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Bohemian coffee artist Renato Tuzon teaches a young resident of Amoingon, Marinduque the basics of oil pastel painting. (Photo courtesy of Toby Jamilla)

‘Coffee’ artist pushes painting advocacy to help schoolchildren

While some volunteer groups push for the provision of gadgets and technology to enhance education in far-flung areas, Bohemian coffee artist Renato Tuzon promotes the teaching of the arts, particularly painting, to develop skills in students that can help them excel academically.

In an interview with Philippine News Agency (PNA), Tuzon said: “Sa pagpipinta maraming qualities na made-develop sa kabataan na kakailanganin nila para magtagumpay sa pag-aaral (Through painting, many qualities will be developed among the young people which they will need to be successful in their studies).”

Tuzon said that painting cultivates reasoning among learners — an important skill which helps students understand their lessons in a logical way.

Halimbawa, pagpintahin mo ang mga bata ng bola. Makikita hindi lahat gagawing bilog yan… Bakit? Paano ko napisa ang bola? (For example, ask the kids to paint a ball. You will see not all of them are circle…Why? What if the ball is deflated?” he said.

Students’ perspectives about things and topics improve through reasoning, he added.

Tuzon said painting enhances creativity and interpersonal skills in students as well. These, he said, are important when students are accomplishing group projects or tasks as a requirement in passing a subject.

Nagkakaroon ng creativity, pwede silang gumawa ng bilog na hindi simpleng bilog kung hindi dimensional at ito ay depende sa kanilang pagkatao at naiisip (Creativity enters, they create a circle that is not a simple circle but a dimensional circle and this depends on their personality and the way they think).

Gagawa ang bata ng bilog na kakaiba para ma-impress ang ibang bata at magtatanong sila at sa pagtatanong at pagsagot sa mga tanong nagkakaraon ng conversation at inter-relationship (The kid will create a distinctive circle to impress other kids and they will ask questions and in the question and answer, conversation and inter-relationship happen),” he added.

Since a lot of effort and time are spent in completing a single painting, Tuzon said students develop passion in accomplishing something worthwhile.

Ang paggawa ng painting nagre-require ng passion, ng time mo, ng dedication mo, na nawawala ngayon sa kabataan kasi karamihan sa mga bata ngayon, may test bukas, ‘wala yan, magbabasa lang ako ng konti’, ang passion sa pag-aaral nawawala (Painting requires passion, your time, your dedication which most kids today lack, there’s a test tomorrow, ‘that’s nothing, just reading a bit,’ the passion in studying is missing),” he said.

Tuzon added painting brings young people closer to the environment and its proper care and preservation.

Isa pa is yung pagiging environmentalist ng mga bata, nae-enhance yun. Kapag artist ka napapamahal ka sa surroundings mo, nakukuha mo positive energy from the environment. Ang artist hindi nakakagawa sa isang paligid na madumi, magulo (Another thing is the kids, their being environmentalists, that is enhanced. When you’re an artist you get close to the surroundings, you get positive energy from the environment. An artist can’t paint in a surrounding that is dirty, disorganized), he said.

Sining Karaban

Tuzon said the love for the arts among the young people has been “dying” because of the internet and the rise of many gadgets.

Pagbalik ko ng Pilipinas galing abroad nakita ko ang decay ng arts gaya ng painting sa puso ng kabataang Pilipino…Ang mga bata kadalasan nagpe-Facebook at Instagram na lang (When I got back to Philippines I saw the decay of arts like painting in the hearts of young Filipinos…The kids usually do Facebook and Instagram only),” he said.

With this observation, Tuzon decided to establish on Sept. 15, 2015 the Sining Karaban, a group of visual artists which aims to help young people embrace the value of art education. Members of the group travel to the islands of the country teach the basics of visual arts like painting and photography for free.

Sa advocacy ko, kasama na din ang feeding program sa mga depressed areas dahil ang bata hindi makakapagpinta kapag gutom (My advocacy also includes feeding program in depressed areas because kids cannot paint when they’re hungry),” he said.

Tuzon said he also holds workshops in private schools where he charges fees for every session.

Ang kinikita ko sa ganun, ibinibili ko din ng mga art materials at pagkain para sa mga mahihirap na bata na naaabot ng Sining Karaban. Kasi ang art para sa akin ay sharing, dapat ibahagi mo sa ibang tao ang skill ang blessing na ibinigay sayo (My earnings from there, I buy art materials and food for the poor kids Sining Karaban is able to reach. It’s because art for me is sharing, you should share the skill, the blessing given to you),” he added.

Tuzon is an artist who uses multi-media in creating his masterpieces. During his early years as a painter, he used charcoal, water color and oil pastel.

He had his first solo exhibition in 1997 called Anghel, which was held at the 70’s Bistro and Art Space along Anonas Avenue in Quezon City.

He re-invented himself and used another medium for painting – coffee – thus, the title Bohemian coffee artist. His coffee art works made it to the Raconte Moi Le Café exhibition in Paris, France on March 31 to April 2, 2017. PNA

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