Crayon drawings and popsicle stick and glue buildings during his childhood years in the Philippines are the earliest artistic memories of local artist Romson Regarde Bustillo, but contests that those early techniques still influence his work today. Now the renowned artist incorporates his work as a printmaker and studio artist to communicate themes often overlooked by mainstream art. Bustillo says his work “explores the role(s) individuals and groups assume as they pass and/or enter new environments” and answers how we maintain our unique identities as we assimilate “culture”. Broader concepts of globalization and indigenization are other themes brought to light in this innovative form of art and the process of remembering and forgetting, are tied closely to his artistic dialogue. Growing as an artist, Bustillo attributes his cultivation from the help of various mentors, such as Marita Dingus, who introduced him to the Pratt Fine Arts Center in the Central District and allowed his first encounter with printmaking. There he met other members and artists such as Greg Robinson, Evan Isaksen, Drake Deknatel, Maxi Powers and many others. Since then, Bustillo has been all over the world from Central America, to S.E. Asia to the East Coast of the United States. He says international travel has expanded his visual vocabulary and contributes directly to the direction of his work. Like a true artist, Bustillo’s main goal is to simply continue his own journey in the field and recommends any aspiring artists to “make art and study what you’re trying to say.”

Photographer Credit: James Harnois

View Romson Bustillo’s work at http://romson.tumblr.com.

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