Thursday, July 12, 2007


Libertad means freedom. And that was exactly what the artist Daniel Palma Tayona was in pursuit of -- the freedom to manifest his inner visions which eluded him while engaged in corporate life.

In his interview with Silver magazine, he claimed, "I remember telling a friend of mine that it feels like a freefall. You know, the kind of experience you get if you jump from a cliff. You don't exactly know where the winds will take you but you're bound to land somewhere. It is the exhilaration one gets if he lets himself be taken by an adventure - of just letting go. This is what I feel everyday when I am faced with an empty canvas. It's an adventure where I don't exactly know where it will lead me, but I do know that the end-product of it will be a drawing or a painting that tells something, and hoping that it's valid enough for others to see. And when it's done, I look at it and say, "Wow, it felt good. It was just right."

A true Manilenyo who grew up in Sampaloc, Daniel graduated from the University of the Philippines with a Bachelor's degree in Industrial Design. However, it wasn't after many years of doing work as a graphic designer when he sensed a void within, which even the accoutrements of being a successful corporate executive could ever fulfill. And so as to appease an inner longing that gnawed at his soul, he gave up it all up and began to pursue a life of an independent full time artist.

Nowadays, with his condo in a tony neighborhood a thing of the past, Daniel soaks in the light that streams through the large window of his duplex loft right on Libertad Street in Pasay City. Therein he spends his day immersed in his work -- sketching and painting, while the hustle and bustle of the street below provide a cacophony of sounds and visions; additional inspirations for artworks that greatly celebrate the Latin soul nestled in our local culture.

Although he gave up a comfortable lifestyle when he quit his post as a creative director in a major firm, the universe somehow never scrimped with its blessings as Daniel follows his bliss; his paintings are now fetching anywhere from $200 to $1500. Even more important is his reserve of myriads of concepts that will keep him busy for years to come.

Aside from being a fine artist, Daniel also happens to be a wonderful storyteller. Some of his writings are posted on his blogsite, Romancing Pen and Palette. The characters of his stories also make up the images that prominently appear on his paintings.

"My works, and so are most artists'," further remarked Daniel in his Silver magazine interview, "are images plucked from my own life. You'd have to look at it like an oversized diary. If I were to clip my drawings and paintings into one notebook, I'll end up with a huge unwieldy journal. But unlike a journal, a visual artists' works cannot be solely kept by him for his own consumption. He can keep some, but I think it's crazy to keep everything. These works have to be 'released', to have a life of their own outside of the studio for the stories they bear to be told. Sometimes people who get to see these works create their own stories for it. That's the time when the painting becomes alive. The story it bears becomes full and living."

And so, on Libertad near Leveriza, lives an artist who has finally found the ultimate freedom to tell his many stories.

Daniel Palma Tayona's works can be seen at
1/of Gallery in Serendra, The Fort in Taguig, telephone 901-3152.
You can also email Daniel at


posted by Señor Enrique at 6:35 PM


Blogger MM Del Rosario said...

I like the yellow butterfly, i wonder what is the title of that painting. Very impressive.

July 12, 2007 7:20 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That's actually ink on paper, MM; a fine work, indeed. It is ready for custom framing with glass to protect it from the elements. I happen to like it myself.

Don't know its title, but I'm sure Daniel will share it with us when he drops by and reads about our curiosity.

July 12, 2007 8:03 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

I like that yellow butterfly too. I also want to know the story behind it. I hope Daniel will one day write it down in his blog. :)

July 12, 2007 8:32 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Hmmm ... come to think of it, Rhoda, perhaps, Daniel should do a smaller series of this yellow butterfly.

What do you think, Daniel?

And from what I understand, Daniel can ship via FedEx anywhere in the world!

July 12, 2007 8:55 PM  

Anonymous rhodora said...

Know what, Eric... I think that instead of constant upgrading on personal gadgets like cellphones, investing on art works like those of Daniel's is much better.

July 12, 2007 9:01 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I've always enjoyed acquiring original artworks from up & coming local artists, Rhoda. However, a piece of artwork has to be appealing enough for me to want to take it home :)

In other words the buyer has to truly appreciate what he/she plans to invest on, not merely as a speculative strategy for increased value in the future. I think the artists would want it that way, too -- for their works to be appreciated deeply.

