5 Up-and-coming Artists To Look Out For At Sotheby's First Online Auction

Witness the works of several Filipino artists in this exclusive auction

Art connoisseurs and collectors are always on the lookout for a new artist or the next masterpiece to own. Though some prefer to acquire works of great masters from the local or international scene, others delight in exploring the works of up-and-coming artists. Sotheby’s will feature new artists in their first online auction exclusive to Southeast Asian Art. From November 20 to December 4 this year, they aim to reach a wider and younger audience. Hence, Sotheby’s have gone digital to allow ease and convenience of bidding. The roster includes five artists, each featuring unique styles and character.

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Keiichi Tanaami

The 82-year old artist has witnessed Japan in World War II and the country’s journey in bringing itself back to life. From witnessing and experiencing destruction, his major motifs became depictions of firebombs and flares from planes, fleeing masses, and roaring American bombers. The flashes of bombs reflecting off of his grandfather’s goldfish tank were among the images strongly ingrained in Tanaami’s memory. “It is a grotesque form of beauty,” he says. “I was scared, but I also felt this excitement running through my whole body when I saw that fish tank. To this day I believe that experience was more intense than any of my hallucinations.” As he was growing up, he joined Kamishibai or picture-card shows. Together with his fascination for film and his encounter with Andy Warhol, all these influenced Tanaami’s works to evoke beautiful disarray of unusual elements and strange shapes in vibrant colors.


Ronald Ventura

A leading figure in Southeast Asian contemporary art, Ronald fuses realism, cartoons, and graffiti in his works. His inspiration comes from different sources like Western history, Asian mythology, science fiction, and well-known comic book characters or pop culture references. The result of melding these elements together is a chaotic disarray of imagery. The beautiful overlapping of realities further cements itself with how the Filipino artist works. He explains, “I will paint and update a painting until I am satisfied. It’s like a film director who is shooting a scene—at certain points, he will feel like he needs more extras or more light.” In this method, Ronald’s works reflect the disruption and bombardment we encounter in this age of technology.


Olan Ventura

Olan takes inspiration from the still life paintings from the 17th century. He paints with the tradition of extravagance but incorporates modern elements like striking glitches. His interest in technology, pop culture, and identity reflects in his unique interpretation of classic paintings. Among his works is a rendition of Jan Davidsz de Heem‘s Vase of Flowers. With a dripping technique, Olan seemingly pulls off the flowers, grapes, and lobsters off the canvas. As Yavuz Gallery explains, “[Olan] taps art historical references and the processes of today’s digital technology in image reproduction to add more layers of visual engagement in his pieces.” The result is a distorted image of elements, stretching into multi-colored linear lights that resemble beautiful printing glitches.

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Ronson Culibrina

Listed among 2016 Forbes Asia’s 30 Under 30, Ronson depicts the socio-political issues in the country while taking cues from the great masters of Filipino art history. Among the elements in his works feature icons reflecting themes of culture and trade, the diasporic movement, globalization, and the dynamics between art and economy. The works are more relatable with how it tackles contemporary life and the challenges involved in it. His pieces take on strong and dark hues. Yet the multiple images that seemingly meld into one another carry numerous meanings, allowing audiences to interpret in many ways.


Ripple Root

Liquan Liew and Estella Ng form Ripple Root, their moniker in creating works featuring nature and wildlife. Focusing on Southeast Asian ornamentation, they incorporate elements like folklore on their pieces but adds their own modern take on it. Among their shows is The Tide is Our Guide in Singapore and London. They put ancient tales at the forefront of the works, paying tribute to the traditions of Batik and textile weaving. Their fourth showcase is also memorable. The Furthest Coast features pieces exploring the nature of life which is filled with uncertainties. Each is a reminder to take on life’s challenges with optimism and steady faith.

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