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FACES: The Folk Artist
(by Quincy Joel V. Cahilig  12/30/2016)

Source: Philippine Rotary Magazine, December 2016 Issue

“One should follow a philosophy that would guide him in creating his masterpieces,” Elito Villaflor Circa replied when asked about the most important qualification an aspiring artist should possess, aside from the right skills, in order to succeed in the field.

Circa is an artist based in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija and is best known locally and internationally for his peculiar style of using as medium for his artworks his own blood and hair strands. He explained that his is way of making a difference in the society.

“I wanted to change the perception that blood means death. If people accept that blood is life and love they would not be scared to help a victims as well donate blood whenever they see accident”, he further Elucidated.

The belief in life after death is another philosophy that inspires the 46-year old multi-awarded painter in composing meaningful artwork. ”I believe in reincarnation. You have to leave a legacy in this world in your lifetime, so that in your next life, when you see that thing, you will recognize that it is yours. You’ll experience a surge of emotional affinity like what to separated siblings feel when they meet each other for the first time,” the sculptor and author of the retold story of the Legend of Minggan emphasized.

Recently, he added to his collection his montage blood painting of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, an expression of his support and admiration for the country’s tough talking leader who assumed office this year. This piece of art went viral in the social media.

Circa, also widely known as Amangpintor, admits that poverty prompted him to develop his distinctive style. He recalls his boyhood days in Pantabangan, fascinated with is carpenter father’s resourcefulness and creativity in making toy cars for him using empty aluminum cans and plastic bottles. He was five years old when he started developing a great interest in painting. However, his parents could not afford to buy the tools he needed. But the young Circa could not be stopped from expressing his artistic side so he sought other methods to paint. He used indigenous materials available such as charcoal, tree saps, fruit juices, pigments of leaves and his own blood as paint and his hair strands as paint brush. His canvas comprised of white bed sheets, pillow cases and their home’s walls. Little Elito indeed made a lot of is mess in their simple house but his parents supported him in pursuing his passion.

As a way of giving back to the community for the success he attained over the years, Circa, a Central Luzon State University alumnus, conducts free art workshops and distributes arts tolls to children in underprivileged remote areas in Nueva Ecija. He is joined in this advocacy by his fellow Rotarians from the Rotary Club of San Jose Golden Harvest. Aside from free art lessons, they also distribute drawing and coloring materials to the Children. Serving with Rotarians give Circa a sense of fulfillment.

“I consider my artworks as tools for the development of humanity. When I saw Rotary’s service program, it shone through me, for it is my line with my advocacy. I really feel that I belong to his organization,” said Circa, a Rotarian since 2014.

In spite of the challenges along the way, Circa, who works a computer programmer at the Philippines center for postharvest development and mechanization for over 20 years, will continue sharing God-given talent with the hope that more people, especially the younger generation, would develop sense of appreciation for art.

“There is art in everything. And the appreciation of art makes one a better person. If you get full understanding of the arts, you get a better, deeper understanding of the world. If you could understand non-living things, you’ll have a better understanding of your fellow men,” the home grown artist said.

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