Friday, February 14, 2014

Tony Velasquez: A Retrospective Exhibit at Cevio Art Haus

Wazzup Pilipinas!

A retrospective exhibit that will showcase three decades of Tony Velasquez, the Father of Philippine comics' original works from the 1930's to the 1950's20, is scheduled on February 15 up to 28 at Cevio Art Haus in Pasig City. This exhibit pays tribute to the man who pioneered cartoons and comic illustrations in the Philippines. Opening ceremonies will be held on February 15 at 7 pm.

Velasquez was a Filipino illustrator and cartoonist widely recognized and regarded as the Father of Tagalog comics and as the pioneer and founding father of the Philippine comics industry. During his career as a comic artist, Velasquez created more than 300 cartoon characters, some of whom became household names in Filipino homes, such as Kenkoy, Tsikiting Gubat, Talakitok, Talimusak, and Ponyang Halobaybay. The show will feature Kenkoy, Ponyang Halobaybay, and other personal memorabilia of the comic icon.

Velasquez created the very first serialized Filipino cartoon strip, Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy (‘Kenkoy’s Antics’) in 1928. Arguably the most influential comic strip in the Philippines, Mga Kabalbalan ni Kenkoy, opened the floodgates that started the tradition of cartoon strips in the Philippines.

Above is the map to give directions on how to go to the Cevio Art Haus located near the bustling district of the Ortigas CBD, but in the quaint, hidden streets of 60 San Isidro St., Barangay Kapitlyo, Pasig City.

Cevio Art Haus is the newest contemporary art gallery to open in the Metro. It's main thrust is to showcase the exemplary talent of budding, young Filipino Visual Painters from across the Islands and give equal opportunity and the proper adulation that they truly deserve.

A home for all, Cevio Art Haus opens its doors not just to visual arts but to all get-togethers with a common interest. May it be any of the vast creative genres or a social gathering of people in a cozy, private and accessible venue for everyone to enjoy.

Kenkoy, from the words of Nonoy Marcelo "is the Philippines’ first true pop icon. He is a ludicrous portrait of the Filipino who pathetically tries but barely succeeds in keeping up with his American mentors”. Long before the era of the movie stars and showbiz celebrities, there already was a Philippine pop icon named Francisco Harabas, or more popularly known as Kenkoy. Kenkoy is your everyday funny man. He was a debonnair, bombastic, irreverent, hilarious, and best-loved. Francisco “Kenkoy” Harabas was born on the pages of Liwayway on January 11, 1929.

Ponyang Halobaybay was created by Tony Velasquez in 1932. It is also the title of the same comic strip which was serialized in Liwayway Magazine. Ponyang Halobayabay is a portrait of the modern and materialistic Filipina as opposed to Kenkoy’s Rosing. Ponyang was a lovable woman character with many suitors.

As an artist in Liwayway, Velasquez helped or assisted many other future artists in Philippine komiks get their works published in the magazine. These included Francisco Coching, Mars Ravelo, Jose Zabala-Santos, and J.M. Perez.

In 1947, after retiring from Liwayway, Velasquez founded Ace Publications, which started the comics industry in the Philippines. Under Ace Publications, Velasquez started the publications Pilipino Komiks in 1947, Tagalog Klasiks in 1949, Hiwaga Komiks in 1950, Espesyal Komiks in 1952, Kenkoy Komiks in 1959, and Educational Klasiks Komiks in 1961.

All these comic magazines became bestsellers, making comics production one of the Philippines’ profitable industries. In 1962, Ace Publications was closed down for good because of a laborers’ strike. Later that same year, Velasquez founded the Graphic Arts Service, Inc., or GASI, which also published popular local comic books like Pinoy Komiks, Pinoy Klasiks, Aliwan Komiks, Holiday Komiks, Teens Weekly Komiks, and Pioneer Komiks.

As a pioneer and innovator of the Filipino comics industry, Velasquez’s contributions to Philippine comics culture cannot be emphasized enough.

Reference:, Wikipedia, Cevio Art Haus, etc.,

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