Epjey Pacheco

Look up the expression “graphic” online and first results define the term as 1) relating to visual art, especially involving drawing, engraving, or lettering 2) giving a vivid picture with explicit detail 3) a graphical item displayed on a screen or stored as data. This conveniently provides the springboard to talk about the drawings and paintings of Filipino contemporary artist Epjey Pacheco.

Dense with detail or data, the paintings of Epjey Pacheco in contrast almost look like clean prints. Layer upon layer of shapes and identifiable things are clearly drawn in lines and contours with felt tip pens. Further manipulation and complexity is achieved through cut-outs, print transfers, and painting. Drawing, however, is almost always the foundation of each of Pacheco’s characters.

These lone elaborate figures almost always stand on an empty, monochromatic, or graphically simple background, further emphasizing their complex structures. This is perhaps Pacheco’s goal for every work -- the pleasure of birthing visually complicated beings after an exhaustive process of drawing.

Many times, figures are masses of information culled from other images and from patterns or graphic elements. Chimeric equivalents of something in our everyday reality. Plants, people, and beasts through the Pacheco’s grind turn into mythic freakish versions of themselves, monsters and demigods of a pantheon on some Aztec temple’s wall. They are quite heavy metal in that way.

Any narrative in these pieces is easily subsumed and meaning is blurred in the kaleidoscope and saturation of patterns, objects, and repeated motifs. What remains is a potent form of decoration and the story of the act of drawing itself.

Pacheco, himself, tells of an obsessive process of drawing, likening this act of drawing image over image over image to random streams of consciousness, muscle memory, and automatism. It is through this organic or instinctive process that we see his beings brought to life with inscriptions left from the energy of his toil.

Epjey Pacheco is a Filipino contemporary artist and graphic designer who has been exhibiting since 2005. Some of his notable solo exhibitions have been “Fear is Good for You” at West Gallery in 2015; “Self-inflicted Madness” at Blanc in 2016; “What Now?” at Blanc in 2019; and “Drifting in Place” at Blanc in 2021.