ELITO V. CIRCA
Elito Villaflor Circa (born January 28, 1970), better known as "Amangpintor", is a Filipino painter and internationally recognized folk artist, known for his indigenous human hair and blood medium for paintings with mythologism and mythicalism subject matters. He is noted as the "First Hair and Blood Painter" of his generation and known for his signature subject of Legend of Minggan. A father of Contemporary Indigenous Philippine Art and also popularized Hand Painting performances done within five (5) to ten (10) minutes in a canvas of 432 square inches using the three (3) primary colors.
Amangpintor was born to Juan Llagas Circa and Josefina Salazar Villaflor in the old town of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija, Philippines on January 28, 1970. He was the youngest of seven children. His education was ensured through a scholarship from World Vision Foundation under poster parents Cynthia and Leigh Brown from Perth, Australia who supported his studies all the way through secondary school (awarded Artist of the Year) until he graduated at the Central Luzon State University with a degree in Elementary Education.
Early life and education
Amangpintor has no formal training in painting. He started drawing, using charcoals from the stove in their kitchen, on the walls of their house in Pantabangan town while he was six years old. Estimated 600 works of arts since 1980, which he gave to some of his teachers, friends and neighbors during that time. He also painted a series of 15 paintings for the "Legend of Minggan" which depicted the courtship of the giant "Minggan" to "Mariang Sinukuan" who was supposed to be dwelling in Mount Arayat. Amangpintor also made a series of paintings about the place of his birth, depicted about the evacuation of the residents of Pantabangan when their town was about to be submerged by Pantabangan Dam.
Medium and Philosophy
Paintbrush Making from strands of hair of the Painter 1978 First Indigenous Painting, mixed media with soy souce, water and Tinting Color and enamel paint on flywood In 1978, Amangpintor started to use his own hair to make his paintbrushes with the help of his father, a carpenter during that time and started bringing home small pieces of plywood and some paints. He is a unique Filipino folk artist who uses his own hair for his paintbrushes. At the age of 15, Amangpintor continue to paint with large canvases using indigenous materials and natural raw materials such as soy sauce, charcoal from fireplace, extract from tomato, onion and from fruits.
In 1982, as the beginning, Amangpintor also started signing his drawing using his own blood to authenticate the artworks and later explore and experiment it as a medium in paintings especially for flowers and related heart love feeling subjects. He calls it "Blood is life and love, love with sacrifice". “as a child, because I devoted and so much in love in everything. So when I injured, I would not dispose my blood because I regretted every single drop of it, so I just using it on my canvas instead. No matter what people say, my work of art is not meant to become famous. What matters most is to leave mark and prove the reincarnation ” In 1992 Amangpintor continue to paint "Lukso ng Dugo" (Filipino term) he uses his blood as medium for some of his painting and incorporates his hair in capturing on the canvass images of human persons or nature’s view, one who possesses the characteristics of truth in himself and he who refrains from colonialism in thoughts and materials. Combined with the philosophy of the painter who molded his thoughts and well-being, he is able to build self-confidence and self-esteem since his childhood.
First Filipino artist uses own blood as paint and hairs as brushes and mix it with paint to have an effect on canvas. He believed in reincarnation, which he will be reborn and recognize his paintings. But even if blood is not used in painting his subject, he always signs his name in his work of art with his own blood. The significance of his works connects arts and sciences principles through DNA (the Hair and Blood) as authenticity and also his unique spiritual beliefs especially in God.
"Lukso ng Dugo"-"when a loved one left a family and have not seen each other for a long time, and an unexplainable feeling of happiness when they see each other again. This is a basis that the blood connects the family and the mutual feelings in this situation. The folk painter believes that painting his blood on canvass creates pieces that symbolize life, love, and sacrifice. Most of his masterpieces also depict rural life in his town in Nueva Ecija. “ I believe in one body, two souls and one spirit [Body+(Logic & Memory)+Heart], Spirit is a divine gift of God supported by body and souls. Spirit has an infinite life, constant like particles in the universe. Spirit has special power given by God and that's Love and Faith ” His works were feature in the different TV station in the Philippines and earlier at Ripley's Believe It or Not.
In 2015 "Fight of the Century", Amangpintor also created Manny Pacquiao's large painting using his own blood. This painting of Pacquiao title "Manny Pacquiao Hearted Fist" depicts the different aspects of the boxer's life, including his stint as a singer, face charisma and his role as a congressman. He also emphasized Pacquiao's religiosity in this painting.
In 2016, A montage of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte's familiar poses along with the official seal of the president and other symbolic materials were created using Amangpintor's blood as he believes that using his blood to create works of art signifies life. His "Duterte in the Center of the Triangle" painting have become viral online after posted it on the internet.
Art of Healing He is also known for actual hand painting performance of nature view. Using four colors (Red, Yellow, Blue and white) on a 24 X 26 inches canvas, he will be finished the painting for almost 5 to 10 minutes. Amangpintor is always invited to perform in different events and occasions like provincial, town, school, university and agency foundations even in wedding and birthday.
Most of his acrylic and oil paintings depict the cycle of life, spiritual belief and incorporates healing colors, lines gestures and symbolic shapes that he belief these will be a key for future.
In 2015, Amangpintor also started to new indigenous painting innovation title A Thousand and One Lives as a gesture of dedicating of life in this noble profession of educating the youth. The 1001 teachers and DepEd employees was participated and literally donated parts of their body, their hair and blood incorporated in the mural. This masterpiece is not only a great work of art but also the first of its kind in the whole world.
A Writer Amangpintor as a writer: it was manifested during his childhood life in early 70s through his own created and personalized 5.5 X 4.25 inches comics normally 8 to 12 pages that he want to educate his playmate and to share his own stories. In early 80s, one of the popular written articles of Amangpintor that gives significance to the history of his town is the Legend of Minggan noted as "Sulat babala ng panahon sa bayan" in Filipino. He relates the story of Minggan to the actual history relocation of submerged old town in 1973. Based on his article, giant Minggan returned in 1973 to finish his promises of love to Mariang Sinukuan, a goddess of nature who lives in Mount Arayat Pampanga. His articles gives big impact and encouragement and inspired the people of Pantabangan and the Mayor during year 2007 and adopted this legend as landmark that can be seen now in town arch and he used this article to promote the Pantabangan as Tourism destination.
Amangpintor as a music writer and composer: most of his written and composed music are based on his spiritual beliefs, nature attachment and community based development advocay. These include (Filipino Term): Hinihilom ng Pasko, Pag-ibig ni Minggan and Langkay na Signal.
An Art Educator Amangpintor as an art educator: Amangpintor comics, stories, poems, musics and articles are his bases to pursue his passion for teaching arts. He was sometimes in the sitio or rural area to share his thought, talents and skills in the field of arts, and prioritizing the rural children to teach and to help them to find their own style and materials for painting. He also introduced indigenous materials for painting including making of brush out of strands of their hair.