Right on the heels of her successful solo exhibit early this year, Love Marie Escudero-Ongpauco, or more popularly known as Heart Evangelista in showbiz, is fast becoming the poster girl of the local art scene with yet another successful art exhibit billed Carry your HeArt. It’s her fifth solo exhibit since she started dipping her toes into the contemporary art scene two years ago.
In 2014, Love Marie surprised the public when she held her first painting exhibit at Art Space, Ayala Museum. Thereafter, she collaborated with fashion designer Mark Bumgarner, poet and lifestyle editor Arnel Patawaran, young designer Rocio Olbes and premium travel and carry-on luggage manufacturer, Rimowa.
Since then, Love Marie’s artistic and philosophical side has been made public and people couldn’t help but adore how exquisite her collections are and admire how she pours her heart into every masterpiece she creates.
As she continues sharing her exceptional gifts through collaboration and art exhibits, she became the first Filipina to hold an exhibit at Chan Hampe Galleries in Raffles Hotel, Singapore. And today, Love Marie challenges herself through the use of a new canvas – luxury bags.
Like any great piece of artwork, hand painting a bag was not entirely her plan. One faithful day, she tried to cover a smudge on her bag by painting over it. The result? The bag turned into a unique piece of artwork that bears her signature style.
Using the same principle, Love Marie adds another dimension of luxury, exclusivity and uniqueness to each handbag in her Carry your HeArt exhibit.
“I’m thankful to my clients for entrusting me with such an incredible piece. In return, I promised them something different, truly unique, and something they can proudly claim as being the only one to have it” she told Manila Standard.
In Carry your HeArt, Love Marie’s contemplative composition features familiar symbols like flowers, fish, birds and female figures to express a range of emotions. The paintings, specifically the color pallette she used in every masterpiece, evoke a sense of transience and permeability. As she describes it, “It’s my transition from feeling blue to being all happy. I’m really in transition wearing different hats.”
The exhibit, which ran from Sept. 4 to 9 at Volkswagen Showroon in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig, featured a total of 49 exquisite luxury bags (partially owned by her) painstakingly painted by the 31-year-old artist. Each piece took her at least five hours to finish.
“A lot of people ask me why I keep on painting girls and women; they represent a certain kind of emotion I was feeling at a certain time. But the flowers and the birds, I just enjoy painting them. It’s therapeutic for me,” she said.
Inspired by artists like Gustav Klimt, who is known for using fascinating symbolism like gold leaf details and a romantic palette, and Frida Kahlo, a Mexican painter known for her self-portraits, Love Marie embarks on this journey none of her contemporaries would be able to surpass or even equal. Her exhibit in 2014 was sold out in an hour, and again to an international market in Singapore in 2015, her collection was sold out, too.
“I’m just fortunate to be given an opportunity to showcase my work and my deep passion to create personalized pieces of art. I am full of emotions and idea and my mind never sleeps. I realized that I am an artist, a painter since I was a child. And I’m going to pursue this passion for the rest of my life,” she mused.
Although painting takes a lot her time during weekends, she considers painting purely as a passion and not an entirely different career. Hence, she doesn’t force herself to paint when she doesn’t feel like it.
Currently, Love Marie is experimenting on wild and muted colors. That will be the theme for her next collection, an installment to her LM (Love Marie) series that showcased her fascination with floral shapes and designs.
“Some people think that a colorful painting is a happy painting. They tend to look at things superficially. But paintings and their symbolism can mean a lot of things. And that’s people should watch out for in my next exhibit,” she concluded.