Ronyel Compra is a visual artist based in Cebu City. In 2007, he earned his college degree from the University of the Philippines in the Visayas – Cebu Campus under the Fine Arts program and majored in Painting. Since graduating, the artist has been gaining recognition for his distinct style and material experimentation, becoming a finalist in 2009’s GSIS painting competition and garnering the first (2006) and second (2008) place for the 32ndand 30th editions of the Jose Joya Art Awards. Compra has graced the local art scene with exhibitions spanning from the queen city of the south to the nation’s capital, having set-up shows in Cebu’s 856 G Gallery, the SM Art Center and the CAP Art Center, and Manila’s NOW gallery.
There is a mark of a craftsman in Compra’s handiwork, stemming from his childhood in the northern part of Cebu with a culture heavily rooted in the traditional local crafts. His daily observance of the practical trades of nipa hut-weaving, boat-building and charcoal-making, combined with a childhood cultivated in the great outdoors, captured a sense of fascination for indigenous materials and raw aesthetics. Decay and destruction and recurring themes in his repertoire, translated into gritty biomorphic proportions and textures that echo his enthrallment with the natural processes of creation and ruin. There is a blend of the figurative with the abstracted in his paintings, using randomly selected models (with emotions ranging from the carefree to the detached) and exaggerating their features with a distinct manipulation of his preferred medium. The artist chooses to create a body of work that is heavily atmospheric and devoid of meaning, believing in universality of the raw and primal emotions they evoke.
The artist creates his works mainly on various techniques within the production, the process involves different procedures that were mimicked from traditional local crafts. It involves bones, twigs, bamboos and other indigenous materials. The appearance of each work varies depending on the materials used.
The artist relies on the subconscious flow of his collected information from past experiences. He believes that the over-all aesthetics and underlying motives within the artworks are mainly based upon his collection of memories and visual experiences. The accumulation of stored subconscious knowledge further instigate him to explore the place of his origin. In his small Barangay in the northern part of Cebu, where he collects photos, materials and datas.
having evidently exposed to different local activities like boat making, nipa hut (bahay kubo) making, and charcoal making which is a grandiose visual feast in the place.
He based his aesthetic rendition from his direct environment. he finds decay or destruction as an interesting reference of his aesthetics. He affirm that the process of decay last longer than the bloom. he is often captivated with the gritty biomorphic proportions and the rawness of textures. He always return to his roots, the images he creates are perhaps a lyrical response towards his inner ruminations and introspection. these are influx of internal motivations..
the artist opts not to be guided with theme or meaning upon the images he created. The total atmosphere of the painting relies upon the arrangement of the background via the local material.
Amidst its solid display of imagery, contrast and symbols, the artist believes that he is not in position to extract meaning nor tries to put meaning into his artwork. Doing so, may fall to trap the growth opportunity that the works meaning bear in itself.