Maravillaesque

Chito Maravilla (Photo by Miguel Maravilla)

Chito Maravilla (Photo by Miguel Maravilla)

Ferdinand “Chito” Maravilla is in a class of his own in visual arts. His style cannot be easily defined because it changes constantly. Some days he is doing realistic art; tomorrow will be collage; the next day will either be surreal, abstract, or sculpture. It is the fluidity of his artistic styles that has made him defy expectations, if not projected him as a multifaceted visual artist.

Maravilla means “wonder” in Spanish, and people have always had difficulty categorizing his style. Accordingly, Sandie Oreta Gillis, one of his avid collectors and a renowned writer and video director in Vancouver, has coined the term Maravillaesque, which she defines as “of, relating to, or suggestive of Chito Maravilla’s playful, sense-of-wonder artworks that do not adhere to a specific artistic style.”

Maravilla is grateful to his parents, Elias Maravilla Sr. and Glynna Barrameda Maravilla, for giving him and his six siblings opportunities to succeed in their lives. They enrolled him in art classes and encouraged him to join art contests, so he could learn and strive for excellence. Growing up in Manila, he remembers how he kept himself busy even in his downtime: “Whenever there was power outage, I would kill time drawing by candlelight, or singing or jamming with my siblings, who would be playing the piano or the guitar.”

“Migrating Birds,” Finalist/ Arts Council of Surrey’s 2006 Juried Art Exhibition, Oil on canvass - 36” x 36” This was my first painting made when I came to Canada. It was my vision of White Rock. I heard of the place but I never set foot on it that time. I painted it on how I envisioned it. The birds are all exotic coming from different places. Some came in groups, others by themselves. The sand is cast in gold as the birds all perched facing the strong tide whether they’re looking back or moving forward. The rock form is like a monumental piece that symbolizes liberty. An old wheel imposes like a time clock spinning and a house beneath the sky is like a dream aspiration.- Chito Maravilla

“Migrating Birds,” Finalist/ Arts Council of Surrey’s 2006 Juried Art Exhibition, Oil on canvass - 36” x 36”

This was my first painting made when I came to Canada. It was my vision of White Rock. I heard of the place but I never set foot on it that time. I painted it on how I envisioned it. The birds are all exotic coming from different places. Some came in groups, others by themselves. The sand is cast in gold as the birds all perched facing the strong tide whether they’re looking back or moving forward. The rock form is like a monumental piece that symbolizes liberty. An old wheel imposes like a time clock spinning and a house beneath the sky is like a dream aspiration.- Chito Maravilla

Now residing in Vancouver, he keeps up the artistic family atmosphere. His wife, Jenny, and two sons, Franco and Miguel, who are musicians, are great supporters of his art. Most weekends, the boys are singing and making music to the songs they write. Maravilla tries to level that with the stroke of his brush and the splatter of paints on his canvas. “Jenny is a gem in fixing the artists’ mess, or the family will be in chaos,” he says with a laugh.

Maravilla has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, major in advertising, from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila. He was an art director at Campaigns and Grey Advertising in Makati City. He enjoyed the advertising life, including working with amazing people and handling prestigious brand accounts, from print advertising to making television commercials. Gil Corcuera was his advertising mentor who honed him into who he is today.

Maravilla is currently a graphic designer and production specialist in printing and designs at Smartfilms, a company that focuses on window tinting and graphic-film applicator, in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.

Chito Maravilla's “Human + Nature” Series. Exhibited at the Vancouver International Airport.

Chito Maravilla's “Human + Nature” Series. Exhibited at the Vancouver International Airport.

Doing art, however, is what he enjoys the most. He attributes Maravillaesque to how he was trained in advertising. Each day was a different art concept to tackle, he says. The variety of products, such as beer, lingerie and baby products, was an everyday challenge, and he was never bored.

Maravilla was “locked” for a long time trying to think of what style to develop. The more he thought of style, the more he became confused. As such, he decided to throw off the style trappings and follow his heart. Maravillaesque is personal and much less about style. It is about his story. “I’ll paint a story on how I look at Canada as my new home,” he explains, “and how I’ll document through art how I cherish what’s life back in the Philippines. I’m working on that, and I believe that it’ll make me and the world happy.”

What inspires him? His family, his friends, he says. Life even inspires him—he knows how to put colors in life in its own simple way, and he is thankful for that. “Art is wonderful, and one just has to express it. One never knows what would be the response.”

The City’s Fireworks Display! 1st Place Winner / Arts Council of Surrey’s 2011 Juried Art Exhibition at Surrey Art Gallery Acrylic on canvass - 36” x 36” “The City’s Fireworks Display” is about the celebration of life. It is inspired by the Stanley Park and English Bay landscape, capturing the energy of the people and the beauty of the city. The painting represents the artist’s collective thoughts of events rendered in a whimsical approach. These are images he witnessed, felt and experienced, wherein love and romance are everywhere, were children are brought into a promising future and the colorful diversity of the people are shared as one within the gorgeous landscape benefiting us in luxury. - Chito Marvilla

The City’s Fireworks Display! 1st Place Winner / Arts Council of Surrey’s 2011 Juried Art Exhibition at Surrey Art Gallery Acrylic on canvass - 36” x 36”

“The City’s Fireworks Display” is about the celebration of life. It is inspired by the Stanley Park and English Bay landscape, capturing the energy of the people and the beauty of the city. The painting represents the artist’s collective thoughts of events rendered in a whimsical approach. These are images he witnessed, felt and experienced, wherein love and romance are everywhere, were children are brought into a promising future and the colorful diversity of the people are shared as one within the gorgeous landscape benefiting us in luxury. - Chito Marvilla

Every day is a learning experience. He is a member of Vancouver’s Dimasalang III International Artist Group, of which the founder and mentor is SYM (Sofronio Y. Mendoza). Maravilla is a better visual artist because SYM has taught him about the basics and balance in art. Also, SYM told him, “Art is an ongoing learning process, you don’t stop.”

Maravillaesque is a fascinating forward-thinking concept. Not only does it reflect Ferdinand “Chito” Maravilla’s noncategorical artworks, but it also defines his frame of mind; that is, a trailblazing spirit to push the boundaries of art and life. There are tomorrows, and Maravillaesque will live on.

Ferdinand “Chito” Maravilla can be reached at fmaravilla@hotmail.com.
His website: chitomaravilla.com.

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Rey E. de la Cruz

Rey E. de la Cruz

Rey E. de la Cruz, Ed.D., writes from Chicagoland when he is not loving the arts and traveling. He is the author of the children’s book, Ballesteros on My Mind: My Hometown in the Philippines, which also has Ilocano, Spanish, and Tagalog versions.


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