Tag Archives: Artist

GALING PINOY: The Prince of Heroes

by Cynthia de Castro/AJPress
People, young and old alike, love comic book heroes. They enjoy stories of courageous men and women who battle evil and overcome the odds. They dream of being mighty, strong and powerful like superheroes Batman and Superman. The past years, there have been new comic book heroes for the new generation. You see them in the very popular Neotopia series, the Courageous Princess, the Battle Girlz, DragonPro and DinoWars. Behind these famous comic heroes is a Filipino comics creator, writer and illustrator, Rod Espinosa.
Born in the Philippines but based in Texas since 2001, Espinosa has been recognized in the American comic book industry for his outstanding work. Rod’s work on “The Courageous Princess” got him on the nomination list for “Promising New Talent” and also “Best Artist” for the 2000 Ignatz Awards and the 2002 Will Eisner Award nomination list for “Best Title for Younger Readers”. The Ignatz Award recognizes outstanding achievements in comics and cartooning while the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards are considered the “Oscars” of the comic book industry. 

Rod graduated from the Don Bosco Technical College with a certificate in architectural drafting and got a degree in advertising art from University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila. He worked for seven years in various companies in the fields of advertising, software entertainment and film before deciding to pursue a career in the comic book industry. He came to San Antonio, Texas in 2001 to work full-time as a comic book editor and illustrator.

“I like being an illustrator because I get to keep my own hours,” said Rod.  “Actually, I work more hours than normal, but I get to decide when and where, which is a good trade-off. That’s probably the nice thing about being a comic book artist. I can get my projects done early if I work extra hours during the week. It also makes me feel like I’m not part of the rat race. I count myself lucky I don’t have the daily commute or the clockwork hours some people have,” he explained.

As both writer and artist, Rod has also authored theNeotopia series which was published in graphic novel form. In 2006,  Novotopia, the German edition of Neotopia, got a nomination for the Max und Moritz Prize in the category ‘Bester Comic für Kinder’ (best comic book for younger audience). Rod’s comic books include the Battle Girlz series, a Alice in Wonderland, The Alamo, DinoWars, and Metadocs. 

He has also written and conceptualized popular Antarctic Press titles such as  Hunt Monsters, and Herc and Thor.

Aside from comic books, Espinosa has also written and illustrated non-fiction works such as a series of American History comic books dealing with the subjects of George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lewis and Clark, The Boston Tea Party, The Alamo, Jackie Robinson, The Underground Railroad, Abraham Lincoln, Patrick Henry, Cesar Chavez, The American Revolution, the Transcontinental Railroad, and Clara Barton. 

He has also created graphic classic novels such as: Around the World in Eighty Days,  Moby-Dick, William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and William Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. 

Writing and illustrating non-fiction books has been a new experience for Rod. He described it as ” outside the usual realm of the direct market”. Rod said,” Writing and drawing non-fiction has trained me further in doing realistic people. I have learned a lot. Artistically, I’m glad I improved. I am having fun drawing the characters as I based their likenesses on people I know.” 

Espinosa takes great pride in his newest work, the Prince of Heroes, which is an online graphic novel. “It has scenes never before seen in any other format. You get new excitement and entertainment! A treat for online readers,” said Rod. Readers can enjoy Espinosa’s newest work at http://www.princeofheroes.com.

Like any accomplished man will tell you, it takes a lot of hard work to be successful. Rod Espinosa has worked hard to be where he is right now, and all his labor has paid off well. “My work does require a lot of discipline as we are our own task managers, but in the end, it’s worth it,” admitted the “Prince of comic heroes”.   (www.asianjournal.com)

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Asian Contemporary Art Fair Hits New York City: Filipino Painter’s Work Highlighted in Seoul-based Gallery

by Momar Visaya/Asianjournal.com

NEW YORK — The first-ever Asian Contemporary Art Fair debuted at Pier 92 on the Hudson River from November 8 to 12 and enticed more than 20,000 guests during the four-day affair.

The fair featured 76 exhibitors from 10 different countries and the top galleries from the international art market. Hundreds of artists, both young and old, from different Asian countries such as China, India, Japan, South Korea and Vietnam participated.

In the midst of them all stood Leslie de Chavez, the lone Filipino painter, represented by Arario, an art gallery based in Seoul.

De Chavez’s work, alongside Korean artist Hyung Koo Kang’s dominated Arario’s booth at the exhibit. Kang’s huge, monochromatic portraits featured fellow artists, such as Auguste Rodin, which was one of the paintings on display. De Chavez’s work, depicting women, shared the limelight.

De Chavez’s paintings focus on “unique Filipino scenes, culture and history,” according to Jeeah Choi, Arario Gallery’s curator.

“His paintings are dark — literally, since he begins each work by painting the canvas black,” Choi explained.

Two of his paintings at the fair are unusual, because, as the New York Sun described it as “mildly — and, no doubt, ironically — pornographic”.

One was called “Lilly”, a schoolgirl, wearing a T-shirt with an image of Andy Warhol’s “Marilyn”. The racy painting had Lilly pulling up her skirt to reveal her lacy underwear.

The other one, called “Asian Wave”, shows a pair of naked women with the words “here 2 stay”.

“Lilly” and “Asian Wave”, both oil on canvas measuring 195 by 150 centimeters, cost $18,000 each (16,000,000 KRW (Korean won) or 774,000 Philippine pesos).

A third one was slightly hidden from view. It is called Unang Dalaw (First Visit) and in the market for $15,000.

De Chavez held a solo exhibit earlier this year in Beijing and Seoul where most of his paintings were sold. Next year, Arario will bring a solo exhibition of his new work to Switzerland. Plans were also being made to bring some of his paintings to the newly opened Arario Gallery, a 20,000-square-foot space on West 25th Street.

De Chavez is currently based in the Philippines. He stayed in Korea for a year as part of the Neo-Emerging Artists residency. He graduated cum laude from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.


Six life-size statues of Mao Zedong made of shiny stainless steel by Guangci greet visitors at the exhibition’s entrance. Ken Johnson of the New York Times noted his reappearance in works by some of the artists in the exhibit was noted by.

“The vaguely mocking way he is so frequently represented in contemporary Chinese art hints at a deeper post-traumatic anxiety and, perhaps, an urge to exorcise him,” Johnson said.

Billed as the first international art fair to focus exclusively on contemporary Asian art, the exhibit had collectors, artists, dealers and art-lovers during the four-day affair.

There was also a special 26-artist group exhibition organized by the independent curators Eric C. Shiner and Lilly Wei called Simulasian: Refiguring ‘Asia’ for the 21st Century. It aimed to examine “the ways in which today’s artists are questioning, and enlarging, the definition of ‘Asian-ness.’” (www.asianjournal.com)

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