July 12, 2007 9:20 PM  

Anonymous sardonicnell said...

pinoy artists are so talented. the yellow butterfly appeals to me as well, probably the color contrast. most of mr tayona's paintings are huge, would look good in our family room. hehehe. if i get a chance to travel back to manila, i'll make sure to bring some pinoy artwork with me =)

July 13, 2007 1:52 AM  

Blogger daniel palma tayona said...

i don't know what to say when i dropped by here and saw these pictures except "thank you eric."

i have been wanting to take a picture of that piece (which will eventually hang on someone's wall soon) but i guess you've beaten me to the punch. i'd say you're lucky too because you're the first one to see it whole after i've put in the last ink stroke the day before that picture was taken.

i simply call her "Mums and a Butterfly". she's the second one i have done of the same size. the first one i call "Peonies". (you guessed it right. both works are named after the flowers i did them of.)

the story behind why i did her? they're two really. the first one was due to an argument i had with my mother a long time ago. the second was a bit convoluted and was inspired by a friend of mine who now lives and works in chicago.
i'll tell it in my blog a few days from now. :-)

thank you again eric. one of these days, let me return the favor and cook you my special adobo.


July 13, 2007 2:20 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That'll be a wonderful idea, Nell. The more we show our pride for our local culture and talents, the more others will appreciate them as well :)

I remember a friend who once had her entire apartment in Manhattan furnished with Philippine furniture and decorative objects. And then someone someone from Bloomingdale's visited and photographed her apartment in preparation for this famous store's opening of its October furniture exhibition in which Philippine products were the major draw. The show received auspicious responses from the media and general public.

July 13, 2007 6:34 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

No need to cook me your special adobo, Daniel. The opportunity to have been invited to your private studio was much appreciated. Love all those artworks. Also great to see some of your new paintings before they got shipped out :)

By the way, your loft reminds me so much of artist friends and their live/work spaces in Manhattan. Actually, as I've remarked, the Libertad/Leveriza enclave where you are reminds me so much of New York's Lower East Side, Brooklyn's Williamsburg section, and Soho during the early '70s. Very much full of life and activities.

Looking forward to reading the stories you mentioned and more wonderful artworks from you!

July 13, 2007 6:42 AM  

Blogger carlotta said...

i can imagine him right at work in his loft, which is a very good place for him to create worlds in his paintings.

July 13, 2007 8:21 AM  

Blogger cacofonix said...

Daniel's story reminds me of a quote from Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe:

"Until one is committed there is hesitancy, a chance to draw back. Always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary proof - the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans. This is, that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one, that would never have otherwise occurred. A whole stream of events issue from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would come his way. Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has power and magic in it, begin it now."

Daniel's leap of courage into living out his passion is very inspiring...:). I hope to be able to do the same "one bullet day." :).

July 13, 2007 8:40 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

He is indeed blessed for having found that loft, Carla. The light that comes in his window is perfect when working on large canvasses. I wouldn't mind having that kind of space for myself ... hehehe.

By the way OT (off topic): We walked around his neighborhood and then headed to this soya store in Cartimar. Carla, not sure if you've ever had this: cold taho with toppings (barley, sweet beans, red mongo, sliced mango, and etc.) It was incredibly delicious!

Everything is made inside that shop so it's all fresh!

We need a walking tour of Pasay!

July 13, 2007 10:01 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

And I've a feeling, Cacofonix that it can be anytime soon. Good luck :)

Love the quote. How true it is. Allow me to share one of Joseph Campbell's:

"All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time - namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be."

Daniel certainly took that leap of faith to follow his bliss, and is now a more fulfilled person for having done so!

July 13, 2007 10:06 AM  

Anonymous Ferdz said...

Interesting profile of an artist there. That's a perfect example of a fulfilled artist bearing fruit on what he does and loves best. Great artworks there.

July 13, 2007 12:05 PM  

Blogger Rey said...

It is fulfilling to do what you love most. It is liberating, and at best-- healing.

"I'm Free.... Free- falling."
-- Tom Petty

July 13, 2007 12:21 PM  

Anonymous kyels said...

