The Changes That You’ll See In Jigger Cruz’s Exhibit At Art Fair Philippines 2024

Less Champagne, Less Fried Chicken: Expect ‘Simpler Work’ at Jigger Cruz’s Art Fair Philippines 2024 Exhibit

Artist Jigger Cruz showcases his ‘Dialectic Disruptions’ exhibit at Art Fair Philippines 2024. Photo by Kieran Punay

Artist Jigger Cruz showcases his ‘Dialectic Disruptions’ exhibit at Art Fair Philippines 2024. Photo by Kieran Punay

Moving away from his typical abstraction techniques, one of Art Fair Philippines 2024’s highlights include artist Jigger Cruz’s movement to a cleaner and simpler approach to work: “No more angst. No more hell.”

Do a Google search on Jigger Cruz, and you’ll find a trove of information from the most esteemed art dealers in the world today. They mention the intricate layers of his work, the tactile quality, and the techniques: impasto, burning and spraying. There is often an ode to classical art and dissertations on vandalism and originality. 

Cruz describes his art as having a (literal) background and figurative shapes. “I like to see the materials falling. I spray-painted them to see the dripping reaction. And the smell! It’s erotic, fetish material. I abuse and maximize it.” He adds that he now paints things he doesn’t understand. “It’s not political, it’s not theoretical. If I can explain my painting to you, it’s foreign.”

Cruz learned the art-making process in college. He took fine arts, majoring in advertising, then switched to 3D animation. But he points out that it wasn’t just because he was painting that he was actually an artist. He aimed for success and market validation. To him, it was akin to a business for which he would win accolades and awards. 

Jigger Cruz embraces “a collage aesthetic and an organic composition” for ‘Dialectic Disruptions’ at Art Fair Philippines 2024. Photo by Kieran Punay

He eventually outgrew the mindset that painting was his job. “I just wanted to be this great artist. That was my aim. But the more I did it, the more personal, spiritual and emotional it became. I was attached to a romantic process, but I realized it’s not a profession. It’s a way of life. It’s like eating breakfast in the morning.” 

During the pandemic, he had an epiphany. “My daughter is my inspiration because she doesn’t care too much. And I find it beautiful. While creating something, it makes her feel happy and fulfilled. That’s a feeling that I lost through time. I was a perfectionist. Things had to be difficult. And watching my daughter, I realized, ‘Why can’t I be like her?’ She finds enjoyment and happiness in making simple shapes. Sa akin, masyadong technical.” He says he wants to reclaim innocence. “No more competitions, no more angst, no more–honestly–hell. I just want to make an abstract painting.”

Jigger Cruz’s ‘Dialectic Disruptions’ in the ARTFAIRPH/PROJECTS section of the Art Fair Philippines 2024 exhibition hub. Photo by Kieran Punay

If his patrons are expecting his work for Art Fair Philippines 2024 to be as colorful and complex as they have in the past, they will be surprised. “That’s champagne. I’ve outgrown that. Palagi nalang (It’s always) fried chicken. Now, I remove all those layers. And now it’s cleaner. I don’t use as many colors. The work is thinner. There’s more sophistication.” 

And although he embraces the success and the fame that comes with his art being coveted by auction houses and international collectors, it is no longer a priority. “I realized it’s so easy. Just be honest. Just paint what you like and make things easy. The spontaneity is there now. I can say that less is more.”

He points at a large canvas hanging on the wall in his ‘Dialectic Disruptions’ exhibit at Art Fair, “First,” he says, “I go along the landscape and that’s the background, a grassy field, a horizon,” tracing the initial layer of the work with his finger. “There are geometric shapes that cover each other,” he continues, “but there is less decorative stuff and simpler shapes. There’s a collage aesthetic and an organic composition. There are no more drippings. In my work before, there was too much ‘show.’ I was like a calculator.”

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