When we look and appraise a painting by Celso Duazo Pepito, one will immediately come face to face with a brilliantly made work of art. He was born 51 years ago on November 22 in Daan Bantayan, Cebu. He plunged into the world of art as a young man who showed special skills in lettering. He was surprise when he steps into the halls of the University of the Philippines that the fine arts course was after all about painting. His painting career took off soon after college.
There were years of facing struggles hurdling one trial after another. Like college education, experience is considered as the best teacher. His paintings are known to contain imagery that is brought to life by crisp and clear lines, bold strokes and his usual usage of bright color scheming. But deep within his subjects are personal motives and intentions that come from his heart.
The man is with a mission he believes not impossible. Apart from the physical manipulations of the hand that holds the brush, the works carry messages that Pepito infuses to visually communicate. The paintings aren’t just made of the medium but it can be said that the messages he wants to convey and the meaning the artwork may possess is what completes the painting. Even with the seemingly straight-forwardness of Pepito’s paintings it is unwise to take them at face value because there is more to it than meets the eye. Because there are several symbolisms in the composition though these symbols are not hidden or coded. Pepito do not hide them, the symbols actually doubles as aesthetic elements and embellishments. These symbols have become a common feature and fixture.
His paintings are usually made up of three planar divisions used as backdrops to his modern figural subjects. What isn’t known to many is that they carry personal meanings. Pepito has three different explanations for the three geometrical partitions. One has to do with strengthening family ties; the second is about the spirit of nationalism while the third embraces religious spirituality. These three concerns sum up the totality of his art and person. The first symbolize the family and the number takes significance because he’s got three young-adult children who are all boys.
Pepito is an unwavering believer that positive change in society will start in the family. This is why his works always and never-fails to show and depict family values and tradition. Second is that of nation-building and nationhood. They represent the concept of Luzviminda, the three geographical parts of the country. Pepito’s paintings are nationalistic in the sense that it gives a positive picture of what the Filipino life style is. And notice his choice of colors the preference are our national flag colors. Lastly the third stands for the Holy Trinity. This is Pepito’s commitment to a continuing apostolate.
Pepito's painting style is in the modernist vein that verges towards cubism hence they are heavy on polygons. But what is the most readily discernable is the octagon shape rising high above his canvas. To him the bright octagon symbolize hope, a virtue Pepito never seems to run out with.