I like the first photo and also the yellow butterfly on his painting; it looked really real in my eyes.


I shall check out his blog when I am done commenting.

July 13, 2007 5:01 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I agree, Ferdz.

Not an easy thing to do -- to give up a life of assured substantial income and comfort -- merely to pursue something completely unknown. But in studying any culture or civilization, those who had taken the plunge were often the ones who left great contributions for the enhancement of peoples' lives.

July 14, 2007 7:44 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

It's scary as hell, I'm sure but incredibly fulfilling in the end.

Love that song, Reyd!

July 14, 2007 7:45 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Yes, please go visit his site, Kyels. Lots of hs artworks and wonderful stories.

July 14, 2007 7:47 AM  

Blogger daniel palma tayona said...

@Rey: i love that song of tom petty! back when i used to drive a car, i would wheel down the streets on sunday afternoons and just play my player full blast. once i got caught for making a wrong turn and had to bribe the traffic officer with a cd of tom petty. i miss that.

@cacofonix: "Boldness has power and magic in it, begin it now."
... and may i add what geoffrey rush' character said in "shakespeare in love" when asked what would happen next. he simply said, "it's a mystery."

since i started to paint, every day has been a mystery. everything just falls into place. i stopped asking what follows next etc. things just fall into place... eventually. :-)

@carlotta : "...which is a very good place for him to create worlds in his paintings."

you'll be surprised that 2/3 of my waking time is spent thinking and observing while doing other things. the other one-third, half of it is spent cooking and the other half is the one spent painting or drawing. so that would mean a mere 15% of my waking time is the actual development of art.

sometimes i feel guilty and ask myself, "shouldn't i be painting more?" i realized, a huge portion of the painting happens in the mind. it is where these ideas start to form. so the worlds you mentioned, they're all up here whorling in the brain matter. i just need to tip my head every now and then to let it pour out.

@senor enrique : "It's scary as hell, I'm sure but incredibly fulfilling in the end."

i'd illustrate my life as something like cooking adobo. you go to the market, buy the ingredients, prepare them. cook slowly... and wait. and when it's done well, you feast.

years of living and doing other things - such are the ingredients one needs to pluck ideas or inspirations out from. you gather these memories, ideas, thoughts etc... and prepare or paint them. and then you wait. somehow, with your thoughts illustrated and put into plain view for others to see... as you wait, patiently, things will come to fore.

succes will eventually come. that'll be the time when you say the adobo of your life has been cooked well. :-)

thank you so much.

July 14, 2007 12:26 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks for sharing your life with us, Daniel. I'm sure you will be an inspiration for many who aspire to follow their bliss.

Wishing you continued blessings and success in your endeavors!

July 14, 2007 12:46 PM  

Blogger Andre said...

He's a very good friend and at some point my story was a subject of one of his painting.

Thanks you for featuring him in your site.

Love your writings and photos!

July 14, 2007 6:01 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Thank you, Andre!

Daniel ia a wonderful person and artist. Alas! Time seemed to fly by too fast during those past occasions we spent together.

I'm so glad he allowed me to feature him in my humble blogsite. Hopefully, inspired this entry, our other local artists would allow me to do the same when I approach them in the near future.

July 15, 2007 7:20 AM  

Anonymous major tom said...

Clearly, his work is so profound; not one that is ordinary. No wonder they fetch good prices.

His use of color reminds me much of Manansala or Malang and he presents curves just as proficient how Picasso uses parallel lines and cubes.

July 15, 2007 7:30 AM  

Blogger Bugsybee said...

Thank you very much, Eric. I just went to his blog and I love everything there - the art and the posts!

July 15, 2007 10:09 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

What captivated me the most, Major Tom, is Daniel's fondness for Rubeneque images on his works. Somehow, these figures are no longer obese per se, but powerful and much more animated alter egos of the characters or models he had in mind when creating them.

July 15, 2007 11:30 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Aren't they, Bugsy?

Told you, his as much a wonderful writer as a painter!

July 15, 2007 11:34 AM  

Blogger g_mirage said...

Great works Senor, both yours and his! =)

August 15, 2007 8:15 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Many thanks, G. Mirage!

August 15, 2007 8:34 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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