Marco Yuchengco Santos, the disruptive artist behind MYSAN, approaches his creative process with curiosity and openness while subverting the medium with fire.
This is an excerpt from Lifestyle Asia’s September 2023 Issue.
The man behind the artist MYSAN is Marco Yuchengco Santos. The talented artist only became one at 53. Yet creativity was always in him and he left the corporate world to follow what he is passionate about most – creating art. Santos graduated with a degree in Management Engineering from Ateneo de Manila University. He worked as a copywriter in an advertising agency, which taught him “how to come up with ‘the BIG idea.’”
He says this helped him look at things differently, but most important was his experience as a creative person. Perhaps this was the start of his journey as an artist, but he wouldn’t have known it back then. He was an entrepreneur for almost 30 years. He was the founder of the free email service EDSAMail and ran companies including their family-owned Mapua University. With such experience, he said he learned how to build something from scratch; not to make money primarily but to make things better for people. Santos was always attracted to big ideas that could change people’s lives.
THE EMERGENCE OF MYSAN, THE ARTIST
Then the dreaded pandemic happened. Santos had an extensive gin collection. Some bottles looked too nice to throw away. Being the creative he always was, he got a torch and some paint, experimented with the bottles and posted on Facebook. People called him an “artist” which he reluctantly dismissed. He says, “I never had a single art class in my life. I always knew I was different, creative but I never thought I would call myself an artist.” Not yet for now.
A comment on his Facebook post calling it just a “hobby” challenged him as he decided to work on more bottles, destroying a lot of them as he experimented with his craft . He would torch bottles causing them to crack and he would follow the cracks and paint it as new images would surface. Trial and error and breaking hundreds of bottles should’ve paid off as word of his art spread and got noticed by Jia Estrella of J Studio. This led to his first joint exhibition. He was called “MYSAN ” during his advertising days. He thought the acronym would be a perfect name for him as an artist.
PLAYING WITH FIRE
Santos has just showcased his first solo exhibition at the same venue where he had his first joint exhibit. Teddy G. Catuira was the curator of his first solo show entitled Persistence of Passion. He still played with fire but on a different medium as he exhibited 12 pieces of large burnt panels of plywood. The burnt wood pieces not only show creativity but precision and control.
The images in his art are spontaneously thought of but he learns to synthesize the images while working on a piece. Santos only uses a torch for the exhibit of his “Woodfire Series.” He starts by disrupting the medium and then he sees where it takes him and he goes with the flow until he is satisfied with the image.
Visit mysan.art. J Studio is located at Pasillo 18,La Fuerza Gate 1 Compound, 2241 Chino Roces, Makati City. Email [email protected] for inquiries.
Read more by purchasing a copy of the Lifestyle Asia September 2023 magazine via SariSari.shopping or select newsstands in National Bookstore and Fully Booked. Subscribe to the E-Magazine via Readly, Magzter, and Press Reader.
Photos courtesy of Marco Santos.