Published October 24, 2020
There's always been the question of how art can benefit the public and not just an elite moneyed or an intellectual and how art can serve people and social change. For artist Archie Oclos at least, his street art can do that by bringing images with powerful messages directly to people.
In public murals, Oclos focuses on the lives and struggles of ordinary people -- farmers, indigenous people, and other underrepresented sectors. With these large scale paintings freely and easily accessible in public spaces, he highlights stories that the mainstream media and people tend to avoid.
As one whose father is a farmer, Oclos is familiar with that life; of land, of salaries, and of being gunned down. It's this empathy and compassion that led him to take an uncompromising look at artists' roles in society, eventually finding a strong purpose in devoting to an art that conveys the stories of farmers and others like them.
With that purpose in mind, Oclos keeps his technique simple and direct, using easily available industrial paint to create heavily contoured but monochromatic figures for his public murals. He chooses to make these figures simple, so they stand out and leave a lasting impression in the 3 seconds that passersby see them. And if successful, they can convey the message and evoke empathy.
Archie Oclos is an artist with multiple awards in national art competitions. Apart from his street art, he has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. In 2018, he won a CCP Thirteen Artists Award. He was also an honoree of FORBES 30 under 30 twice, in 2017 and 2018. In 2019, he was shortlisted for an Ateneo Art Award.