultimately, my art is not merely a display of craft and skill, but remains the ultimate expression of my spirituality and the manifestation of my convictions and philosophies. 

 

Matt Yrad was born in the Negros Island Region, Philippines, in 1992. In 2005, his family moved to California, where he grew up and was exposed to comics, graffiti and skate culture. In 2013, he moved back to the Philippines to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Painting and a career in the growing art scene of Bacolod City. He then returned to the United States in 2016 to continue his artistic practice.

His beginnings as a visual artist are attributed to family members well acquainted with art, the influence of video games, comics and western cartoons, as well as the introduction of fiction and folk stories that led to the creation of worlds and characters. He has never considered one place home; by making different places home he has immersed himself in the diversity of cultures and perspectives that have allowed him to hone his craft through the years. With the development of his work was the introduction of spirituality and the synthesis of his eastern folk sensibilities and western philosophies through line, color, and depth.

His works integrate personal derivations of Roman Catholic imagery, tribal history, post-colonial discourse, Filipino folklore, and ancient writing, alongside popular art forms, into pieces that hope to resonate with an audience sharing the same sentiments and convictions. He works in a variety of media from oil/ acrylic, drawing up to three-dimensional works. Matt’s awards include: Best in Thesis for Painting from La Consolacion College. He was also Semi-Finalist in the Metrobank National Painting Competition and participated in an exhibition for Art Fair Philippines 2016.

 

He is currently based in Southern California.