PORTRAIT NO. 5: HumbLe Modesto
Series of whimiscal portraits
When HumbLe Modesto was in 1st grade, his mother entered him into a Philippine art competition. It was raining. They took the jeepney, and there was a small flood in the building. He cried. His mother told him to stop and just draw. He drew a storyboard of "The Tortoise and the Hare." He won 1st place. As a 2nd grader, Modesto frequently drew Jesus's last week of life and his ascension to heaven. This was inspired by the senakulo, which was a dramatic performance to commemorate the passion and death of Jesus Christ. The Friday show was terrifying for Modesto. In his words: "[I]t scared me because of the re-enactment of Jesus carrying the cross around town while being whipped was a little violent for a 2nd grader." Overall, though, what Modesto is about: God. Daughter. Family. Art. Music. Happiness.
Tell us a bit more about yourself
I started college as a fashion designer. That changed quickly to music production. Then, I wanted to become a teacher, so I went to Cal State Fullerton. I changed again... I was all over the place!
But, I was inspired to draw because of my father and brother. They were artists. I remember I drew a portrait of Jesus and my dad altered it. He shaded it properly, and basically made it appear awesome. I remember not liking it at first, but then I fell in love with it after a few closer looks.
As a child, I actually hid my artwork from people because my classmates used to bug me to draw and create stuff for them.
What's your inspiration to create artwork?
It's all mixed in there for me. I paint and draw who and what I'm inspired by: my daughter, people's stories, women, musical and artistic people, etc. I'm not as good as my brother in realistic portraitures, so I wanted my strokes and lines to be prominent, so people know I'm not trying to capture my subject identically. I've always used the earth tone/brown palettes no matter what skin color my subjects are. I just love the warm of those colors.
Who's your favorite artist? Who's one of your influences?
I don't really have a favorite. I do enjoy El Mac's artwork. The way he uses aerosol in his technique is incredible. I also love Retna's work. I love his colors and script work.
What do you love to read?
I'm a magazine fiend. I read Parents, Juxtapoz, Complex, Wax Poetics, Better Homes & Garden, and National Geographic. I used to love this music production magazine called Scratch, but they discontinued it.
What's your relationship to process? To form?
I think process is very important to me. I'm into routines a lot, especially as a father to a wonderful daughter. I'm sort of in love with my process and routines when I paint. Nothing special about mine, I just put on 80's pop music or 90's hip hop, and I get in a trance. I'm quite inconsistent with form at times. Sometimes, my lines and strokes seem to show some type of direction or form, but at times, I'm simply scattered and my strokes go in every direction.
Does your work life influence your artwork?
It certainly doesn't. Of course, a lot of my ideas come into mind when I'm working and I'm constantly writing notes and sketching ideas.
What's your family's relationship with your artwork?
My family supports my art. My daughter is my biggest supporter. She's an artist also. We always encourage each other, and paint side by side each other. She actually inspires me with her artwork. She draws cute characters! Cool fact: I've painted her once a year since she was born. Hopefully, she appreciates it and displays it in her future mansion.