Art shouldn’t need explaining… or press releases


It hit me like a king-sized kaing of kamote.

One day a few months ago, I had a “eureka” moment.

Why has art never taken off in this country?

Why are paintings appreciated only by those who can afford to purchase them?

The answer: masyadong hebigat.

Sadly, most of our artists are too artsy fartsy – feeling sophisticated and “deep” that they end up painting only for themselves, their peers and their favorite art reviewers.

They go for very eccentric themes and executions and label their work with strange titles like “Dementia 07.13” or “DigitalScapes”.

Too much angst, too little joy.

Simple is the best.

Today’s art scene is no different from the music scene in our Filipinas in the 70s.

Only the “bakya” wrote tunes in Tagalog then.

To be “in”, homegrown tunes had to be in English… and written like… well… poetry.

And if you still insisted on creating in the ‘mother tongue’… the areglo had to be within the kundiman genre – slow with predictable chords and rondalla backing… and no distorted guitars or Rhodes piano.


Well, guess what… a bunch of long haired guys with a band name utilizing one of the filthiest, most popular junk food in the world changed all that.


I felt that such a bold initiative can be replicated.

So I gathered some very talented – but non-conformist – friends… and pitched my idea.

What if...

Paintings were like LP album covers in the 70s?


Uncomplicated. Well thought out. Visually exciting. Worth collecting.

“But with millions of songs in the world… where do we begin?”, smart friend asked.

Brought out my list.

And I showed them:

Ikaw ang Miss Universe ng Buhay Ko • Pers Lab • Manila • Bongga Ka, ‘Day • Annie Batungbakal • Ikaw Pa Rin • O, Lumapit Ka • BADAF Forever • Rewind • Heaven Sent • Ayayayyy, Boracay • Sa Isip Ko • Langit Na Naman • Thank You For Your Love • I Love You Po • Amoy Pinipig • Pan de Sal Sa Umaga • Dati-rati ang Pangit Mo • Dying to Tell You • Pusong Mamon • Panaginip • Behh, Buti Nga • You Make Me Blush • Bandang Pinoy • Careful, Careful • Just Believe

While shamelessly adding, “FYI, I wrote them all.”

Thus, PERS LAB ATBP was born.

My playful lyrics – interpreted on canvas.

A breakthrough art event fused with the stirring soul of Original Pilipino Music.

Nothing like this before.

The maverick artists.

Let me introduce each one to you…

Nelson Cruz is a veteran adman and has spent many years as an expat creative director in Malaysia and Indonesia. His work is always spiked with wit and “down-to-earthness”… and this is clearly obvious in the key visual of our art project.


Had the honor of working with him recently on the “values” campaign of the Lopez Group.




Bong Pedro is currently a Creative Director at Draft FCB… and a card-carrying, diehard fan of The Beatles & Batman. Aside from numerous compelling ad campaigns, his claim to fame are his artwork for Hugo Boss featured in billboards in New York and Madrid. Plus dazzling T-shirt designs that have wowed hip souls worldwide, including film director Tim Burton.



Jack Skellingmoon2 (1)


Myra Mendoza-Portillo. Myra is an artist who has been avoiding the limelight… until now. She was a pretty teen icon in the 70s and was seen in just about every issue of the iconic ‘Jingle Magazine’. Eventually, she became a Camay Girl… and pursued a career as a talent caster… discovering some of the prettiest Pinays along the way.

She specializes in a hard-to-master medium: watercolor.




Dennis Magdamo. Art Director + Photographer.

A wealth of experience as a visual artist. Years of work in various local and international advertising agencies, a string of awards in photography, advertising, graphic design and digital art. He is currently working freelance in his single-proprietorship “Jetshoot Photography and Graphic Design”.jets3jets1




We rounded the line-up by inviting one of the country’s most celebrated and uncompromising artists: Fernando Modesto.



Would I pass up this chance to work with the very best?

Of course not. So join na rin ako.


Join na rin kayo. PERS LAB ATBP. Oct. 4 -14 at ArtGalileia (The Fort).


2 thoughts on “Art shouldn’t need explaining… or press releases”

  1. Correct ka diyan Dennis, masyado artsy kaya di na na appreciate ng masa at kulang sa art edu sa pinas Kasi maraming gutom at NASA gallery na di nila mapuntahan. mabuhay ka at iyang art group ninyo , sana lumawak pa ang audience ninyo. tungkol naman sa Banda mong Hotdog kayo ang pasimuno ng Manila Sound, na Kung Hindi pumotok walang OPM ngayon. Ingat ka lagi at keep on writing

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