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Jeff Garcia working on his parol

Art can never be rushed. This is probably why it took Jeff Garcia a week to create his parol, and why getting to know Jeff took equally as long. Traditionally, a parol is made of bamboo sticks, various kinds of paper, glue, and a bulb or candle to light it up in the middle. However, the word ‘traditionally’ is not in Jeff’s vocabulary.

Over the span of almost a week – it took a trip to F-13 (a gallery he works at to help out a friend), conversations about his crazy hair, mock interviews done by his colleagues, and learning about his preference for winter clothing to get a peek into the brain of the bespectacled artist Jeff Garcia.

Fact 1 about Jeff:

“I don’t like throwing things out”, Jeff says, which explains his choice of materials for his parol. His piece that towers at over six feet tall is made of a faucet head, various toys, doll heads, condiment bottles, planks, and pieces he cut from his previous prints.

The various residents of Jeff’s parol (yes, they’re all in it..somehow)

Described as “visually appetizing” by a passer-by who saw his parol in the making, the lady inquired if his parol was for sale (as other artist-commissioned parols were up for auction at the Parol Paaralan event last December 19). Unfortunately for the public, this piece was not, and in one week, will be flying with him to Japan to be featured in various shows of Garcia’s works.

Fact 2 about Jeff:

“My real name is actually M. Jeffrey Garcia.”

“Does ‘M’ stand for Modesto?”, I ask.

“That’s actually the closest anyone’s ever guessed!” Jeff says. Apparently, it is a secret only a few close friends and his family are lucky to know.

“How old are you?” I ask.


In reality, 26-year-old Jeff is a former breakdancer, self-proclaimed botanist (he fell in love with the Staghorn Fern during a trip to the Philippines), and a year-round (despite the -20˚ temperatures) cyclist. He can be found at Contemporary Textile Studios where he teaches screen-printing classes and holds open workshops or at Halo-Halo, a personal studio where he works on various projects with his fellow artists. A part-time mentor of CLUTCH, a free 6-month arts-based program for young Filipino women held by KAPISANAN, he has inspired many to express themselves through his chosen form of art. In addition to this, former collaborations with KAPISANAN include the The Kilusan Collective and being a featured artist at KULTURA, an Annual Filipino Arts Festival. Jeff`s most recent work with KAPISANAN is the parol. “You know what the best thing about KAPISANAN is? There’s a hardware store right across it.” With that, Jeff heads out to buy screws and bolts.

Fact 3 about Jeff:

Jeff’s hair is all natural, and does not use any product to keep it that high. He likes mangos and dreams of going back to the Philippines and living on a farm someday.

Fact 4 about Jeff:

Jeff’s art ranges from pizza boxes to wearable prints to installations that tower over people, yet his art is not confined to tangible forms. Described as a “caring and hardworking mentor who teaches you more than you’ll ever need to know” by his co-op student, meeting Jeff is the inspiration any young budding artist needs, because he challenges you to express yourself in ways you’ve never thought of. Asked why he chose print-screening of all forms of art, he said “When it’s good, it’s great, when it’s bad, it’s bad.”

For more about Jeff Garcia and his art, check out http://www.mangopeeler.blogspot.com

The finished product

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Maligayang Pasko from KAPISANAN!

Kevin Centeno, administrator of KAPISANAN greets you a Merry Christmas with this serenade of ‘Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer’ on the anklung.

Note: All videos require Adobe Flash to play. Click here to download.

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Christmas shopping at the K Gallery

It’s five days til Christmas, and the whole city is running around trying to finish their Christmas shopping with malls open for later hours and every store going on sale.

The K Gallery was of course not one to be left behind. We have new products just in time for your last-minute holiday shopping!

For lolo and lola, and all your other relatives, whether they’re back home or just in another city, why don’t you send them a Christmas greeting the old-school way? Check out the Christmas postcards from onefreebird by Clutch artist Krystle Pasignasigna.

For your mom, ate, tita, or girlfriend, treat them with jewelry from Melissa Clemente’s 2010 Spring Collection EPOCH or be designs by Brown Skin Lady. For your eco-friendly best friend, tote bags from Team Manila are the way to go.

For the special boys in your life,  the new shipment of Team Manila shirts have arrived! Bring your back dad to the days of his youth with this shirt, while reminding your cousins and friends back home to register for the 2010 elections. For your kuya or boyfriend who are die-hard PacMan fans, get them special edition Manny Pacquiao shirts by Gerald Cajindos.

Don’t forget your nieces and nephews by gifting them t-shirts from Tiny Manila, the line by Team Manila specially made for little ones.

Come by, hang out, check out the stuff, and talk to us! We’re open longer for the holidays. Here are our HOLIDAY HOURS.

Sunday (20th) 1-6pm
Tuesday (22nd) 4-8pm
Wednesday (23rd) 4-8pm
Thursday (24th) 4-8pm

See you!

167 Augusta Ave. Kensington Market, Toronto, ON

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Parols up for auction at KAPISANAN!

L to R: the Imelda, the EQ, the carlos bulosan, the guison matrix

From the Left, the artists are: April Aliermo (the Imelda), Eric Quebral (the EQ), Eric Tigley (the Carlos Bulosan), Kristina Guison (the Guison Matrix)

L to R: 3 stars & sun, starburst -- both by Jodinand Aguillon!

Eric Q, Jodee Aguillon, Kristina Guison, and April Aliermo are just some of the artists whose parols will be up for auctioning at the Kapisanan Krismas event this Saturday, December 19th. Pictured here are only SOME of the parols up for auction!

More images coming as the parols arrive at the K!

Here are the details for the auction.

1. Auctioning will begin on December 17, Thursday , up until Saturday (19th).

2. Bids for each parol starts at $30.

3. You may start bidding online, by emailing giveback@kapisanancentre.com with your name, the name of the artist whose parol you want to bid on, and your phone number.

4. On Saturday, bidding sheets for each artist will be available at the centre.

5. Bidding will end at 7:00pm. For those who will start bidding online, please try to be at the event so as to secure your bids!

6. Winners will be announced at 7:30pm. Online bidders who win the parol will be contacted via the number they leave on their online bid.

Remember, all proceeds from the auction go to the Children’s Rehabilitation Center as a part of Home for Christmas the second round of fundraising that will help the families back home get back on their feet after the devastation caused by typhoons Ketsana and Parma. Monetary donations (via PayPal or mailed-in cheques) are also still being accepted up until December 25.

This Christmas, you can do so much both for yourself and others! Not only do you learn how to make a parol, you can also bid on a parol that gets you a piece of art while helping everyone back home.

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