A Filipino visual artist who first made a name for himself in the Northern Marianas art scene recently took his anti-bullying campaign to new and creative heights, sending a potent message through his winning artwork.
San Francisco-based Marconi Calindas emerged victorious in the “New Era Introducing: North America 2012 Global Creative Project” competition for visual artists across the U.S. and Canada with a piece that conveys the harsh realities of bullying.
The project was launched early this year by New Era, an international lifestyle brand with a sports heritage best known for being the official on-field cap for Major League Baseball and the official cap for the National Football League.
Over a thousand artists registered for the competition but only 350 made it to Phase One, wherein they were selected to submit and showcase their earlier work. Of the 350, only a hundred finalists made it to Phase Two in which the artists were given a blank New Era 59FIFTY cap as their canvas for their masterpieces.
Calindas' award-winning design ranked first among the 70 entries that made it to the exhibition gallery tour across North America in September and October, earning him a $10,000 grant to jumpstart his career as an artist.
Titled “A Little Too Late,” the artwork is composed of four pieces-the New Era 59fifty cap and three separate papîer-mâché masks-that reveal the harsh realities of bullying and what a victim goes through.
The cap is divided into four frames showing a victim being ridiculed, beaten, and thinking of ways to end his suffering, ending with a frame that shows the victim's lifeless body held by a mother figure. The three masks, which also highlight the victim's pain and anguish, form the shape of a head and serve as the cap's base.
Calindas said he finished his masterpiece in a week's time instead of the two-week time frame given them since his materials arrived late.
Having been bullied himself, Calindas lends credence to the profound and sensitive issue of bullying, which he said end before more pain is inflicted and more lives are taken.
“Bullying has to stop and parents should be more watchful of their kids and teach them values that respect one's life,” said Calindas.
A former reporter for the Saipan Tribune, Calindas created the clothing line Wear-A-Marconi in 2007 before relocating to the Bay area in 2009. Since then, his creations have been showcased in various art exhibits throughout California and other U.S. states.
Right now, Calindas preparing for the touring gallery exhibition that begins in New York City on Sept. 29 to 30, Miami on Oct. 6 to 7, Los Angeles on Oct. 13 to 14, and Chicago on Oct. 20 to 21.
Calindas admits to being scared of the upcoming tour because of the presence of media and art critics. “Hopefully I can pull myself together and just be proud of this achievement and get my message through the crowd.”
A native of Laguna, Calindas shares his victory and success with the Philippines and the CNMI, both of which he considers home.
Calindas is also busy working on a book he is co-writing with Adam Cafege and will feature the artist's illustrations. He, too, will gear up for the Pinoy Pride Festival in Las Vegas on Oct. 26 to 28.
His works may be viewed at http://marconi-calindas.artistwebsites.com/, http://www.marconicalindas.com, or http://marconi-calindas.fineartamerica.com.