When you have transitioned from teen star to leading lady, and survived a string of unwanted controversies, what are you meant to do next?
For actress Heart Evangelista, the answer was to turn to her love of painting.
“I was really sad at that stage in my life when I [publicly]fought with my parents so I started to paint again. It was very therapeutic for me. I was painting a lot on small canvasses and my then-boyfriend and now husband [Sen.] Chiz [Escudero] suggested, ‘Why not get a bigger canvass?’ He was the one who got me my first ever big canvass and I was able to paint on it,” the actress recalled at her latest press conference. “I was on a high for finishing something really big, and since then I unceasingly painted.”
As everyone knows by now, Evangelista successfully made a name for herself as an artist over the last couple of years, earning repute as Love Marie Ongpauco, the painter. Dedicating her time to her art, she surprised both friends in show business and the art scene when she held her first painting exhibit at Art Space, Ayala Museum. A feat indeed, she became a sought-after artist from that first exhibit with a sold out debut show.”
“I was pressured because I didn’t want my work to be so commercialized. I didn’t want people to think ‘she sold out because she’s an actress.’ So I got really conscious about the idea and I thought maybe my next exhibit won’t do well and stuff like that. But looking back, I’m happy that they appreciate my artwork,” the artist said.
The accolade did not end there. The following year, she became the first Filipina to hold an exhibit at Chan Hampe Galleries in Raffles Hotel, Singapore.
Today, Ongpauco-Escudero’s artworks have begun to amass followers. While others think that she has a bit of Gustav Klimt—an artist who used fascinating symbolism, gold leaf details, and a romantic palette—in her, others point out that senator’s spouse has developed her own style that they can recognize when mixed with other art works.
How she developed her exquisite eye for detail and soulful touch through broad strokes and swathes of vibrant color was something she too gladly shared.
“A super duper talented artist named Ivan Rojas, used to teach me when I was 13. At one time that he taught me how to paint, he said that I was very stubborn and I wouldn’t follow. So he said, ‘You have a certain style that I don’t want to touch so I’m just going to sit here and watch you paint. We became friends ever since,” Ongpauco-Escudero detailed.
She continued, “He was the one who told me ‘Don’t be afraid of people saying, you’re not a realist or you don’t paint a picture perfect painting. You have a certain style and that’s art and you should be confident and comfortable with that stamp so people would know that it was you.’”
Letting herself grow even bigger, the artist has also decided to put her stamp on a new, albeit smaller, canvass: the luxurious Hermes hand bags.
The Manila Times’ Showbuzz Lhar Santiago earlier reported how Ongpauco-Escudero accidentally got herself into this new medium—by accidentally dripping her precious orange Birkin with unforgiving oil.
“I had an oil map and it was so big and I felt so bad. I asked my friends if there’s any way we can take it out, how to repaint, any thing. The thing is, if you repaint it, Hermes won’t accept it if you want to repair it in the future. So I was afraid to do anything about it,” she recalled for the media.
Her eureka moment came when she saw Kim Kardashan’s painted Birkin bag being auctioned.
“I thought it is such an amazing way to cover up the stain and so I researched and it took some time before I got the right paint—which I’ll never reveal—that would actually be suitable for me to dribble and splash on my Birkin,” she said.
But when she finally started painting, Ongpauco-Escudero revealed that she was so conscious of touching her Birkin that she began developing nightmares.
“When I started painting on my bag I was so engrossed and concentrated the whole time that when I slept at night I had a dream that I made a mistake and my painting got bigger and bigger in my effort to cover the mistake!” the artist exclaimed.
But the nightmare eventually faded as when the paint finally dried and she was able to carry it around, much more share it on her popular Instagram account, Ongpauco-Escudero got the surprise of her life, she received not only praises from her friends but admiration from the other parts of the globe – Hong Kong and Dubai just to name a few.
Since then her equally exquisite handbag collector friends commissioned Ongpauco-Escudero to do their bags as well.
The commissioned works have exceeded a handful that she is now ready to let the public see and be inspired with her hand painted Hermes bags in an exhibit playfully titled Carry Your HeART. The said exhibit will be on September 3 to 9 at Volkswagen Showroom in Bonifacio Global City.
Finally asked how she thinks her Hermes bags would affect its carriers, Ongpauco-Escudero said it is all about putting a stamp.
“I wanted to be original, I wanted to be different and to wear my personality on my bag. Your bag says so much about your personality so might as well put a stamp on it, on who you are!” Ongpauco-Escudero ended.