I’ve posted photos of my good old friend Johnny Danganan here in the past. He’s been the subject of many of my videos and he’s the model for my character Johnny Balbona. But I really haven’t written about the man himself.
I knew him to be an “installation artist”, and for the longest time I didn’t know what that means. He has had several jobs that have been difficult for me to understand. Turmeric salesman, weather shaman in Davao, layout and graphic artist, exhibitionist (meaning he handles exhibits), organizer, and lately, inner dancer and massager, and more incredibly, an artist of remarkable originality.
He began making these drawings only a few months ago. Created in quick succession after the other, the drawings at first were not recognizable. They were patterns of movements, and hints of vaguely recognizable objects, but always they were done with such technical skill and polish that I never really knew Johnny to do before.
Then he moved into oil painting, and in color, his work has evolved into something even more remarkable. I look at his paintings and although I don’t see anything recognizable, I’m swept away by the movement I see in it the more I look at it.
He recently joined a competition with one of his paintings, and although I don’t know at the moment if he won or not. I wish he would win just so more people can get to see his work. But if he doesn’t, to me it doesn’t really change things. I think he’s a remarkable artist, and I have a sneaking suspicion that this is just the beginning and he’s on his way to bigger and better things.
Johnny working on his painting for the competition: