A successful painting career spanning more than three decades and counting . . .
Born in 1972, Nicole Franco, or more popularly known in the art scene as Nikulas Lebajo took up Fine Arts at the University of the Philippines. Nikulas came from a family of artists. He credits his father, Master Surrealist Raul Lebajo, for inspiring him to pursue a profession in painting. His early choice of subject matter was inspired by his father’s collection of glassware at home.
Nikulas decided on a career in painting during his last year in high school, dropping his earlier dreams of becoming a basketball player or pilot. Then he took up Fine Arts at UP, where he first gained recognition for his glassware creations.
In 1989, at the young age of 17, he won the grand prize in the 22nd Shell National Students Art Competition for his piece entitled “Botelya.” This piece is about his fascination for his trademark theme – a representational style depicting rare bottles, everything done in fetching trompe l’oeil. One of the judges, National Artist Arturo Luz, was so impressed with Lebajo’s entry that he offered him a show at the then prestigious Luz Gallery.
The young winner, on the threshold of his career in the arts, proved that he possessed the talent and technical skills he needed to shine above a formidable number of contemporaries. Suddenly, he was thrust in the limelight. He has since devoted himself full-time to painting.
He also grabbed other awards as Finalist in Metrobank Art Competition in 1990 and Finalist three times in Philippine Art Awards in 2001, 1996, and 1994.
Nikulas approach in painting is Minimalist-Realist. The center of his artworks inspires a deeper sense of beauty and calmness and a Zen-like effect. His masterpiece is achieved through technical mastery and manipulation of brush and paint, the viewer is invited to stare and meditatively enter into the picture, into an experience of Oriental tranquil order and hypnotic repetitions. He mostly paints figures, portraits, and themes of nature leaning towards preservation of the environment.
At present, he is evolving his style by doing contemporary subject matters that are relevant to the changing times. His vision as an artist is to propagate art appreciation and to instill creativity to the younger generation by harnessing on their innate, God-given talent. “Let the viewers see the beauty in my painting. One person’s aesthetic sensibilities may differ from another,” says Nikulas, in a typically modest statement.
For updates and inquiries on his artworks, visit Nikulas Lebajo FB page https://www.facebook.com/NikulasLebajo/; IG page @NikulasLebajo.
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